With summer quickly approaching, students looking for the perfect pick-me-up album to get a weekend of clubbing started off right should flock to stores Friday night. Pete Tong’s Essential Mix is a smooth, funky house/techno journey that will surely usher in a rush of ecstatic weekend pleasures.
Tong is a national icon in England, where electronic music is king. In fact, he is the mastermind behind the Essential label that is home to such stars as Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold. Now, with the release of his Essential Mix, Tong is taking his music to the United States, throwing out the sounds that have made him one of the United Kingdom’s best-loved disc jockeys.
Tong has ventured on a journey that weaves through underground dance music, soul, house, jungle, hip-hop and techno. He got his start spinning soul and dance in Dartford, England, but soon struck it on his own. By 1983 he was hosting weekly soul and dance programs on the radio, continuing to mix soul with house music coming out of Chicago and Detroit, exposing it to a wider English audience.
Tong then launched his own label, and the rest, as they say, is history. By 1991 Tong was hosting the weekly “Essential Selection” show on BBC’s Radio One, which has become an official party-starter for Friday nights throughout England.
Today, Tong still finds time to spin at clubs around the world and is currently on a U.S. tour to promote his new album. He made an April 6 appearance at “Buzz,” held at Nation, where he played an energy-packed late-night set featuring many cuts from his new album.
The Essential Mix is a healthy mix of upbeat house, with lofty feel-good hooks and intoxicating breaks. The first track, Rua Da Silva’s Touch Me, was a number-one hit in the U.K. and provides a great intro to the mix. Lovesky’s “Drums 4 Better Daze,” Tong’s Praha remix progresses into an aural beauty that builds and breaks with grace. The album climaxes with Planet Funk’s “Chasing the Sun,” one of the hottest tracks of the year.
There can be no doubt that Tong is well on his way to fame in the States. Essential Mix will put anyone in the mood to begin the evening or merely continue the festivities.
Essential Mix is in stores now