T. E. TAYLOR
House Music was an organic dance movement that has its origins in the Midwest, especially, out of Chicago. The movement sparked a sound revolution that still gets people dancing to this very day. Frankie Knuckles is the general source and the acknowledged “Father” of House Music. If that statement is fact, then another fact is Matt Warren must be considered the cool Uncle of house music. He was there in the beginning. Spinning and writing and recording, then releasing on an independent label some of the foundational tunes of House Music.
House Music is the next generation of dance after disco. It’s raw and deep groove aspects zeroed in on what all the dancers really wanted. In other words, the never-ending groove so they could dance away their troubles on a Friday or Saturday night. Larry Levan and his Paradise Garage legacy also made an impact on the House scene. It was a step away from disco being a means to an end. It was the beginning of a new generation that was looking past Studio 54. It took dance music and DJ’s into the realm of lifestyle marketing. Matt Warren is still living that lifestyle from what he created.
There are two touchstones of the early house movement that Matt needs to be credited for. “Rock The Nation” and “Bang The Box”. They were among the first regional breakout songs that sold in excess of 50,000 records at the time. Selling that today would make it a national dance hit. Hopefully, Matt Warren’s new release, “Music Is My Life” (Wake Up! Music), will chart similar waters. It is his first full length in some years. He has spent the interim honing his skills as a DJ internationally, and more domestically as a producer and engineer. While there may not be so much as a baby scratch on this new album, it does manage to keep the pure intent of house music while updating the sound for the dancers of today. Where this is really evident is the new version of “Bang The Box” on this LP. The electronics add the sonic touches where old school scribbling used to suffice. There is still the use of tear, every now and then, but that brings a level of comfort and familiarity as well.
Highlights on the new album entitled “Music Is My Life”, are collaborations with Sharkeyes, like “Sometimes”, which is a step beyond your normal EDM/House mix. It enters into the realm of what people are calling NU House. House diva Pepper Gomez, pops up on this track and a few others as well, bringing her confident style and familiar sound to some new music. This is particularly effective on “The Way To My Heart”. The mix of live instruments and percussion brings the song to life and it gives the music an edge that technology just did not have in the 1980s. The question gets asked at the end of the song “Was I Wrong?”. In the case of Matt Warren, making a comeback with “Music Is My Life”, the answer is a resounding “NO!” Matt’s music today in not wrong. In fact, to this reviewer it sounds just about right for a great night out of sweating on the dance floor. Glad to see him and his peeps back in the spotlight.