I listened to both to of Mark Seven`s WPKY broadcasts again last night, and, to quote Walter Gibbons, man but they were “MIXED WITH LOVE”. Beginning with tailor-made jingles that set your radio dial spinning, they are Revox reel-to-reel rewind intro`d joyful journeys through dance music’s history – finishing on modern soul classics by Julius Brown and High Fashion. Sharp edits and smooth segues put together with significant skill, knowledge and passion. Cherry picking hooks from countless forgotten “unclassics”. Polishing dusty diamonds and moving between divas and dubs, Synclavier symphonies, Emulator I harmonies, and electric-hog b-lines. A catalogue of 80s artists captured teasing fresh sounds from then newly affordable technology. Mark, in the process, demonstrating just what a breakdown is actually for: releasing and creating musical tension.
Episode One is NYC`s Funhouse meets Chicago`s Warehouse. House and not-house. Packed with songs that extol the same positivity and unity – in the face of oppression and adversity – that stoked the second summer of love. Latino freestyle fragments – timbales tumbling – congas and “techno” tom toms. (A Guy Called) Gerald`s voodoo marimba. Breaks care of the Dynamic Corvettes. Funky music for sure is the thing, just don’t ask me for an ID. The only piece I could place was a quick, passing shout from The Fantastic Aleems. Expect to be Shazaam-ing for 60 mins non-stop. Failing that, take a tip from Leroy, Taharqa and Tunde Ra, “Release Yourself” and just dance.
Episode Two continues this gospel – embracing every colour of love – and to be honest, if anything I like this even more. The music “customized” – “bespoked” – adding depth with damn fine EQ adjustments, and ever-so-slightly slowing everything down. Making it just that little bit chunkier. Pop / soul star Cherrelle, for example, now showered by robot handclaps, trapped in echo, becomes an avant, disco-not-disco new wave raver. Basses are slapped, percussion percolates and “proto” pianos prance over boogie-tempoed fusion flavors and freaky electro-funk. Herb Alpert Tijuana brass gets told its time to jack. Organ grinds all the while making sure that you don’t forget you’re in church.
You can listen to both shows via Castbox or Mixcloud. Don’t touch that dial – stay tuned for further broadcasts. While you’re at it you could also sample Parkway`s wares on their Bandcamp page, and check out the vinyl gems Mark has for sale on Discogs.