Modern club culture owes a huge debt, everything even, to David Mancuso. Ironically for someone so uninterested in financial gain and steadfastly anti-commercial, the parties he organised under the banner of “The Loft” were the seed of the clubbing boom. The root of an industry. Mancuso`s party-goers were disciples who spread the word. Nicky Siano opened The Gallery. Larry Levan created The Paradise Garage. Frankie Knuckles took The Loft, via The Garage, with him to Chicago`s Warehouse, and Justin Berkmann did the same when he built the Ministry Of Sound in London. Mancuso`s credo, that clarity is all important, inspired every bespoke club or bar sound system you`ve ever listened to, every Klipschorn ever bought. The debt is global.
When I arrived in Tokyo, ten years ago, 90% of the city`s nightlife was a tribute to The Loft. Mancuso`s blueprint of audiophiles and balloons. Every establishment owner was a Loft-head. The music played – Loft Classics, and the record shops had looted New York to cater for the demand. Personally, it was the eclecticism of Mancuso` playlists, printed in “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”, that brought me back to dance music after almost a decade away, and the best drug-free party I`ve ever attended was the one he threw at Cay in Omote-Sando. My enthusiasm / OCD had made me the first through the door, taking notes on the warm-up tunes, and then fascinated at how he raised the energy on the dance floor. Like science. Alternating between increasing and decreasing hysteria. The cliche is of course that while I owned many of the records he played they all sounded like I`d never heard them before. Hidden instruments and musicianship uncovered. Old favourites` true beauty and power revealed.
A family friend popped in for coffee, about five minutes after Apiento told me the news that David Mancuso had died. My friend asked me what I was writing, and in trying to explain to him how important Mancuso is / was, I told him that, in “our world”, it was like God dying.