What David Mancuso taught me about playing records - - Mixmag

What David Mancuso taught me about playing records

Mancuso protégé Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy played the legendary Loft parties and continues their legacy today

  • Words: Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy | Photo: Dave Swindells
  • 18 November 2016
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I’m going to abbreviate this part of the story as I have recounted it endless times, but after going to the party every week and having David up on my radio show, he invited me to play records with him at his party, and then we began a long and intense friendship which deepened with every year. Along with musically co-hosting parties with him, he sometimes asked me to fill in for him for an entire evening from midnight on Saturday to noon on Sunday. That meant putting together a 12-hour musical set that would not only sound great on the sensitive audiophile soundsystem but would also take the musically-tuned-in acrobatic Loft dancers on a journey. This was my apprenticeship.

Throughout my 25-year friendship with David, up through to the run of our Lucky Cloud Loft parties in London, I have learnt so much about the art of playing records. In the spirit of David, who always generously shared his knowledge, I feel it would be pertinent to share some of what I have learnt even if it may be applied in more of a DJ-led setting rather than the Loft world of musical hosting on an audiophile soundsystem.

At The Loft parties we only play vinyl and as the format has recently made a comeback, one should be warned that not all vinyl sounds great. David taught me to pay attention to how a record is mixed (in the studio) and to avoid records that already have too much bass as that will work against the other frequencies. The mastering and pressing are also a big part of the equation as if done incorrectly, a recording can sound like there is a blanket laid over it. At The Loft we feature records that have a sonically lifelike presence as the soundsystem only delivers what it is given. The source has to be correct.

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