A 40-track collection spanning over 30 years of house music
Chicago veteran Mike Dunn becomes the latest scene stalwart to join the ranks of Defected's House Masters, with the release of this 40-track compilation that spans the entirety of his 30-plus-year career. And we do mean the entirety – included here, for instance, are both Dance You Mutha, Dunn's very first-ever single from 1987 (a hypnotically looping houser built from tribal drums and scat vox) and DJ Beat That Shhh, a track culled from his 2017 album My House From Angles.
Naturally, with the compilation spanning three entire decades, there's a fair amount of variety on offer – from the raw, jackin' acid of 1988's So Let It To Be Houze to the sumptuous soulful vibes of 1994 Byron Stingily collab Who Turned You Out?, the filter-disco-done-right of 1998's Tha Real Disco. and, of course, 1994's timeless God Made Me Phunky from MD X-Spress. What's more surprising, perhaps, is how remarkably coherent it all sounds. That's partly because what's consistent, thoughout Dunn's output, is an understanding that less really is more. He may have dabbled in (or invented!) a range of house styles over the years, some of which demand a more complex sound palette or a greater depth of instrumentation than others, but Dunn's a veteran of the four-track days and it shows: from the disco groovers to the all-out jack trax, there's never a beat or a stab that feels superfluous.
And it's also partly, no doubt, due to a little remastering magic here and there… but then that's the point of a collection like this, isn't it? With so much talk lately of paying the respect that is due to house music's originators, there's never been a better time to get more familiar with the back catalogue of a producer who is truly an undisputed – though sometimes undersung – house master.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 6 November
Review Score: 8