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Daniel Wang

Related: New York music - dance music - art music

"house music is summed up in 200 pieces of vinyl. The rest is derivative, just a variation."

Daniel Wang

It was a warm Sunday night in April: I was at the Marc Ballroom in Union Square, where the House of Ultra Omni was holding a ball. A few hundred people would gradually fill the room; the invite had detailed some 50 or 60 categories of competition, and Paris Dupree, Avis Pendavis, and a host of ballroom legends were preparing their outfits in the hallway. And although the event would go well into the wee hours, the deejay's choice of music throughout the evening was impeccable: these were the basslines, riffs and loops of Giorgio Moroder's "Evolution," Danny Tenaglia's "Harmonica Track," Junior Vasquez's "Dub Break," Philly, Salsoul, and other gems both old and new. But then, this was Tee Scott playing, a New York legend himself on the turntables... and for once, there was the rare chance to make some small-talk and get a phone number. He was vivacious and extremely articulate, and I looked forward to speaking again with him soon ... --TEE SCOTT as interviewed by Daniel Wang on July 14,1994 [...]


A couple years ago, Daniel Wang had heard his fill of "tone deaf" 12-inches choked with uninspired beats and "divas singing about nothing." So he took matters into his own hands and began doggedly documenting his own ideas with a single-mindedness reminiscent of his hero, Arthur Russell. Shot through with giddy samples and loopy rhythms, Danny's early singles bore more smudged fingerprints than a nursery school window. But what rang out even clearer was the history anchoring his compositions, from the galloping "Free Lovin' (House Dream)" to the taffy-pull of "The Mylar Beat," both featured on his stellar I Was A Disco Malcontent: The Best of Balihu Records (Oxygen Music Works). Chalk up his knack for simultaneously sounding retro and innovative to his DJ background - his tracks have won kudos from pros like Danny Tenaglia, Ashley Beedle and Farley & Heller. He's also sagely observed that "house music is summed up in 200 pieces of vinyl. The rest is derivative, just a variation." Wang's own tastes range from jazz to classical, "not just Kraftwerk, like all the techno kids, and not just 'Love Is The Message' and all those garage hits," all of which inform his eclectic, evolving sensibility.Kurt B. Reighley


To label Danny Wang a purist would be too easy. His philosophies about dance music go beyond those of the average Garage-lamenter, making him one of the few outspoken producers walking the back-to-basics talk. Having fashioned his recordings "From frustration and love" in Chicago earlier this decade, Danny relocated to New York, where his understanding of underground club music and culture deepened through associations with the House of Ultra Omni and their voguing balls. Friendships with DJ/producers like Danny Krivit and Francois Kevorkian inevitably followed, reinforcing his faith in the classics, as well as his disdain for the majority of contemporary house music. -- M. Eugene Lemcio.

Morgan Geist

Signing Wang (already a cult hero via his outstanding Balihu disco label) marked an important shift for Environ. Besides the obvious stylisistic swerve, Wang's EP was the first solo release by an artist other than the label's founder. Inspired by Wang's vibrant productions and increasingly dissatisfied with the P&D arrangment, Environ was brought back home to the States in 1999 with a new project: Metro Area, the brainchild of Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani. With the record's hot pink and lime green artwork and fresh sound, the domestic renaissance of the label felt as exciting and brave as the first release.

Top Ten

Here's a "top ten list" Daniel Wang did while he was over here in Helsinki. Don't sleep on the new album "Idealism" out on Environ Records 

Danny is one of the most original & groovy producers around!

Giorgio Moroder "Evolution"

The best-sounding synth record ever, I think. The strangest mechanical beauty.

Seven Deadly Sins "Lust"

The most classical of disco records, with harpsichord and a break from Saint-Saens.

Odyssey "Native New Yorker"

The best disco lyrics ever!!! Each and every phrase.

Maze "Twilight"

I think this is the lost connection between American R&B and all the stuff that followed - non-4/4 break beat, ambient, TB-303 basslines, vocals without a real "lyric" or "melody", etc. Yet it's still incredibly groovy... Thanks Phil Asher!

MFSB "Mysteries of the World"

The nice jazzy things you can do with a weird and complicated 4-bar bassline.

Barry White bootleg re-edit "Sweet Summer Suite (beat)"

Cuicas and cowbells... Latin disco rhythm beyond the cheesy over-quantized "Brazilian house" of today. The importance of playing behind and off the beat, without forcing a TR909 under everything.

Donnie Hathaway "Valdez in the Country"

Probably the most natural and "speaking" Fender Rhodes jam ever. Evokes 1970īs models in Halston gowns.

Millie Jackson "I Had to Say It" The funniest rap record ever. "Uh oh, 

What would Kurtis Blow do in a situation like this? Breakdown! Say hooooo!"

Lastly... MFSB "Love is the Message"

(Dr.Krivit edit) Because besides the groove, it is a perfect mathematical structure. Seriously.

Balihu Records

Balihu 12" discography
BAL 001 Daniel Wang - Look Ma No Drum Machine (12")
BAL 003 Daniel Wang - Aphroasiatechnubian (12")
BAL 004 Daniel Wang - The Morning Kids (12")
BAL 005 Daniel Wang - Chroma Obscura (12")
BAL 006 Daniel Wang - The Probe, The Strobe (12")
BAL 007 Daniel Wang - Mood Mylar (12")
BAL 008 Daniel Wang - Crystal Plastique (12")
BAL 009 Daniel Wang - Subtle Shuttle (12")

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