Local label Dance Mania never released a massive hit before closing up shop in 2001, but it’s had an immeasurable influence on dance music. In the 80s and 90s the label provided a home for the raw and raunchy subgenre known as ghetto house, and it released some of the earliest forms of juke and footwork. Last year Dance Mania honcho Ray Barney and producer Victor Parris Mitchell (who released several LPs through the label) teamed up to relaunch Dance Mania, and they’ve begun reissuing old material and pressing some new releases. Barney and Mitchell aren’t the only ones rereleasing their label’s classic cuts—next week Strut Records is dropping a 24-track retrospective compilation called Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1995, which features liner notes from former Chicagoan and producer extraordinaire Chrissy Murderbot.
To prepare for the release of Hardcore Traxx we’re streaming one of the tracks off the compilation, “Feel My M.F. Bass,” from chart-topping DJ and producer Paul Johnson, which is a great example of the kind of unvarnished, minimal house music that fills dance floors. If you dig the track I highly recommend checking out Johnson’s free noontime performance at the Chicago Cultural Center this Friday. It’s part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ ongoing “Wired Fridays” series, which hosts house and footwork producers the first and third Fridays of every month—I caught Traxman’s “Wired Fridays” set a couple months ago, and it was a pleasure watching senior citizens, twentysomethings, and school children give footworking a try. I can’t think of a better way to spend my lunchtime break than seeing Johnson’s set.