Track Of The Week #24 – Masters At Work – Expensive (A Tribute To Fela)

Arguably one of the most talented, diverse and definitive duos to have ever graced not only house music, but music as a whole. Much like it says on the tin, Masters At Work are a pair of masterful and eclectic producers with an ear for everything and aren’t afraid to experiment. Although they are mostly known for their dominance in the house scene, majority of people will state that it is impossible to pin-point the duo’s sound. This comes as a result of their unbelievable depth. The group’s sound covers anything from disco to funk, jazz to hip-hop and latin to afro-beat. It is rare that any artist is able create floor-fillers on such a consistent level. The duo did it to such extent that their sound was pivotal in shaping the way that we experience clubbing all together. As you can imagine, the list of artists to feature with Masters At Work is endless but a few names include George Benson, Roy Ayers and Jocelyn Brown. However, there was one artist who’s collaboration would fulfil the dreams of not only the Master’s At Work, but anyone in the world of music. That name was the emperor of Afrobeat, the founding father, the one and only, Fela Kuti. Unfortunately, Kuti’s death in 1997 meant that it would never be so. But yet, this was no deterrent for the ambitious duo as they went on to release ‘A Tribute To Fela’, a three track EP consisting of supreme house reworks of some of Kuti’s greatest tracks.

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The best tribute of all lies in the track ‘Expensive’, a funky and rhythmic version which is both jubilant and full of energy. It is that same energy, that same sound, that is exactly why Masters At Work are as highly regarded as they are. Their unprecedented talent and knowledge when it comes to production makes them worthy of collaboration with any musician in history. ‘Expensive’ was released back in 1999 just two years after Fela Kuti’s death. The song samples Kuti’s 1975 song ‘Expensive Shit’ which belongs to the same EP which features one of his greatest singles of all time, ‘Water Get No Enemy’. Masters At Work once again do as they promise and deliver an amazing tribute with ‘Expensive’. The first six minutes of the tune blast you with the all familiar strums of the afrobeat sound accompanied by the all famous horns, however this time it carries that addictive and floor-filling original Masters At Work sound. After the duo warm you up with a lengthy introduction, they spin in the ever-potent and catchy lyrics from the song’s original. The track is an all-round fine concoction of house, afrobeat and world music, perfectly assembled into one.

As mentioned before, Masters At Work’s style doesn’t end here. Their style has been ringing through clubs, parties and homes ever since they burst onto the scene. Often embracing their Puerto Rican heritage, the group have delivered time and time again. Whether they are stringing together a timeless house classic or maticulously composing a latin score, they are the crowd pleasers, full stop. Everyone needs the music of Masters At Work in their life and anyone who doesn’t already is missing out.

Listen & enjoy here –



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