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Frankie Knuckles’ wax goes on public display

Test Presses, Acetates and One-Offs are on show in the 5,000 strong vinyl collection.

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 06: Frankie Knuckles performs during the 2013 Wavefront Music Festival at Montrose Beach on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

A hand-picked selection of vinyl from Frankie Knuckles’ personal collection can now be viewed at New York’s Gagosian Gallery. 

Chicago renowned artist – Theaster Gates has included the wax selection as part of his new exhibition known as `Social Works. 5,000 of the ‘Godfather of House’ records are available to view. Knuckles’ collection is also being digitised by New York DJ and live artist Russell EL Butler as part of a further tribute. 

There are some rare and hidden gems on display, as you would expect from such a collection. An early Test Pressing of the 1995 Danny Tenaglia release ‘Hard and Soul’ is joined by acetate pressings of Celine Dion ‘Misled (MK Dub)’ and Baby Ford ‘Oochy Koochy’. 

One of the interesting parts of this collection is the visibility of blue and red dots on the pressings that enabled him to differentiate between versions and select the wax quickly in dark club environments. The Red dots indicated the more uptempo tracks, and the blue, a more downbeat profile. 

A lifelong friend of Knuckles and founder of Prescription Records, Ron Trent, spoke to the Gagosian Gallery magazine about the impact of the record collection: 

“You felt like you were being taken to another realm of consciousness. That’s the best way I can put it. And there was a level of mastery there.” 

“It was a shamanistic kind of thing, like a shaman who wants to take you on this journey, and these are the resources he’s using: vinyl, tape decks, MP3s, whatever, to get you out of this world sonically. So that’s what it was like to hear Frankie Knuckles. It was out of space, brother [laughs].” 

“His approach, his psyche, his emotions, and his energy are still here. As we know through science, energy doesn’t dissipate; it just changes form. It’s still floating around, you know.”

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