When junkies talk about the first time they did their drug of choice, they talk about it in terms of bells. It got their bell ringing, they say. For the rest of their life they will pursue this, to try to get that bell ringing. But it will never ring the same way.
I had my own experience with this – with drugs, yeah, okay, but also with music. There was a very special person in Chicago named Armando. He got that first bell ringing for a lot of people. He brought Ron Trent to release his first record, “Altered States.” He brought Terry Hunter to release his first record. For me, he was my first DJ, the first one I ever saw, playing at a loft party with Gene Farris. I didn’t know they were DJing – I had an idea what DJing was but I had never heard anything like the music on these records so I thought they were playing it all live. Live for hours.
Armando got my bell ringing that night and I’ve been chasing it ever since. Actually I remember going to Gramophone to get “anything by Armando” when I got the confidence (and then the ten bucks) awhile later. They didn’t have anything by him directly but gave me another record they said was just like Armando and had Armando doing a remix on it. Ironically enough that was “Circus Bells” by Robert Armani, the first House record I ever bought.
Armando remained a kind of shadowy figure for me after that – I bought his mixtapes, his records but never met the man himself. It was several years after the fact that I learned of his illness and that he had passed away; it was more than 10 years later that I wrote the oral history that is still one of the pieces I’m most proud of publishing in 5 Magazine.
“The Future” has long been one of my favorite Armando tracks. It felt almost like a calling card when it was released on his One World One Future LP – a bit of acid, a bit of funk, a dancefloor-first sensibility that came from grinding so many hours behind turntables. So I’m glad to see it on this handsome reissue from Mint Condition, who have become hands-down the best single-purpose reissue label for house music in the business.
On the flipside is “Cajmere’s Version” of “The Future” (added that it’s “Luke Solomon’s Slight Edit” of that). This is even more “the Armando of Armando” with the addition of the tightly clipped vocal sample. They actually shot a promo video of it with an endless loop of rockets firing into the abyss and an intro from Armando to Europe and the Netherlands from Chicago.
Armando: The Future (Reissue) (Mint Condition)
A1. Armando: “The Future” (4:55)
B1. Armando: “The Future” (Cajmere Vision – Luke Solomon Slight edit) (6:16)