Some say that Matt Warren is the godfather of Chicago house music. Now he’s back behind the turntables and collaborating with an array of artists on an album he calls “Music Is My Life” (Wake Up! Music). With four decades of music business experience the creator of 1980s hits such as “Rock the Nation” and “Bang the Box” is the man who’s considered as being the first DJ in the scene to release what became known as hard house tracks, and someone who’s never been content to re-walk the past roads taken by others but one to create the groundwork for new avenues that he and others may travel upon. And the dance world has never been the same since.
“Music Is My Life” begins with a cover of Queen Latifah’s 1992 hit “How Do I Love Thee” and pushes the tempo up a few ticks on the metronome as he beefs up the introduction by using a much more bottom heavy sounding kick-drum in the opening measures. On top of the bass drum beat Warren layers some of Latin percussion instruments and then couples them with some sassy salsa style horns. Its overall effect on this track is that even if you’re sitting down there’s no way your booty doesn’t start to sway to the rhythm of this music. The seductive quality of the vocals (credited here to Pepper Gomez) along with the horn section (provided by Ron Haynes) heats it up to a roiling boil and moves the danceable quality of the original version right on past the peak level point on the VU meter with this new remake.
While he doesn’t revisit “Rock the Nation” on “Music Is My Life” he does take on “Bang the Box” once again with the result being a seven minute sonic sojourn. Again Warren (https://mattwarrenmusicismylife.com) uses Latin infused flavors to spice up the mix. Here he takes the helm by playing the entire keyboard and drum parts as well as programming the vocal parts. I remember from my own club days in the way back when where songs like this were what a DJ played when he wanted the crowd to leave the dance floor with the soles of their shoes on fire from the friction created by getting down with the bad boy beat.
Over the past year or so heat seeking artist on the Billboard charts had considerable success with the potential cross marketing afforded from songs sung in languages other than English. Wisely enough he offers up this possibility by taking the title of this album and cobbling it into the hook laden track labeled “Musica Es Mi Vida”. Once again Ron Haynes and Pepper Gomez join forces with Matt here and the over all affect is like some fiery jalapeño laced pico de gallo surreptitiously slathered inside your boogie burrito. And what the repeated Spanish lyrics of “Musica Es Mi Vida” when translated instruct the listener to do is, “Oh what a life, music is my life and don’t you forget it!” That sounds like sound advice if there ever was any.
Included among the eleven tunes that make up the “Music Is My Life” album is “Get on Up”. Once again Matt Warren handles all the percussion, keyboards, and vocal programming parts. When compared with the current offerings in contemporary EDM styles this one comes off as sounding a tiny bit dated, but still has its charm. Ending this compilation is “The Dark Storm” and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why it was included. It’s a solo piano piece written and performed by Richard Meyer Jr. that sounds like it escaped from a New Age, or quasi-classical recording, and snuck its way past the security guards and on to the “Music Is My Life” album. All I can say is that it’s the oddest way to end a dance record than what I’ve ever heard before. Go figure.