San Francisco Guardian
Mark Grant Sound Design
House mix CDs clog my
P.O. box like dead flies on the grill of an 18-wheeler. Progressive
mixes. Tech-house mixes. Hard-nutech-trance-essential mixes. And,
since it’s summer, lots and lots of “Ibiza anthem” mixes. If ever
there was an argument for house being the perfect consumer music,
Ibiza is it. It’s hard to imagine anyplace further from the insanely
overhyped marketing mecca of Ibiza than Chicago, but that’s home to
the DJ of this summer’s best house mix CD, Mark Grant.
Grant broke through in
the late ‘90s with a run of standout work for Cajual Records and
Guidance Records, and clubs around the world got the chance to hear
him work it out on breaks from his six-year residency at Chicago’s
Boom Boom Room. His experience shows. Rather than exploring every
variation of one narrow specialty of house music, Grant takes the
listener on a voyage through the many shades of soulful house.
use of three turntables is a skill many DJs never master, but Grant
uses his trio of Technics to add a layer of energy with flair.
Coasting on top of other records, Eddie Amador’s “Rise” sets the
righteous tone, and “Clear” by the artist formerly known as
Technique keeps it gritty, while neither detracts from the sweaty
energy of the tracks beneath. But it’s toward the end of the CD,
when Grant returns to straightforward A into B mixes, that he really
drops the bomb. Foreshadowing with a left-field inclusion of
“Carajillo” by Trüby Trio, Grant proceeds to dispense the blissful
breakdown of Eddy and Dus’s “Starlite.” Then it’s off again with a
succession of beautifully percussive productions by Matty Heilbron,
Ron Trent, and Masters at Work that leave you hoping this mix will
never, ever end.