Sunday, December 21, 2008

Edit Credits, 1/4: Edit of the Year

Nightlife Unlimited - Peaches & Prunes (Ron Hardy Edit)
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Experts at the AC think tank are in agreement: Ron Hardy's cut of Peaches & Prunes, originally from 1980/81, is the edit of 2008. Why? For starters, it was featured on three important mixes: 

and four tet's resident advisor podcast.

Why did it show up this year? A resurgent interest in mixes from Hardy, one of the founders of house music, didn't hurt (a lot of them are archived here). Listen to these mid-eighties sets, and you'll hear disco morph into house music. When old styles become fodder again for new minds, it's often these morphing points that become primary objects of interest. For a revival, once a style becomes well-defined, its shell has hardened and its soft, pulpy goodness is more difficult to retrieve. In a transition time like Hardy's, rules are not set yet, agendas aren't fixed, everything is up for grabs, it's a big creative laboratory. And, as in any experimental situation, there is as much that's ultimately left by the wayside as there is that makes it out to market. No wonder today's disco producers and djs are spending so much time with Hardy's legendary creations. 

Why Peaches and Prunes? Because it's an object lesson in flamboyant restraint. Hardy took the briefest from the intro and rides it for a good damn while. Then suddenly when they bust out with the chorus, you feel all that pressure that's been steaming up to suddenly hiss out with great relief. It produces that sort of universal gratification that bypasses genre interest, which is probably partly why dub punkers like mi ami and laptop experimentalists like four tet are into it: a disco obsession isn't necessary. Like all great dance music, it speaks directly to your body, telegraphing signals to it: anticipation, pressure-building, climax, relief. This is one of the songs that first got me into the science of djing, as such it remains one of my favorites. get up with it. 

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