Masters at Work Saved My Life One Night

Masters At Work saved my life one night. One Sunday several years ago, I forgot that I had to create a deliverable for work that was due Monday morning. At 9pm at night I fired up my laptop, made a cup of coffee, plugged in my headphones and got down to business as I burned the midnight oil.

I don’t know how it happened, but that night I came across this recording of Masters at Work (MAW) spinning a set from a San Francisco night club in 1992 broadcast on KMEL. This mix was the saving grace that helped me get through the late night and knock out the deliverable. Maybe it was because I was approaching the hour the of the morning the mix was originally recorded (I was up past 2 AM), but MAW’s impeccable house music was the soundtrack to a late night of documentation.

The night I first listened to the mix, I knew who MAW were, but really only listened to their production work, not their live sets. Since that night, the mix has become one of my all-time favorites, and has made house music the defacto thing I listen to when trying to be productive.

While the music is amazing, the best part for me is the narration/interludes by the DJ. These are some of my favorites moments. *

  • 5, 8:20, and too many more times – Talks about the venue being an underground club
  • 40:20 – Talking to the security guy about “jammin’ betties”
  • 1:12:45 Talks to Lawrence on the dance floor
  • 1:20 – Talks about how there’s another 3-4 hours to go (It’s 2:40 AM). How he laments how the bar is closing, and how he’ll have to settle for a soda
  • 1:22:45 – BBHMM

In addition to these moments, it repeatedly comes up how the DJ is impressed by MAW’s use of four turntables. Nowadays, especially with the glut of B2B DJ sets, four turntables/CDJs is pretty common, but there is this child-like, uncontained enthusiasm for our narrator, nee MC, seeing four turntables in use.

While I was tired and felt defeated for having overlooked a deadline, the sounds of early 90s house carried me through the night, and the client enjoyed the deliverable.

* These times may have been captured from another radio broadcast and may vary slightly from the recording I’ve shared.