The Black Madonna / Rahaan, We Don’t Need No Music (Thank You Rahaan) / On & On Pt 2

[Stripped & Chewed]

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“House music isn’t so much a sound as a situation,” DJ Sprinkles intoned at the start of his Midtown 120 Blues album. Chicago’s The Black Madonna and Rahaan do Sprinkles one better by getting really granular: their limited-edition 12″ on Stripped & Chewed revolves around one minute of a Rahaan set from 2004, captured on YouTube for posterity. On the first side, a filter sweep gradually introduces The Black Madonna’s “We Don’t Need No Music (Thank You Rahaan),” a strutting disco homage to the minute when the crowd takes over from Rahaan, who’s just cut the record he’s playing. When he brings it back, one woman in the video distinctly loses her shit. As if those weren’t enough house-music references, the record he’s playing — the record, weirdly, whose disappearance in the video is the reason We Don’t Need No Music exists — happens to be Rahaan’s edit of the Mach tune “On and On,” a track that, 20 years prior to the events in the video, went missing from Jesse Saunders’ DJ bag and was recreated as one of the earliest house records. That’s a lot to keep track of.

This record’s background may be constructed like a Chicago finger trap of criss-crossing events, but the music holds its own against the thoughts it provokes, about the sex lives of records or the depth of the title’s irony. The Black Madonna’s interpretation starts out caked in a warm, nostalgic humus but fluently transitions from past to present. Mirroring the YouTube clip’s structure, she sweeps everything except a kick drum under a filter, giving the reins to the crowd for a few seconds before reemerging with more swagger and clarity. Rahaan, on the other hand, introduces the looping chant straight away on the sequel “On & On Pt. 2,” another, more streamlined edit of the Mach track. The original’s bright bass line glowers here, giving the rest of the elements a stark and sinewy feel, obliquely techno where The Black Madonna went disco. Even as familiar sounds resurface, the vibe is markedly different. On paper, this kind of project threatens to be mere reenactment, but the reality is far from stuck in the past.

Gianpaolo  on December 4, 2012 at 12:12 PM

yes, god.
magic cottage team.

todd  on December 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

crazy origin story. loving both sides of this one.

The Black Madonna  on December 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Thank you, Brandon for the very thoughtful and kind review. Thank you LWE, as a whole, for consistently well-written electronic music criticism. A rarity.


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