'The Theme' (Love From San Francisco Mix), 1995
This classic is 28 years old and still sounds like it could have been made last week. It was a game changer when it came out, there was nothing like it at that time. Clearly Webster was influenced by the likes of Larry Heard, but he took that influence and launched it into the stratosphere. Simply put, the production was light years ahead of what was happening. There was alchemy, magic, in the way all of its parts slotted together perfectly. Every seagull sound, bass note, drum pattern, synth texture, and percussion tone was perfectly separated and in harmony.
Webster cut his teeth at Square Dance studios in Derby, England, a renowned production facility, where classics such as 808 State’s “Pacific State” and “Dextrous” by Nightmares On Wax were recorded. Webster was working in those studios with the likes of Juan Atkins as early as 1989, years before he embarked on his solo career. “The Theme” was obviously the work of someone who knew their way around a studio, not a new jack trying to convey ideas to an engineer. It was as deep as the sleepiest Wayne Gardiner instrumental but moved like it was a peak time track, the bass line driving and drums hitting so hard that Kenny Dope would be proud! And it was structured as a song, not mindless meanderings of cool pieces. The build up to the release of the keys five minutes into the track is euphoric, a masterclass in song structure.
Released as a double pack import, it was a bitch to find when it was released. I remember playing it off the Frankie Knuckles 'Ministry Of Sound' compilation for years before getting the real 2 x 12". Also, it is one of the few remixes he has done. In Webster’s subsequent work, quality over quantity would be a running…theme.