Listening to Mark Knight‘s set on BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix from last weekend, it is clear disco isn’t dead. Knight conjures up an era of the glitter ball and Saturday Night Fever with an exceedingly enjoyable medley of funk, groove, soul and disco, sparing no moment to get down and boogie. The ‘Your Love’ DJ weaves dancefloor classics together with brief interludes regaling the listener with memories, such as working with Jellybean Benitez, who had produced albums for Madonna.
Knight leaves the ’70s for the ’80s by spinning tracks from the birth of house music, which took over from where disco left off in the underground clubs of Chicago. Particularly effective is his use of House Master Boyz‘ “House Nation” to bridge the listener from one genre to the next. The pulsating bass of Gus Gus’ “Crossfade” synthesizes the proto-electronica of Donna Summer‘s ‘I Feel Love’ with the sonic aesthetic of the experimental Björk. He closes his set with a taste of the chilled out house that dominated Manhattan nightlife in the late ’90s, concluding a tour of the genre’s history.
A primer of the development of house music from its roots in disco to its destination in the grooving repetitions of techno makes Knight’s set a textbook look at where EDM originated, and a testament to the creativity of the decades preceding the explosion of the dance music genre at the close of the aughts. BBC Radio 1‘s Essential Mix is the domain of legendary Pete Tong, who introduces the eclectic mix with a nod to Mark Knight’s label, Toolbox. In the introduction, Knight invites listeners to “let me tell you my musical story” and you can check it out by listening to the stream below: