Publication: Portland Mercury

Article: And mark Had A Groove– Dance-Floor Soul From The Windy City

Reference: Vol. 2 No. 12 / August 23-29, 2001 / Page 15

Author: Elliot Adams


There’s a seemingly endless supply of amazing house music in the world. The problem is that it's mostly on vinyl, and the only people who buy 12" house singles are DJs. And while there have been some decent mix CDs put out, sadly, most people first get exposed to Keoki's latest or some similarly awful shit.


San Francisco's Om Records have been flipping the script in regards to this dilemma, releasing world-class DJs playing the cuts they love instead of the only garbage that the label could license within budget. Mark Farina's undoubtedly classic channeling of deep SF house, San Francisco Sessions, led the pack, but Mark Grant is the first DJ from house music's birthplace to join the label. His Sound Design Vol. 2 is a primer in the Chicago sound. He says, "I incorporate different styles of what I know as house: deep, moody, jazzy vocals, funked, disco, Latin and soul house… plenty of adjectives!" Sound Design Vol. 2 is nothing if not a testament to this, a mix that travels through these many flavors of house, with tracks new and old, maintaining a constant soulfulness throughout.


Using a cappella vocals, horn solos, and straight-up beat tracks, Grant blends music from three turntables into a seamless mix that negates even the idea of noticeable transition. This is truly sound designing, and for house, having one's personal signature on the mix is paramount. "I have many records that I like, but my favorite part is not just the records, but how I put them together."


With his DJ career beginning at age 12, Grant has long been a crucial figure in the Chicago house scene, filling the roles of DJ, producer, and remixer. His acclaimed releases on staple Chi-town labels such as Cajual and Guidance range from banging party anthems to practically subliminal deep house. While he has been holding residencies at infamous clubs around Chicago such as Boom Boom Room and Mad Bar for years, this tour is somewhat of a new experience. "It's different," says Grant, "because it puts your concept in perspective; there's a new vibe each night."