There’s a reason why so many of house music’s early releases have endured over the decades. The bestof them have a quality that defies logic. Early house records like Heard's own "Washing Machine," orthe "No Way Back" by Adonis, still have the power to stun listeners and drive clubs wild. They soundalien and beautiful, simultaneously ingrained within us and so unlike everything that followed. Andfew sound as beautiful, or as alien, as "Can You Feel It."By 1986, Heard—who was born and bred in Chicago and been playing in bands as a drummer—had alreadyproved to the world that he was a master of poignant, enthralling house. The previous year’s elegant“Mystery of Love,” originally released on Alleviated Records, had featured an insistent ascendingbassline repeating under a plaintive, swooning analog synth, with a gentle, conga-led rhythm settingthe pace. It was soon rerecorded in a slightly more fleshed-out style, this time featuring frequentcollaborator Robert Owens on vocals—”There’s a moment in our lives when we all must try the mystery oflove”—and rereleased on D.J. International.The song helped to set the Larry Heard template: A hollowed-out bass underlies percolating percussion,while a deceptively spare instrumentation lays out a wistful, yearning melody, all blanketed withethereal ambience. But “Can You Feel It,” released by Trax Records the next year on an EP that alsoboasts the equally dreamy “Washing Machine,” took that mold and refined it into exquisite, crystallineform. As with most house of the era—the components of “Can You Feel It” are few. There’s a throbbingkick, tuned so loosely as to make it feel like the head’s in danger of falling from the drum, cascadinghi-hats, shivering and shimmering, a three-chord synth pattern that flirts with melancholy, occasionaldistant pads and crisp countermelody, and most of all, that angular, acidic low-end. With this track,along with “Washing Machine,” Heard had perfected his signature bass sound: an alien signal, caving inupon itself, that’s simultaneously soothing and a little bit disconcerting. In 1986, it seemed like abeacon from the farthest reaches of the galaxy, even today, it’s one of the most identifiable tones inelectronic music.Heard himself has claimed to have little distinct memory of making “Can You Feel It,” saying it wasmerely the result of fooling around with some newly acquired gear. But apparently, “Can You Feel It”was first laid down on tape in 1984, the same session yielded a much slower, 110-BPM prototype of“Mystery of Love.” Roland’s Juno-60 polyphonic synthesizer provided the bass and melody, while thedrums were courtesy of a TR-909. A friend came up with the song’s title, Heard has admitted ininterviews that he’s not adept at naming his own work. The track ended up in the hands of theinfluential Chicago DJs of the era—Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, et al—and eventually made its way toTrax Records’ Vince Lawrence. A few years later, alternate versions of “Can You Feel It” surfaced, manyof these with Vocals Samples that detracted from something that was already graceful and full offeeling. And really, how could anything improve upon the transcendent ‘86 Trax release, a song thatfeels like a blissful caress?