The Rapture, New York’s sharpest fusion of dance beats and post-punk guitars, release their mix album "Tapes" on the !K7 label on October 20th this year. They join a long and prestigious line of celebrity guest compilers for the label including Hot Chip, Carl Craig, Four Tet and Ewan Pearson.
Keen connoisseurs of house music, hip-hop and electronica, The Rapture have recorded with DFA Soundsystem, Dangermouse and Timbaland. They have also toured with Daft Punk, The Cure and The Killers. At the dawn of the new millennium, this impeccably cool four-piece helped pioneer the dance-punk scenes and No Wave rennaissance that soon conquered the global club scene.
"Tapes" is a treasure trove of rare grooves and cult classics spanning three decades, from the late 1970s to 2008. One key thread running through the mix is the evergreen sound of the New York underground, epitomised by classic tunes like Vaughan Mason & Crew’s 1980 disco-rap milestone "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll" and the irresistible beat-pop ditty "I’m An Indian Too", recorded in 1979 by East Harlem’s Don Armando and his Second Avenue Rumba Band. But NYC’s latest clubland stars also make their mark, from neo-disco supergroup Arcade Lover to hip-hop DJ Frog’s dazzling robo-funk alter ego, Dances With White Girls.
Another 1980s classic is "The Word" by Washington DC’s Junkyard Band, a funky-fresh blast of vintage Go-Go. Modern-day Chicago is in the mix too, from the international club smash "Get Get Down" by DJ-producer Paul Johnson to the brilliant 21st century electro-soul anthem "Say U Will" by Cajmere. "Mad" Mike Banks of the Detroit techno legends Underground Resistance also appears under his Galaxy 2 Galaxy alias, closing the album with a funky marathon of high-tech jazz, "Afro Arps and Minimoogs".
"Tapes" features an elite selection of European talents too, from the cult 1970s French disco pioneers Martin Circus to modern-day Parisian DJ royalty, including Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangaltar and fellow French deep-house icon Kiloo. Meanwhile, the Swedish duo Donk Boys deliver mashed-up sci-fi electronica, Germany’s Alter Ego revive the spirit of classic acid-house, and Belgium’s Kid Cr√®me transform the 1970s trash-TV show "The Six Million Dollar Man" into a muscular techno stomp. Smart, funny and funky.
It is a testament to The Rapture’s all-embracing musical tastes that "Tapes" features both household names and underground cult heroes. Southern soul legends The Bar-Kays, Otis Redding’s former backing band, are on here. So is the internationally revered 1960s folk singer and Woodstock veteran Richie Havens, performing an amazing funky-house version of the classic Odyssey hit "Back To My Roots".
But alongside tracks by A-list DJ Armand Van Helden and hip-hop superstar Ghostface Killah, "Tapes" contains cutting-edge electronica from the rising stars of today and tomorrow. South Africa’s DJ Mujava and UK-based Maurice Fulton’s Syclops project provide two of the album’s most left-field, progressive tunes.
In truth, the biographical background to these party-friendly tracks is not important. Never mind their age or geographical origins, all that matters is that they flow together beautifully, smoothly bridging wildly different musical genres and eras. The Rapture have raided their record collections and produced a rich, deep, wide-ranging feast of simply fantastic music. "Tapes" deserves a rapturous reception.