Trax, the Chicago label that helped birth house music turns 25 on October 18. To celebrate, the crew is unleashing Trax Records: The 25th Anniversary Collection. The 13-track compilation is packed with the best of the roster’s best by Trax greats like Frankie Knuckles, Virgo, Screamin’ Rachael and more. Also packaged with the CD is a DVD documentary of the Trax story called The House That Trax Built. An independent feature film with the same name is currently in the works, with the story being penned by Trax co-founder (Screamin’) Rachael Cain. The label is billing it as the Saturday Night Fever for the house generation, and pre-production begins soon.
The movie’s story might go something like this: back in the late ’70s, DJ Larry Levan was about to move into a residency at the Paradise Garage in New York City. The Garage would be the precursor to the modern dance club; the first to put the DJ at the center of everything. Levan had turned down a residency in Chicago for New York but referred a friend for the job, a DJ he’d worked with at the Continental Baths: Frankie Knuckles.
Knuckles arrived at Chicago’s Warehouse and started spinning disco and dance records, funk and R&B. “House music” was the broad sweeping term for all music played at the Warehouse; it wasn’t until Knuckles began experimenting with drum machines and crisscrossing soul with European electronica that house music in its modern sense came to be.
In terms of musical seismology, this was a tectonic shift. To keep things shaking, new artists like Knuckles needed to put out albums. Enter Trax. With records printed on credit, the quartet of Larry Sherman, Rachel Cain, Jesse Saunders and Vince Lawrence made the label that launched a thousand records—in fact over 2,000 to date.
“Our place in history can be summed up by saying that we changed pop music forever and set the whole world dancing,” says Cain in a press release, “now the sound is everywhere.” This is not an exaggeration. Without Trax there would very likely be no drum and bass, no dubstep, no modern dance music. Period. The Trax anniversary is in a lot of ways like a real birthday, for the label and a whole new generation of music.
Tracklist For Trax Records: The 25th Anniversary Collection:
01. Chuck Roberts – In The Beginning
02. Two Of A Kind – Happiness
03. Jamie Principle And Frankie Knuckles – It’s A Cold World
04. Mr. Lee – I Can’t Forget
05. Jungle Wonz – Time Marches On
06. Housemaster Boyz – Trax You Lost
07. Virgo – Do You Know Who You Are?
08. Hula – Hot Hands
09. Hercules – Lost In The Groove
10. DJ Rush – Help
11. Ralphi Rosario – You Used To Hold Me 2011 (vocal by Screamin’ Rachael, remix by DJ Gem)
12. George Clinton And Screamin’ Rachael – Our House Is Funkatified
13. Hip That House Feat. Bloodties