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Various – The Wurst Music Ever review

It was on a freezing cold morning in January 2008 that I first met Roy Dank, then an up and coming producer and owner of the hyped Wurst Edits imprint. I was in New York on a whistle stop tour of the city’s disco producers for a magazine feature, and Roy had invited me round to his Lower East Side apartment to hear some forthcoming material. Over the course of an unforgettable few hours, he plied me with drinks and introduced me to a carpenter and part-time DJ called Jacques Renault.

Since then, much has changed. The carpenter is now a globetrotting DJ with a rising reputation as a maker of quality underground house, Roy has moved up in the world (at least, I assume he has – that apartment was pretty manky) and Wurst Edits is no more. Instead, we have Wurst Music, a label whose reputation has been built on some stunning house and disco releases. It’s been two years since the first ‘original’ Wurst release, Brennan Green’s “My First House”. In that time, Dank’s imprint has provided punters with a string of essential releases, from the eyes-wide-shut nu-disco/piano house fusions of Neurotic Drum Band and freestyle/synth-disco revivalism of Native Underground to the wall-of-sound anthemic house of Beg To Differ (aka Dank and Nick Chacona). Wurst has emerged as a label with a blossoming reputation – one that should be considered as much a part of New York’s musical landscape as DFA, Environ or Slow To Speak.

As if to prove the label’s credentials, Dank has put together The Wurst Music Ever, a cheekily titled collection of previously unreleased cuts from label stalwarts, new signings and like-minded friends. With 10 tracks covering every aspect of the label’s musical approach – vaguely Balearic nu-disco, underground NYC house, disco revivalism and heavy electronic grooves all feature – it’s a thrilling snapshot of where the label is at right now.

Highlights are naturally plentiful. Newcomers Pink Stallone impress with “Help Yourself”, a low-end heavy chunk of slo-mo contemporary P-funk that’s dirtier than a night in with Prince and a bevy of bikini-clad beauties. Hometown heroes Midnight Magic provide a stunning cover of Native Underground’s “Push 4 Love” that recasts the freestyle-tinged original as a loose, dubwise disco gem. Tiago channels the ghost of Patrick Cowley on the Munich Machine-aping “Peanuts”, whilst Soho 808 (another promising newcomer) and Great Weekend throw down future house anthems. There’s also some Holy Ghost-on-pills Balearic disco from Name In Lights, a slo-mo synth wig-out from Ulysses and some dubbed-out house/electrofunk from Miracles Club. Oh, and a typically deep excursion from Chicago Damn. If The Wurst Music Ever is an indication of what we can expect in the future from Dank’s label, it seems the Best of the Wurst is yet to come.

Matt Anniss