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David Mancuso

Written by: 16 November 2016 No Comment

One of my personal musical heroes passed away this week – its been a year of losing too many musical gods… he wasn’t a musician, pop star or shredder of instruments… he was a humble DJ a spinner of tunes and his way of playing records and his taste defines so much of what makes DJ culture something to cherish…

Mancuso was always the most complex and anomalous of dance music’s early-70s pioneers. He defined the latter-day notion of a DJ not as someone who played records, but as someone who could manipulate music to create an atmosphere and tell a story; to – in that oft-abused cliche – take the crowd on a journey.

A host of revered DJs would happily admit to effectively being his proteges, shaped by the emotional experience of hearing him play at the Loft: Larry LevanFrankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, Francois Kervorkian, David Morales. But Mancuso remained, somehow, apart from the world he’d helped create. He could mix records, and did for a time, but came to believe that doing so compromised their purity. Instead, he would play tracks from beginning to end, leaving a gap between them: his friend and collaborator Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy recalled that the Loft eventually had no headphones or DJ mixer, which Mancuso felt affected the sound quality. The atmosphere of the Loft inspired umpteen legendary clubs, including the Paradise Garage and the Warehouse, but the man behind it professed not to care much for nightclubs: “I don’t like to go in situations that are overcrowded; where you can’t dance or where the sound system is so overpowering that your ears are ringing or where beer costs $7 a bottle – this is what I am rebelling against.”

“The Loft is a feeling,”

The Guardian
I never went to the loft… I didn’t even like disco as a kid or know much about it… I came to know about David via the written word and the music he championed and loved via painstakingly compiled compilations put together by others… the homage paid by knowledgeable people like Bill Brewster and the internet… I now live in a time I can easily hear the music mentioned via the net…usually for free in a modern day no entries barred manner that allows music and legend to spread far beyond the confines of a small closeted room… sometimes this ease of access takes some of the mystery out of discovery… but never the majesty of music that can and does move ones soul and sometimes feet.



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