Masters at Work

The story of house music's origins is sort of The Aristocrats for the seasoned DJ set -- you know how it begins (Jack, his groove, and "Let there be house!"), you know how it ends (fresh!), so what distinguishes each version is what paves the journey. The two-CD Kings of House is cobblestoned with late-Eighties/ early-Nineties tracks from all over the nation (Chicago, New York, Detroit, Jersey), making it a definitive display of early house's breadth and life. Kenny Dope and Louie Vega (a.k.a. Masters at Work) live up to the compilation's name by hurdling through 42 tracks with nimble minds, fantastic ears, and a collective no-frills mixing ethic. Kenny's flamboyant disc spins a caustic hodgepodge of acid and early tech, while Louie shows off his knowledge of all things smooth and deep. But these are just two takes, and you get the feeling that these masters could go on for days, in several different ways, telling the tale that never gets old. Jack would be so proud.

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Rich Juzwiak