MR FINGERS – Ammnesia – Album Review
Chicago’s Larry Heard is widely considered as being one of the original pioneering godfathers of house music, in its most true and organic form.
Heard, also known as Mr Fingers, armed with nothing other than analogue gear, basic drum machines and early Roland keyboards was able to create an entirely new genre of music with these most sparse (but groundbreaking for their time) instruments.
If you sit back and consider for a few moments when listening, that this album was released 35 years ago, you get an idea of the foresight that this guy had.
To this day, this record is a marvel of electronic music that I keep coming back to when I need a reference point, or to offer an example to some of the younger generation of DJ’s of where it all originated from.
One could confidently surmise that Heard probably wasn’t aware at the time, just how much of an impact the opening track on this album “Can You Feel It” would have on the lifetime of DJs and producers who would follow. This track is just utter perfection and the perfect example of what house music should be. Hypnotic groove, Juno 2 bassline, warm atmospherics and percussion that compliments each subtle chord structure perfectly.
There was no need for thousands of fancy software plugins here, no multitude of effects units to polish any rough edges. Just raw, unblemished use of the limited resources that were available to a producer like Heard in the late 80’s.
Following up then with the analogue bleep mastery of “Washing Machine” and its heavily delayed sequencing, packed another huge punch on the early stages of this album. It almost feels on this track like Heard was finding his feet with some of the gear he was using. The tracks would have been recorded live with the basic effects and delays being recorded onto tape, without the aid of the production software that now makes our lives so much easier.
“Stars” is a sublime track with a gentle, futuristic arpeggiated keyboard hook throughout its entirity and a kick ass disco bassline that perfectly compliments the warm and uplifting stabs. This track would be one of my own personal favourite moments in the album.
The title track on the LP “Ammnesia” uses a similar Juno bassline to the one used in “Can You Feel It” and relies heavily on the use of pounding snare sounds, constant ride cymbal throughout and a proper locked in groove.
This album has been the benchmark for so many producers down the decades, from the ideas within, to the countless samples that have been robbed from it by modern producers to facilitate new tracks, to just the subtle level of genius within.
All in all, this album means so much to me. A snapshot of the era when it was conceived, the sparse use of limited equipment, and most importantly, the musical LP debut of a visionary human in an industry that I cherish very dearly.