DiscoEx Archive: The Track for Today's Future Dreams
What does it take to bring a blogger out of near-retirement? It takes a house track, sometimes. A cut so moving, positive, relentlessly propulsive and yet totally late-night spaced out, that you can’t help but post. Combine such a song with the best memories of said late nights - from underground parties in Oakland to the pinnacle of clubland San Francisco. And compound that with vocals that evoke the best that American social progress has ever yielded, multiplied by the hopes of the day and years to come.
This may be the perfect house song. Druggy, dubbed out effects, check. Rhythm combining the best of the disco, machine beats and just a taste of a snare roll, check. Bass line squarely in the pocket, check. Uplifting gospel-inflected vocals, check check check! There truly isn’t a house DJ who can’t work this into any kind of set, from deep to banging.
Forty-five years on from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, its very evocation in writing or scratchy recording gives chills. But what Simon Pearson does with this historic audio through selective synchronization and editing heightens the moment, the anticipation, the release as the crash of freedom erupts at the song’s apex. I recall hearing this in 1999 and 2000 at the Come-Unity parties at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco which was the transition point for the underground freak vibe of the SF Bay Area’s rave scene coming of age and moving into the clubs. The West Coast house sound bloomed locally and on the global stage; “Free at Last” was licensed from Simon’s own Future Dreams imprint by UK powerhouse Positiva, and if you haven’t heard it before, you may have lived under a rock in the early 2000s. But I hope after listening to it now, and listening LOUD, you’re feeling moved, inspired, unable to remain still mentally or physically.
And not to go all DailyKos on you, but I hope that’s how it feels tonight when Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president and addresses the convention. Will it be on equal footing with MLK’s speech? Perhaps not, but in historic import I think Obama is carving his niche, but it’s not my intention that he be remembered for having run but lost. I’ve been a Green Party member for a long time, and much as I really like Cynthia McKinney, this election belongs to Barack Obama and the one chance that the national Democratic Party has for redemption - with me, the country, the world.
And that’s why we need a track like this for today. Barack, I hope you’re listening to this on the headphones right before you walk out and tell us about your dreams.