Pasa Tem­pos

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Mu­sic by Mr. Fingers and Prins Thomas

Dance mu­sic his­tory les­son here. In the mid-1980s, a South Side Chicago DJ known al­ter­nately as Larry Heard or Mr. Fingers pi­o­neered deep house, a new genre which blended the icy fu­tur­ism of Detroit techno with the lush, gospelin­flected disco beats then preva­lent in the black and Latino gay clubs of Chicago. Thirty years later, Heard is still mak­ing en­gag­ing new mu­sic, while some of his clas­sics, like his 1986 banger, “Can You Feel It?” re­main in club floor ro­ta­tion. It would be an ap­pro­pri­ate time for a Heard re­vival now that EDM has so en­chanted the Top 40. But most of Mr. Fingers’ pro­duc­tions re­main both too street and too cere­bral for pop ra­dio. Com­posed of just four long tracks, this al­bum fea­tures “Qwazars,” a bliss­fully airy mix of high-hats and fiz­zling deep house beats, its sci-fi sheen ac­cented by a bit of sam­pled di­a­logue from celebrity as­tro­physi­cist Neil deGrasse Tyson wax­ing po­etic on these dis­tant clus­ters of galac­tic light. Ja­maican dub and cow­bell clangs ring through­out “Nodya­head,” while the clos­ing track, “Aether,” uses fil­tered pi­ano riffs and lum­ber­ing bass lines to cre­ate a con­tem­pla­tive night­cap track. Though this mu­sic is clearly built on the dance har­mon­ics of his famed 1980s work, noth­ing here comes across as nos­tal­gic. In­stead, Heard finds him­self work­ing dili­gently to prove that house mu­sic can do more than thump and bounce on the dance floor; it can coax seren­ity and bliss out of its lis­ten­ers. — Casey Sanchez

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