There might not be a tidier under-five-minute overview of two decades of underground New York dance crazes than the 12-inch single “Disco-Tech (Studio 54 Mix).” KATO, a nom de production ofRonald Burrell, recorded it, and New York’s Nu Groove Records released it in 1990. Aside from name checking the glitzy club, Burrell suspends gauzy synth chords, alights upon “The Hustle,” “The Bus Stop,” “The Fox-Trot,” and “The Patty Duke,” and purrs a line from the Spinners’ Philly soul classic “I’ll Be Around” in a way that never feels overcrowded.
That it’s the least compelling moment on The Burrell Brothers Present: The Nu Groove Years 1988–1992, a visceral two-disc set compiling the work of Ronald and his twin brother, Reginald Burrell (the two were born three minutes apart), released in the years between the closing of the Paradise Garage and the rise of Masters at Work, speaks volumes to the dizzying amount of music the Queens-born twins put to wax in those five years. Primitive and tough, with jazz underpinnings and seductive r&b hooks, it paved the way forward for a scene that had been lagging behind the techno coming out of Detroit and acid house blowing in from Chicago. [Read More]