SummaryStrut proudly presents the first definitive retrospective of one of the most influential labels and producers of Chicago house music, Cajmere and the seminal Cajual Records imprint.
It started from a love of early Chicago house and as a hobby, piecing together tracks on a "sixty-buck keyboard, a cheap four-track and a cheap drum machine". Curtis A. Jones, chemical engineering student and long-time '80s video games obsessive, then left a Masters course at UC-Berkeley, returned to Chicago and unleashed his first DIY tracks on the 'Underground Goodies' EPs for ClubHouse, setting the blueprint for his early raw, cut-up production style. Soon after forming his own label, Cajual (with the CAJ taken from his initials), he unleashed the madcap, bubbling groove 'Coffee Pot' (later re-titled as 'Percolator'), a worldwide club hit.
The early years of Cajual confirmed Cajmere's reputation for gritty dancefloor perfection with the infectious, hilarious answering machine message 'Chit Chat' and his first release with vocalist Dajae on Emotive Records, who would become a regular collaborator. Their 'Brighter Days' became a definitive calling card, exploding in a host of mixes by Cajmere himself, Todd Terry and Masters At Work's Louie Vega and reaching no. 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music / Club Play chart.
Jones would unleash his green-haired electro-punk alter ego, Green Velvet, in 1993 and create the Relief label for this very different side to his work. Meanwhile, Cajual continued its reputation for raw quality with a collaboration with Derrick Carter, 'Dream States', and further Dajae classics ('Get Up Off Me', 'Day By Day', 'U Got Me Up'). By 1993, Jones had begun to bring the second generation of Detroit techno pioneers into the Cajual fold. Glenn Underground and Gemini both stepped up with deep dancefloor workouts - the epic 'Detroitism', 'The Wheel' and 'Le Fusion' as Cajual continued to set the underground pulse.
Although releases became more sporadic during 1995-7, the later period of Cajual set the bar high throughout. Scottish house producers Deep Sensation cameo-ed and Chicago underground favourites Mark Grant and Andre Harris both released later singles and mixes. Jones would continue as a mainstay of dance music culture, focusing on his work as Green Velvet into the new millennium. 'Only 4 U' brings together the many shades of Cajual for the first time in a definitive label overview, released in conjunction with Cajual Entertainment.