Trojan Horse feat 69 Mercedes: Years O’ Pressure
Downtown 161 (Reissue)

Trojan Horse: What $ Love
Vinylmania (Reissue)

The word I’m searching for is “elegant.” “Regal” is another. Steady and patient was the hand of Romanthony, and this elegant, this regal music is more than ever a tonic for what ails us. Romanthony’s back catalog – reissued in something like a “replica edition,” I believe by Above Board Distribution – is the cure for this godless age of far too much music tooled with all of the joy, pain and tears of a single line plotted on a piece of graph paper, when everybody but everybody is waiting for the drop.

These records need to breathe like fine wine and they’ve aged as well too. That most precious mind, that most preternaturally gifted musician of dance music in the 1990s calmly stokes the dancefloor from a spark to a firestorm, dancers out of a shuffle from side-to-side into an up-and-down frenzy. People dance to these records the way they do in movies, the way they did in your mind when you were practicing your blends, the way they used to but they don’t anymore because you can’t let go with a thousand unblinking eyes waiting to catch you out.

This isn’t nostalgia creeping up on me: this is literally a textbook on how to make a dancefloor move. Forget the Discovery Center masterclass in How To Make Electronic Music. Drop $12 on either of these two Romanthony records – Years O’Pressure and What $ Love – stand in front your speakers for awhile and back it up to the beginning when it’s through and you’ll learn more than any schoolbook teaches.

Romanthony’s God-given talent is obvious, but it took even him years of practice to make a record like Years O’Pressure (originally released by Downtown 161). This is six minutes of euphoria, it’s been copied and imitated a hundred times but the way the voices peel off, soar and fade into the mix still sends shivers up my spine.

Free love, if you need to be told, has a price. This if anything is the message of What $ Love, originally released on Vinylmania. Romanthony sings so earnestly here it hurts. I can’t hear this without picturing him like a chitlin circuit singer, patent leather shoes and spats and a rag wrung with sweat and tears.

Romanthony worked hard, and he worked hard for you, future DJs, dancers and fans. At a time when everything seems phony and nothing is true, there’s still one voice in this world that will not lie to you.