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Maestro review

Four years in the making, Josell Ramos' musical documentary charts the origins of house music in the underground clubs of New York's gay scene. Focusing on legendary venues The Paradise Garage and The Loft, Maestro runs through the little-known early history of hugely influential DJs such as Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles. As the various talking heads recall these revolutionary times, they paint a nostalgic portrait of a time when music meant more than sex, drugs and even hard currency (at The Loft, the management would regularly let hard-up punters write IOUs to cover the entrance fee).

Let down by its terrible production values (the lighting leaves half the interviewees in darkness) and shoddy technique (the camera is often pointed in the wrong direction altogether), Maestro nonetheless survives. Why? That'll be the lovingly recreated soundtrack, the early VHS footage of sweaty bodies on the dance floor and the sheer interest value of the subject. Worth getting down to.

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