In the ’90s anything new by Larry Heard was greeted with great enthusiasm. This was mainly because his legacy as an innovator of deep house, if not the originator of the genre, had finally been recognized by the broader dance music community. There were other reasons to be excited also. You knew that a release by Heard was going to be excellent. Dance 2000 was no exception to that rule.
Hopefully not the last album from Larry Heard, as we have been led to believe, but if it is, well it’s a pretty decent way to say adieu. “Dance 2000” is an extended journey into the mind of the producer who basically defined what we know as deep house. Electronic, abstract, but soulful in a way that only the best Chicago and Detroit producers can be. His warm, round bassline signatures are complimented by other-worldly keyboard touches, washes of warm strings that tug at the core of your introspection or simply submerge you in it. The opening track “Teleportation” is a prime example, it has all these characteristics, yet is driven by funky, metallic percussion that pushes you towards the floor also.
On tracks like “Hydrogenation,” “Racing Through The Mist” and “Calm To Panic,” Heard’s music strays closer to the track territory of some of his peers and the newer generation of Chicago producers, yet the keyboard textures he uses and his sublime ability to create wicked basslines lifts his music far above the ordinary. Tunes like “Saga of The Evil Queen,” “I Know That Its You and “Cycles of Ecstacy” are dreamy beyond belief, and brimming with sounds that are unique to Heard. This may not be the best selection of work we have seen, but it is very damned good, containing the very essence of deep dance music, regardless of genre. An essential purchase, an appraisal of the past and a blueprint for the future. Chris Orr