Friday, November 24th, 2017

MK – 17

In 2018, let’s all resolve to credit our vocalists.


Thomas Inskeep: I’m a stan for MK. The guy’s been making gorgeous piano house that hits me directly in my sweet spot for a quarter century now (though he spent most of the 2000s working in TV and film music, returning to the DJ booth this decade, thank goodness). Just check out this remix he did of Bobby Brown’s “Get Away” way back in 1993, around the same time he was killing the club charts with his own tracks such as “Always” and “Love Changes.” MK comes from the Masters at Work/Frankie Knuckles school of uplifting piano house, just about the only musical genre capable of wringing tears out of me. (Fun fact: I’ve only ever cried at live performances two times, and both in the past 5 years. They were DJ sets by Masters at Work and MK.) There’s a certain beauty in piano house, when it’s made expertly, that I find utterly transcendent. On the surface, the lyrics to “17” may sound uplifting, but it’s actually kind of a sad song — the protagonist’s partner is “ain’t even missin'” and is “making a fool of” her, but she’s still “got [their] back like we still 17.” But god, the lift. The chords. The way that “17,” musically, lends itself to completely losing yourself on the dance floor. It. Is. Sublime. Peak Marc Kinchen? Not quite. Close enough? Oh, yes. This makes my heart swell.

Claire Biddles: Piano house till I die!

Edward Okulicz: A delirious early 90s dance fossil, and immaculately preserved it is too, with the drum presets suggesting that nothing worthwhile has happened in pop music since 1993. Given that I think modern civilisation more or less peaked with Black Box’s “Ride On Time” and it’s all been downhill from there, call me a fan. The song on top is only pretty decent, and not good enough to mitigate its repetition, but it’s still a jam.

Ian Mathers: One of those songs where, if I just described it to you, it might sound like nothing much, but MK so skillfully weaves those basic house elements together that “17” becomes moving in both senses of the word – although significant credit for that also has to go to the singer for a powerhouse performance, without which the track would be much less compelling. Kind of messed up that after spending 15 minutes trying to figure out who it is I couldn’t find a name, eh?

Iain Mew: The pulsing synth bits that pop up for the most abstract sections are a lovely touch, but the rest is as identify-free as he’s decided to render the singer.

Tim de Reuse: The 909 drum machine is treated with all the reverence it’s due, lumpy and thick and tumbling over itself every measure. Bizarrely, though, the actual bassline is an order of magnitude quieter than it ought to be, leaving a huge hole between the overpowering thunk of the kick and the actual melodic content, itself all tinny and high and straining to be heard. This sounds like it’d be a fun, simple one-loop excursion if only the one simple loop was in any way pleasant on the ears.

Ryo Miyauchi: The rounder synths that bubble up from the sharp, almost jagged pianos provide a nice breather to an otherwise intense garage track. The narrative could use some release too, or at least some moments to step back. The song hangs on too much to its rather vague refrain — “baby, I got your back like we’re still seventeen” — that it stays too narrow for its own good.

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2 Responses to “MK – 17”

  1. Did anyone ever figure out who the vocalist on this is? It’s gorgeous.

  2. Nevermind! Manged to find it. Carla Monroe:

    This is a tune! Wish MK had given her a featuring credit!