A guide to Wild Pitch

Posted: February 14th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Chicago’s DJ Pierre already had the credentials to be responsible for a lasting sound revolution in club music when he, together with Earl “Spanky” Smith Jr., and Herbert “Herb J” Jackson as Phuture, tweaked the knobs of the Roland TB-303 and came up with the squelching sounds that defined acid house. But regular visits to the seminal Wild Pitch parties put on by Bobby Konders and Greg Day in early 90s New York City inspired him to reinvent himself once again, and again with lasting consequences. The Wild Pitch parties consisted of several rooms with different musical agendas between reggae, disco, hip hop, house and techno. Pierre’s idea was to gather the diverse styles played into one track, but by applying a structure that stepped away from the traditions of club music functionality. Over the course of tracks often hitting or passing the 10 minute mark, he opted for a gradual introduction of a track’s key elements. Starting with the kick drum, every further sound was slowly and patiently layered onto another on a rolling groove, heaping up the intensity step by step until a climactic release. This may not read as being revolutionary, but it was executed so skillfully that it shook up the foundations of house, introducing a level of upbuilding tension and a hypnotic quality that was yet unheard of. And it also led to Pierre becoming one the most in-demand remixers in the years to come. Here is a guide to some classics and overlooked gems that defined wild pitch.

Photon Inc. Feat. Paula Brion – Generate Power (Wild Pitch Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1991)

The ground zero of the genre, and all the key elements are already there: the waddling groove, the standing strings, the stab repetition, the signalling vocal samples. The upbuilding structure was not as refined yet, but the intensity level sure was. This track literally ran over house music in its release year, and Pierre obviously noticed that he was onto something.

DJ Pierre – Muzik (The Tribal Wild Pitch Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1992)

DJ Pierre often said in interviews that wild pitch was inspired by his own DJing preferences of sneaking in elements of other tracks in long blends. „Muzik“ is a perfect example for that. Just check how its elements fade in and out, are repeated, modulated, replaced, continued and layered. It is a master class in structure.

Joint Venture – Master Blaster (Turn It Up) (Strictly Rhythm, 1992)

Divided in four parts segued into another and add up to 15 breathtaking minutes, this track tore through dancefloors with a massive boom still seeking comparison. Yet it is actually clocking at 120 bpm, proving that pace does not equal heaviness. And it builds and builds. Someplace else, Chez Damier and Ron Trent were taking notes.

Shock Wave – The Mental Track (The Love And Sex Mix) (Nervous Records, 1992)

Another alias for DJ Pierre. This tracks is still unrivalled for the way the producer let the chords spiral for what feels like eternity. Follow this up with the original vocal sample source, Inner City’s „Pennies From Heaven“, and watch them all go totally mad.

Midi Rain – Shine (Pierre’s Chicago House Mix) (Vinyl Solution, 1992)

DJ Pierre remixing John Rocca’s Midi Rain project, and contrasting the distinctive voice that once graced Freeez’ „I.O.U.“ and other gems with some heavy bass action and quite traditional Chicago house pianos. A splendid combination all in all.

Phuture – Rise From Your Grave (Wild Pitch Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1992)

The return of the original acid house innovators, who once claimed that they would survive. And they did, with a different sound, but a similarly commanding message by the late original member Spanky. This blurred the lines between house and techno considerably, and paved the way for the dub techno blueprints emerging from Berlin a year later. See also Phuture’s „Inside Out“ for the same crew, and yet another game changer.

Yo Yo Honey – Groove On (Wild Pitch) (Jive, 1993)

Listen to the original club soul track to witness how radically DJ Pierre transformed his remix assignments. A class A exhibit in dancefloor hypnotism, and arguably one of the best wild pitch tracks to boot. Pure perfection.

The Believers – Who Dares To Believe In Me? (Original Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1993)

If there was proof needed for the self-confidence Roy Davis had gained during his years at Strictly Rhythm, here it was. Everything wild pitch was cherished for, plus swirling pianos, funky guitars and a mean sax. Still quite the statement.

Pleasure Dome – 8 Min. Of Trance (Power Music Trax, 1993)

Not one to hesitate on the latest trend, DJ Duke embraced wild pitch very early and developed an own signature within the genre. He also offered a second home besides Strictly Rhythm for many Chicago producers, resulting in many fine interpretations of the original sound. This production is rather subtle for his standards, but all the better for it. And he also tested acid sounds with it, and they worked.

Pet Shop Boys – I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (DJ Pierre Wild Pitch Dub) (Parlophone, 1993)

Two years in, and DJ Pierre was already on such a success level that he was asked to give Tennant/Lowe the wild pitch treatment. He surely did not compromise for the occasion, delivering surprisingly storming versions of the original tune. Win-win.

Danell Dixon – Dance, Dance (Nite Grooves, 1994)

When he was just 17 years old, another Chicago native left for the fertile environment Pierre established in New York City. Pierre evidently helped out on this, but there is indeed a youthful enthusiasm to this workout. It also shows how efficient a percussion loop can be.

Space 2000 – Release Me (Vocal Mix) (Wired Recordings, 1994)

So how does the wild pitch thing works if you apply it to a soaring Garage House vocal by UK soul singer Matthew David? It works ridiculously well.

Junior Vasquez – X (Tribal America, 1994)

Being in his prime as resident DJ of the legendary Sound Factory club in NYC, Junior Vasquez must have recognized the potential of wild pitch instantly, and wanted a piece of the action. He developed the sound further by adding ballroom drama for his voguing crowd and more thunderous drum tribalism. Vasquez also altered the upbuilding structure of the genre by introducing more ups and downs, but his interpretation of wild pitch was as gripping.

Ian Pooley – My Anthem (Roy’s Back 2 Tha Phuture Mix) (Force Inc. Music Works, 1995)

DJ Pierre’s protégé Roy Davis Jr. on remix duty, showing his mentor that he studied and understood how to build up a wild pitch sensation. Slightly more techno edged ten minutes just seem to fly by, and it is nearly a disappointing that this speeding train eventually comes to a halt.

The Wild Pitch Brothers – Mutherfucker Come Here (Wild Pitch Mix) (Emotive, 1995)

Written by King Maurice, indeed DJ Pierre’s younger brother, and mixed by the originator himself. A deeper excursion utilizing the wild pitch template, until twisted noises set in and turn it upside down. The bitchy vocal sample is lifted from Larry Heard’s „Premonition Of Lost Love“, to fine effect.

Electronic Beats 02/18

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