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David Mancuso (Dancefloor @ The Light)

    Lucky Cloud Sound System have been organising Loft-style parties since 2003. Held four times a year on Sunday from 5:00pm to midnight, as close to the equinoxes and the solstices as we can manage, the events are rooted in the simple principle of friends wanting to come together in order to relax and dance, just as they would at a birthday party. Initially held at the Light, a converted power station in Shoreditch that echoed the interior of the abandoned warehouses where David Mancuso held his parties between 1970-84, the party moved to the Rose Lipman building in June 2014 when property developers took over the Light. The first party at the new venue went like a dream and we hope to make it our home for a very long time.
 

The parties are rooted in the ethos and principles of David's Loft parties, which have been running in New York since February 1970. Arguably the most influential party of the era, emerging from the intersection of the Harlem rent party scene with the psychedelic counterculture (see here for more on the latter),the Loft was (along with the short-lived Sanctuary) the key birthplace for contemporary dance music culture, having initiated the practice of all-night freeform dancing to the selection of pre-recorded music to a diverse crowd hungry to dance to a wide range of music. In addition to developing the best sound system anyone had ever heard, Mancuso inspired Nicky Siano to set up the Gallery, Mike Stone to open the SoHo Place, and Mike Brody to open Reade Street and then the Paradise Garage, and Richard Williams to open the Warehouse in Chicago. The Warehouse and the Garage went on to become the mythical birthplaces of house and garage music. Along the way future DJs such as Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles learnt about the power of music and the dance ritual on the floor of the Loft. Sometimes it can be hard to overstate David's influence.
 
The London Loft party came into being when David Mancuso approached friends Tim Lawrence (author of the then forthcoming book Love Saves the Day, which describes the influence of the Loft and the rise of DJ culture and disco) and Colleen Murphy (an old friend of Mancuso's who had stepped in as a musical host at David's New York parties and who also co-produced the David Mancuso presents the Loft compilations released by Nuphonic) to see if they would like to start a London party with him. At the same time Jeremy Gilbert (author of the book Discographies and a colleague of Tim's) suggested that it would be good to start putting on parties with David in London following his one-off appearance at the Nuphonic launch party for the first Loft compilation--without knowing of David's suggestion. So was born the grouping that would become Lucky Cloud Sound System, which now comprises a collective of some 30 volunteers, all of them involved for the love of the party.
 
With David guiding the way for the first ten years of the party, LCSS sought to transport the core principles of the New York Loft into London. We decorated the party room with a sky of balloons, as in New York. We put on a buffet for dancers free of extra charge, just to make sure nobody went hungry, as in New York. We provided iced water on demand an a no-charge cloakroom, just so dancers would have to spend any extra money, as in New York. We founded the party on friendships and the idea of community that supports a diverse, cosmopolitan, multi-generational dance floor, as in New York. And we paid huge attention to the piecemeal creation of a sound system that introduced many of the core components that David had already tried and tested in New York. Almost entirely rooted in analogue equipment and supported by two sound system experts from Scotland--Iain Mackie and Andrew Pirie--the sound system must be one of the warmest, three-dimensional public systems in the city, if not the country, if not Europe. And it sounds even better at Rose Lipman.
 
With David no longer able to take on the role of musical host at the parties, Colleen has stepped into the role of seamlessly, with Si and G (Simon Halpin and Guillaume Chottin) also playing parties to great acclaim. All three have an intimate knowledge of the party dynamic, having spent hours and hours dancing to David's selections. Retaining the broad principles of the set-up, which make the dance floor the centre of the universe, the spirit of the parties remains as strong as ever, with the crowd becoming more pluralistic by the year. Everyone is welcome to join us, just so long as they arrive with a love of dancing and music (and resist the temptation to use phones and cameras on the dance floor--because we want to keep the dance floor as a space dedicated to dancing). This includes kids, who we welcome to attend the party (with carers) for free for the first two hours of the party. As David once said of the Loft, nobody will check you identity at the door.
 
We've put our hearts, souls and backs into the party. In fact we love it so much we're always checking our diaries and counting the days until the next one Details of future events can be found on the party info page. You can also join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook. We hope we'll see you on the dance floor!
 

(Part of Lucky Cloud Sound System)
 
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Members of Lucky Cloud Sound System are involved with a series of other musical projects, many of which are inspired by our involvement with our lucky cloud loft parties.
 
Classic Album Sundays is Colleen’s pioneering immersive listening experience that challenges the way we listen to music in the 21st century through providing a sonic oasis where fans hear the stories behind their favourite records followed by a vinyl replay on some of the world’s best hi-fis.
(www.classicalbumsundays.com)
 
Colleen is also active as a producer and remixer, her most recent releases being as Wild Rumpus with Gary Lucas and an acclaimed remix for Fat Freddy’s Drop.
 
Running since 2005 and the oldest sibling of Lucky Cloud Sound System, Beauty and the Beat is a psychedelic, freeform dance party with an audiophile aesthetic, hosted by Jeremy and fellow LCSS members Cyril Cornet and Cedric Woo (www.houseparty.org.uk).
 
Following the publication of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79, the first book to chart the influence of the Loft, Tim Lawrence has continued to write about David Mancuso's party in his biography of Arthur Russell, Hold On to Your Dreams, as well as the forthcoming Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83 (www.timlawrence.info).
 
Deep Frequency is an internet radio station founded and run by Guillaume Chottin and Simon Halpin that broadcasts the kind of music that can be heard at LCSS parties.
(www.deepfrequency.com)
 
Pelucas y Tacones, run by Alejandro Quesada, is a party dedicated to the Spanish LGBT community and its friends (twitter.com/PelucasyTacones).
 
The Bunker Sessions, hosted by Rob Calcutt, is a listening party in which participants share and discuss music, using a drumstick caught at a Funkadelic concert as a "talking stick" (www.bunkersessions.co.uk).
 
Maureen Schipper, aka Auntie Maureen, our cloakroom queen, is one of the UK’s premiere vintage DJs (www.auntiemaureen.info).
 
Andrew Pirie is a founding member of and resident DJ at Melting Pot, Scotland's first and longest running club dedicated to the New York sound (www.meltingpotglasgow.com), and is a director at Loud & Clear Hi-FI, a leading high-end hi-fi retailer (www.loud-clear.co.uk).
 
The Love Machine is a project involving Darren Morgan that takes inspiration from our own audiophile and community aesthetics (www.yourlovemachine.com).
 
AJ Kwame co-organises Afri-Kokoa, which curates, produces and programmes multi-arts events reflective of the cultural fusions of Africa and its diaspora (www.afri-kokoa.co.uk).
 
Run by Amit and Aneesh Patel, Brilliant Corners is an audiophile bar located on Kingsland Road that has important ties to the LCSS/Loft sound system (www.brilliantcornerslondon.co.uk), and which has become a natural second home for some of LCSS, who can be found spinning everything from Balearic disco to Indian classical music there, many nights of the week.