Not so long ago Rainer Trüby took us on a journey through his Patrice Rushen collection. Eager to further explore the funk and disco influence on house musicians, we invited skilled crate digger and deep house star San Soda to share 10 records produced by his unsung disco hero Greg Carmichael.
Words: Nicolas Geysens (San Soda)
I first heard of Greg Carmichael through the music he did together with Patrick Adams. They wrote, played and produced music together for groups like The Universal Robot Band, Inner Life, Bumblebee Unlimited and Wish.
A closer look at his career reveals a spectrum even greater than the many acclaimed disco outfits he was part of. With a repertoire ranging from seventies soul/funk projects on the Right On! label to (proto-)house releases with Wish and Logg in the late eighties, Greg Carmichael collaborated with a vast number of singers and producers.
He co-produced the massive ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ with Jocelyn Brown on vocals and worked closely with Leroy Burgess for well known projects like Logg and Convertion, just to name a few of his successes. He also ran his own label Red Greg records, releasing many albums and singles by The Universal Robot Band, The Invitations and the classic ‘Make It Last Forever’ by Donna McGhee.
What fascinates me about his work is the presence of a signature sound without making different songs or projects sound too similar or overshadowing the individuality of the artists. The drums and synths usually are the instruments that dominate and define the tracks. Drums and percussion are often raw, with a live feel and very present in the mix.
Tracks like Tony Aiken ‘Unity’ and The Universal Robot Band ‘Freak With Me’ are perfect examples of how he can have the drums carry the song, looping and never-ending, resulting in long 8/9 minute arrangements that have the power to hypnotize a crowd in a techno-ish way. Another recurring musical element are the ARP 2600 synth solo’s that often cut right through a busy and full arrangement, Sammy Gordon ‘Making Love’ is a good example.. Often very loosely played, they give a certain airiness that compensates for the heavy and driving atmosphere found in a lot of his productions.
Despite being one of the lesser recognized figures in the New York disco scene, the numerous club classics he’s responsible for, alone or alongside Patrick Adams and Leroy Burgess, surely helped define the New York disco sound if there ever was one.
We’ve compiled San Soda’s killer selection into the playlist below so you can listen in one go and click next to scroll through the records individually.