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Frankie Knuckles
A NEW REALITY
(Definity)

The latest CD by house-music pioneer Frankie Knuckles has some moments of wit and one or two of inspiration; itís barely enough. Only a few of the CDís 13 tracks evince the delicate, Ashford & Simpson soul that informed his many works with house chanteuse Adeva. Missing entirely is the flaunted man-to-man eroticism of the singles he and fellow Chicagoan Jaime Principle made 15 years ago. In their place, one finds the fast-paced togetherness of "Hit the Floor" and the muted stride of "Keep On Moviní." Nicki Richardsís reedy soprano drives the keep-on theme in "Journey" and "Matter of Time" well enough, but sheís hardly Adeva, much less Loleatta Holloway. And many of the remaining tracks lack spirit. Knucklesís "Bac N da Day" has neither the wistfulness nor the excitation of earlier house songs on this theme. The embarrassingly goofy funk of "The Bumpkin Song" takes its guitar licks, jungle-ish sound effects, and cartoon vocals far too obviously from the style of Chicken Lips. The cold, slim beats of "Hit the Floor" sound too much like standard-issue trance to carry the shout-style, deep-soul vocals of CeCe Rogers. Except for the emotive, voiced segue from "Keep On Moviní " to Richardsís complaint in "Iíve Had Enough" and the cut from "Hit the Floor" to "Bac N da Day," Knuckles doesnít use his remixing skills to give the music flair, surprise it, make it feel personal. He sounds as if he were coasting.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG


Issue Date: August 6 - 12, 2004
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