Liberate Recordings: Soulful Sounds From The Underground
House music's vibrant and respected history has allowed many veterans and long-time aficionados an opportunity to evolve, change the game, and develop new undertakings as the music swings further into the 21st century. Doc Link and DJ EMan are such seasoned players, with contributions to many facets of the soulful house scenes in New York and Chicago. Together, in 2006, they combined energies to form Liberate Recordings, an independent music label continuing to make waves in soulful house music circles.
The two talents behind Liberate Recordings are both already established staples of the dance music world. DJ EMan honed his industry chops as the director of promotion at Tommy Boy in the early 90's. Captured by house music, EMan began DJ'ing throughout New York City and producing notable nightclub events including the revered Bang The Party weekly. A career in production was calling and EMan responded with a series of classic singles, including "It's Yours" on Chez Music (on which EMan supplied the memorable spoken vocal hook), "Brooklyn (Where I Live)" on Sfere Recordings, and "Musical Prayer" on Wave Music.
Doc Link, meanwhile, was making his mark in the other house music mecca of Chicago. Absorbing musical history by witnessing the 80's club sets of legends like Ron Hardy and Farley Jackmaster Funk, Doc was inspired to follow in their DJ footsteps. His production ambitions grew soon after as Doc experimented with a variety of styles in the studio. It was a winning collaboration with friend Roy Davis Jr. on "Dance Shake" that further propelled Doc Link into the limelight. Successful joint efforts with Davis Jr. continued as well as a production alliance with Malik Alston for the classic "Back 2 Chicago" on King Street.
EMan and Doc Link eventually met and worked together on a number of singles, including "A New Reality" on Milk N 2 Sugars. Both were feeling that their efforts needed a new outlet where they could have full creative freedom and control over the quality of the output. To be 'liberated' from the constraints of the industry was the goal and, with this in mind, a new label was named and Liberate Recordings was born.
The sound of Liberate is indeed "a tale of two cities". With EMan's roots firmly in New York while Doc Link's influence was born of Chicago, their label seeks to draw upon the sounds of both while creating a bridge with something new and exciting. In addition to showcasing the founders' productions Liberate has featured artists such as Angel A, DJ Qudus, and Lorie Caval. Jon Cutler, Alton Miller, Doc Martin, DJ Smash, Boddhi Satva, and, of course, Roy Davis Jr. are just some of the world class DJs found playing Liberate's releases in their sets.
As Liberate Recordings nears a thirtieth release, its place in the house music congregation seems assured. However, EMan and Doc Link are determined to set their goals higher, to bring their label's music to a wider audience without betraying their underground heritage. The duo are perpetually hard at work in the studio creating the next string of releases while tirelessly searching for new talent to expose to the community. Keep an ear to the underground and listen closely ... there are plenty of soulful grooves yet to come from Liberate Recordings.
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