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Summer party jam alert: Duck Sauce is in the house

August 3, 2009 |  2:10 pm


In the mid-‘90s, the already fertile house music underground was ignited by an emerging Chicago jock that called himself DJ Sneak. Sampling the best bits from classic disco tracks, DJ Sneak began releasing a long string of these disco-fied house hits, which set off a new trend of mining the bottomless catalog of long-lost dance tracks for the rave generation. It was a deceptively simple idea that only a few artists would be able to master. France’s Daft Punk was able to dominate (and market) the sound into a basis for stardom.

More than 10 years and an American dance underground revival later, and DJs Armand Van Helden (himself a '90s house pioneer familiar with old-school disco) and relative new jock A-Trak have teamed up to inject that euphoric '90s energy into today’s scene, and the results so far have been nothing less than spectacular.

Coining themselves Duck Sauce, the duo’s first dance-floor salvo is the instant party-starting stormer, “aNYway.

In the spirit of DJ Sneak’s early classics crossed with Daft Punk's penchant for turbo-charging old loops, the duo first pinpointed an extra-funky and equally obscure dance track, Final Edition’s 1979 single “I Can Do It (Anyway You Want).” Sampling the track’s best bits and adding an inspired new vocal over the top, Van Helden and A-Trak have created one of this summer’s definitive party jams.

It’s far from rocket science: Increase the BPMs, bump up the bass, and garnish with modern technology. But it’s the source material that gives the track its true power.

While purists might dismiss it as a remix, or worse, plagiarism, it takes real skill to not only find such effective old-school loops, but also to turn them into something that will set off a dance floor. Duck Sauce has achieved both with flying colors on “aNYway.”

The freshly minted dynamic duo drops their debut EP in October on A-Trak’s Fools Gold label.

--Scott T. Sterling