I’ve been going through my classic Chicago house crate in anticipation of writing about some of my favorite lost, unheralded or under-appreciated jams from the past. I’m always surprised by how many great records Bernard Badie has in there. His name comes up all the time, not buried in the label credits but top listed and on choice labels too.
It was in the mid-’90s that Cyclo swooped upon the scene and grabbed some records from the cresting wave of the second generation Chicago house music scene, among them Spencer Kincy, Derrick Carter and Mark Grant. Bernard Badie had several of them – the infamous “Wonder Woman” and one of his best, Bernard Trax. Originally released in 1997, Bernard Trax was released digitally a year ago and now appears on 12″ wax, remastered and sounding brilliant.
“Tracks” has a specific meaning for that era of Chicago producers. “Tracks” were more mental, more electronic, like raw MPC and 808 jams with chopped up vocals if there were any at all. Being Bernard Trax, you see the darker, mental almost techno edge of Bernard Badie’s sound palette – the menacing housequake called “Stomp,” the minimal smash of “U” and the sweaty claustrophobic vibe of “Vicious Cycle.” Tracks like “Back Back” belie the reality that these were made for the club – tracks that had a purely utilitarian purpose and that was to fill a room with music that made a room fill with bodies.
Bernard Badie: Bernard Trax / Cyclo
1. Bernard Badie: “Vicious Cycle” (04:50)
2. Bernard Badie: “Stomp” (04:31)
3. Bernard Badie: “Back Back” (03:20)
4. Bernard Badie: “U” (04:58)