Since Kanye West released The Life Of Pablo in February, he's unveiled three official singles from the record. "Famous" spawned a public showdown with Taylor Swift, while "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" sparked a meme, but the most successful single to date on the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart is "Fade," which rides the bassline from an old house tune, Mr. Fingers' "Mystery Of Love." "Fade" adds to the growing heap of hip-hop singles constructed around house music samples in recent years — it's provided Drake and DJ Mustard with multiple hits, and Kendrick Lamar showed up on a house remix last September — and exposes Mr. Fingers to a mainstream audience for the first time in more than two decades.
Mr. Fingers is a moniker of the DJ/producer Larry Heard, whose work under his own name and various Fingers-related titles led to a series of essential Chicago dance records, including "Mystery Of Love," a remarkable tune that achieves a lot with a little: a tidy bassline, sanguine but not exuberant, is the unchanging engine of the song, while a rotating series of percussive effects, whooshes, and rumbles periodically shift the song's energy. "It's like a cat," Heard says of the track, speaking over Skype from his current home in Memphis. "You think it's gone, and here it comes walking through the doggy door again."
Heard originally found his way to electronic music after an unsatisfying period as a drummer in various cover bands, and though "Mystery Of Love" was one of the very first Mr. Fingers tracks, he has little recollection of making it. He suggests the song was mostly a happy accident, a product of youthful excitement — he was working with a new synth and drum machine — and lessons gleaned from listening to his parents play piano. "I got lucky," he says. "I was clueless.