Masters At Work

Masters At Work revive MAW Records and tease drum-heavy new single after 20 years

Some artists don’t need an introduction. Legendary American duo Masters At Work will elevate the whole house community to another dimension with the relaunch of their label MAW Records and their upcoming first single in 20 years.

Without “Little” Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, electronic music wouldn’t be the same, and it surely won’t be since they made the entire MAW catalogue digitally available for the first time. It is a historic moment as a number of classic Masters At Work releases have been remastered for the relaunch, including 1994 ‘Voices In My Mind” by Voices, ‘Bangin’ Early Theme‘ by KenLou from 1998 and ‘Like A Butterfly (You Send Me)‘, by MAW feat. Patti Austin. Besides, a number of previously unreleased versions of their works are now up for cratediggers to grab. Masters At Work will also drop their first singles in more than 20 years on April 2 titled ‘Mattel‘ and ‘We Did It For Years‘ coming on May 28. Named after their favorite drum machine, ‘Mattel’ features original sounds from the kit to produce a drum-heavy groove, with the percussion solo played live in the studio by Kenny Dope. Louie Vega accompanies the crisp percussions with a bouncing bassline and spot on stabs, which will turn into a 7:59 long track once out.

The duo told Resident Advisor:

“We thought it was the right time to reintroduce our MAW Records catalog to a new audience and come through with new music as Masters At Work, so we got back in the studio[…]The dance music universe revolves in circles and here we are. It’s been long overdue, 26 years since the inception of MAW Records, and our fans have been yearning for some MAW.”

Vega and Gonzalez mix everything they can find – house, hip-hop, funk, disco, Latin, African and jazz music – into a universal groove. Let it be mid-tempo, soul-infused house with real bass, piano and guitar musicianship or hard-hitting garage straight from New York, they never cease to amaze their audience. For over 25 years, they have paved the way for new generations of dance music producers with their inventive production style, releasing music under different monikers like MAW, Soul Fusion, Nuyorican Soul,and KenLou. The two New York natives (Louie hailing from Bronx and Kenny from Brooklyn) are both of Puerto Rican heritage which influenced their music to a great extent. Together they amassed an overwhelming body of work, including a few thousand original productions, remixes and side projects, such as The Bucketheads and The Untouchables.

Masters At Work

Masters At Work around 2000 Image Credit: Naki/Redferns

Vega attended Paradise Garage for the first time in 1980 where he witnessed the magic of Larry Levan behind the booth. He incorporated records into his sets from a wide array of genres, blending them smoothly, uniting not just different sounds, but all kinds of people on the dancefloor. That became a core of Masters At Work, who first worked together using the name in 1990, which had been given to them by mutual friend and another house legend Todd Terry. He attended some of Kenny’s block parties and borrowed the name for two record releases but returned the favor later when he loaned Gonzalez a drum machine, arousing his interest in beat production. Their Nuyorican Soul project had the duo working with musicians like Vincent Montana Jr., Roy Ayers, George Benson and Jocelyn BrownThey released their first single ‘Blood Vibes’ on Cutting Records in 1991, which also appeared on the 1993 Masters at Work LP, featuring guest slots for vocalists like Jocelyn Brown and India. Masters At Work introduced plenty of pop and R’n’B artists to dance music, producing songs for Will Smith, Aaliyah, Robyn and house anthems like ‘Beautiful People‘ for Barbara Tucker.The duo remixed songs for several other prominent names in music industry, including Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Jamiroquai,and Earth Wind & Fire.

Check out the snippet of ‘Mattel’, the first single of Masters At Work in 20 years below!

Image Credit: Masters At Work (via Facebook)