Monday, 22 April 2013
an Armando Gallop primer
Armando Gallop (sometimes written as Armando Gallup) (February 12, 1970, Chicago–December 17, 1996), who released material under his first name only, was an American house-music producer and DJ who was an early contributor to the development of acid house.
Armando was born in Chicago to parents of Afro-Cuban descent. He was a star baseball player as a youngster before spinal meningitis put an end to his athletic aspirations. He became interested in dance music, organizing parties by age 16 and mixing on radio by age 17. He and Mike Dunn founded Musique Records and Warehouse Records in 1988, the latter releasing Armando's singles "151" and "Land of Confusion". "Land of Confusion" became a transatlantic club hit in Chicago as well as in Britain, where it influenced their early acid-house scene. He also produced Warehouse releases from Ron Trent, DJ Rush, and Robert Armani.
Instead of working on production, Armando spent most of the early 1990s with a residency at Chicago's Warehouse from 1992 to 1994. He served as an A&R rep for Felix da Housecat's Radikal Fear label and, soon afterward, recorded for that label himself. His first and only full-length album, One World, One Future, was released in 1996 on Play it Again, Sam. Armando died of leukemia shortly after the album's release.
If you lived in Chicago in the 1990s, you couldn't get away from Armando Gallop. As a DJ, producer and promoter, he was everywhere in this town. From his "School Daze" parties at the Hummingbird on 86th and Ashland, to Medusa's and the Warehouse up north, where people from all races came together, he absolutely owned it. Internationally, he was an almost mythical figure: a single name on a slab of vinyl with the sickest beats and a 303 sound that has never been duplicated.
And then one day he was gone. Tragically, Armando was taken away from us at the age of just 26 - usually, an age when a young artist is just getting started.
But in those 26 years, Armando established a staggering legacy. His records - most notably, "Land of Confusion," "151," and "100% of Disin' You" - are classics. He set the model for how parties were promoted. But most of all, his legacy relates to the people he knew and the people he inspired.
Armando chose the TB-303. He could very well have chosen the piano and I'm sure he would play it amazingly. It's all the same thing. And if Monk had the opportunity to mess around with a TB-303, I'm sure he would produce something amazing too. That's because of this almost superpowerful understanding. It's undeniable that Monk had this great gift. And I'm positive that Armando had it too.
Well, that's how I see Armando's music. For me, it's real Jazz.
This is Armando's most classic masterpiece. To this day, i have yet to hear a 303-line so catchy, so astonishing as this. And still the whole production is so simple built up but with a very innovative mind that Armando had, Hell yes, it even bear a little resemble to todays minimal as well. "Land Of Confusion" will still rock a floor this year, next year and many more years to come.
House today is simply just use and throw and few can stand up to be classics to what Armando, Mike Dunn and DJ Pierre released. This is simply Class-A stuff.
Rest In Peace Armando.
One of the few recently-released tracks that will seamlessly mix into any of Prosumer and Murat Tepeli's Serenity is, unsurprisingly, one that's nearly 20 years old. Armando's 'Don't Take It' is one of those "lost classics" that less-than-reputable bootleggers try to sell you from behind their poorly constructed 1995-era Geocities websites and consonant-heavy e-mail addresses. Except, you know, 'Don't Take It' is actually the real deal. (Even though it may still come from a poorly constructed Geocities-esque website anyway.)
Armando Gallop died in the mid-'90s, so it's unclear where Let's Pet Puppies' label head Thomos dredged it up, but be glad he did. His edit of the one-take Armando's acid epic and Sharvette's women's lib session is unimpeachable. (Sample lyric: "A strong mind and a strong car will get you anywhere".) The acid line twists, tumbles, decays, dies, resurrects itself and dies again over the course of its too-short eight-and-a-half minutes. On the flip, Johnny Fiasco reworks the tune, adding a bit of heft to the original and stripping the vocal. Fiasco doesn't do much, but then again with a track like this, the less fussing around, the better.
Thomos seems to have a good deal of Head Studios' tapes lying around, which can only be a good thing for collectors jonesing for that authentic old-school sound, but it's hard to imagine a track like 'Don't Take It' coming out of the coffers again any time soon. Sharvette's vocal is so deliciously strange, complete with the sort of vocal hiccups ("This is Sharvette and I'm here to, uh, bring a message to the ladies", "a classical example of 'wham bam thank you ma'am'") that would undoubtedly be edited out of the Ableton Age. Grab this one while you still can: it's not so much a classic as it is an antiquity. And those, unfortunately, are few and far between.
Todd L. Burns
The first three tracks on the album are some lovely jazzy and loungy house tunes showing just how versatile Armando is as a producer. The next track is the famous ’100% of disin’ u’ which is an anthem in Chicago’s house music history. ‘The future’ is probably my favourite track from this album, creepy vocals, sharp hats and an amazing 303 bassline. ‘Transaxual’ sounds as if it was a jazzed-up version of the previous track. The album ends with ‘Sweet love’ and ‘Tunnel vision’ which again don’t sound like anything you heard previously on this LP. Deep melodies, smooth pianos and soulful vocals round up this album nicely.