Article: Sound Design Vol. 2, Mark Grant-Hometown Champ

Author: Mike Gwertzman

Reference: September 18, 2001


Mark Grant has been one of Chicago’s hometown favorites for years, holding down long-running Windy City club residencies and working as the in-house producer at the seminal house label Cajual.  His mix for Om Records’ Sound Design Vol. 2 (following up the first Sound Design disc, mixed by Los Angeles deep house maestro Marques Wyatt) shows exactly the kind of knowledge and craftsmanship a DJ needs to become one of Chi-town’s big dogs.  It’s a flawless mix that sees Grant melding a handful of house flavors into a seamless journey, resulting in one of the best house mix-CDs released in years.


Grant grabs a listener’s ears from the get-go, dropping a cappella samples over some serious funkstrumental house tracks.  It’s almost eerie how perfectly the a cappella from the Artist Formerly Known as Technique’s “Clear” (1996) fits over the British deep house due Inland Knights’ 2001 track “Feel This Way”, one of the highlights of the disc.  Grant then goes drum-heavy, via obscure disco act Atmosfear’s 1979 track “Dancing in Outer Space”, remixed by New York’s revered Masters at Work (Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and “Little” Louis Vega).  Sugar-sweet Latin tracks and vocal cuts end the set, with Matthias Heilbronn’s sparkling remix of Dominican superstar Chichi Peralta’s “Un Dia Mas” standing out.


Grant keeps the energy high on Sound Design Vol. 2, maintaining a steady, pulsing thump that invokes images of jam-packed basement parties and sweaty dance floors.  He controls the vibe with dexterity, never letting a track get too stale or sticking with one sound for too long.  It’s precisely the kind of experienced authority you hear from master DJs, and should firmly establish Grant as one of the nation’s best mixologists.