It was once said about the Velvet Underground that while they never sold a million records, everyone who bought one went out and started their own band. The same applies to MK. It’s not really valid to measure value by “hits”, though he’s had his share. But seemingly everyone that loves MK, everyone that really got what he was trying to do with this synthetic but soulful hybrid of the best elements of Detroit and Chicago, has gone on to make their own records.
When you release a record on the label MK runs with his brother Scottie Deep, some comparisons are going to be inevitable. Agore should be a proud inheritor of that legacy – he’s never made a record that’s missed, and even his hip hop beats released on a separate SoundCloud page impress the hell out of me. Like MK in his early days, he’s also a bit of a mystery: the German producer raised eyebrows when he showed a preference for hanging back to make music rather than hire an army of publicists to tour on the fame his productions have brought.
“Becuz of You” contains about everything any dance music DJ could want: roaring diva vocal, steady progression, deep chords and a rolling piano riff at its heart that holds the whole jumble together. The same elements work the same magic in “Everyday (U Lift Me Up)” and the title track, though with a bit of cheek: the vocal samples are of the catchy sort that either irritate the fuck out of you or become glorified vogue ball anthems (and, since the two are not mutually exclusive: sometimes both).
Particularly engrossing is “X” – an homage to, and with a vocal sample from, Surface’s unheralded follow-up to “Falling In Love” called “When Your X Wants You Back“. Though discofied by Salsoul, “When Your X” failed to tap the same underground pulse as its predecessor and was largely overlooked on the pop charts as well. It was probably among the last recordings of Karen Copeland, vocalist on the best Surface records, who disappeared from the music industry shortly thereafter and died at the tragically young age of 30 in 1988. The vocal is Copeland at her Sheila Escovedo-level best, and it’s refreshing to see one of my retro ’80s fetishes shared by someone else.