A guide to big room house anthems

Posted: September 24th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , | No Comments »

There was this moment in the 90s when the sound of house music changed, with lasting consequences. I would say it began in 1993. Of course technical progress in terms of production techniques and equipment played a role, but it was also very important that the music itself became more popular, and attracted bigger crowds, which led to bigger clubs, and a house sound that pumped crowds and clubs of that size sufficiently. In the following years the superclubs emerged with corresponding budgets, and they needed DJs that played accessible enough to please and unite as many people as possible. This created a divide between denonimators, as simultaneously a lot of DJs and producers defined quality in a different way, and played different styles, to smaller crowds, in smaller clubs. There were DJs and artists that lived in both worlds, or crossed over, and both worlds had different levels of credibility, and success. But increasingly the circuits frowned upon each other, and disrespect was mutual. The big room house music examined here was produced at a time when it had a really bad reputation, being accused of being commercial, devoid of original ideas, or milking once original ideas for far too long. Indeed the sound templates for the music in this playlist had been established years before, and it seemed as if they were only developed further if really necessary. Some of the big room artists were once renowned for different music, and many were quick to maintain that at some point they were selling out and adapting to lesser creative requirements to do so. And some smaller room artists were maybe just envious and could not produce a tune that sold as well, and just claimed they did no want to. And of course for a lot of people it does not matter what size the room has, they just go for music based on their individual preferences, and find that in different contexts. But meanwhile in the early 00s, big room house had its apex of booming beats, dramatic breakdowns and disco samples, and here are some prime examples of the sound.

Victor Simonelli – Ease Into The Dance (Stellar, 2000)

Victor Simonelli has many great moments in his back catalogue, and in my opinion this on par with his most cherished productions. For me the combination of the bodiless vocal sample and the pumping yet and elegant deep groove is as immersive as Love Inc.’s “Life’s A Gas”. I’m serious.

Lenny Fontana & DJ Shorty – Chocolate Sensation (Original Force Mix) (FFRR, 2000)

Johnny Hammond’s early disco staple “Los Conquistadores Chocolates” was sampled countless times, but not as sweeping as on this belter. Extra props for the extended filter break which then erupts into Loleatta Holloway on the top of her lungs. This track pushes all the right buttons, and works although you can predict any move, only that every move sounds even more striking than the one before. If you have never been on a dancefloor exploding to this, you really missed out.

Groove Assassins – Everything I Knew (Black Vinyl, 2000)

If some of the orchestral disco maestros would have still been active in the 90s their music could have sounded like this. Even if this is just a reconstructed original from their heyday, with a heavily beefed up groove. Nick Moss and Will Hague understood the craft of their forebearers on this track, and they made it their own.

Rhythm Section Feat. Donald O – Do You Know (Main Mix) (MAW Records, 2000)

Every disco DJ should bring at least one Chic Organization production to their party, and every disco loving house producer should sample at least one as well. Henry Maldonado went for “My Forbidden Lover” and then he turned it into a glorious garage opus, co-written and performed by the great Donald O. This should have been much bigger than it actually was, but it is never too late.

David Bendeth – Feel The Real (Jazz-N-Groove Ultra Classic Mix) (Audio Deluxe, 2000)

“Feel The Real”was indeed an ultra classic, albeit on the jazz funk/disco circuit of the 80s. By the time this was released Jazz-N-Groove had perfected their slick but heavy groove template so impressively that they basically could have applied it to any tune they were given and come up trumps. Judging by their vast output, some say they did just that.

LoveRush – Luv 2 See Ya (Joey Negro’s Vocal Mix) (Azuli, 2000)

Joey Negro always knew how euphoria works, and here he aimed straight to the highest level of it. There is some sweet innocence about the tune, but the pumping groove underneath and several breakdown dramas tell you to work it. Hard.

Copyright Presents One Track Mind – Where Would You Be? (Main Mix) (Soulfuric Trax, 2000)

The way D-Train’s “Music” is filtered up and down here is very reminiscent of the finer moments of the French House phenomenon, but the groove somehow is not. It is just too pushy and impatient, and the vocal samples get a more generous treatment, verging on harmony. All good decisions.

Johnny D & Nicky P – Wild Kingdom (4th Floor Records, 2001)

Of course big room productions could work well with deeper sounds, and Johnny D and Nicky P aka Johnick knew how to achieve severe dancefloor hypnotism anyway. As always when they are in charge, the music has this strangely psychedelic notion, and „Wild Kingdom“ is another of their real gems to get lost in.

Sunshine Anderson – Heard It All Before (E-Smoove House Filter Mix) (Atlantic, 2001)

E-Smoove was mostly not as smoove in the 00s as he had been before (but who in this field actually was), but if you remix a sleek R&B hit, you cannot fire on all cylinders. Still this has the right amount of infectious funk and it does not divert any attention from the song. If you think of the proximity to garage vocal harmonies there were, rather surprisingly, not that many great remixes that managed to aptly transfer R&B to a house context, but this one gave a lot of the right clues.

Kraze – The Party 2001 (Love City Club Remix 2) (Groovilicious, 2001)

It reads so unimaginative, taking Todd Terry’s “Can You Party” and the acapella from Kraze’s “The Party”, two early house productions that were completely overused at that point, and turn them into a fierce banger that pretends New York City’s big room haven Sound Factory never closed. And actually the way the track works all that is really not that inventive. But as it steamrolls you on that floor, you will not care one bit.

UBP Feat. Bobby Pruitt – We Are One (Jazz-N-Groove Hands Up Vocal) (Soulfuric Recordings, 2001)

I love how this mean little melody never lets up, totally regardless of the fact that there is a funky booming bassline, a quite shouty soul singer, a female choir, and several breakdowns, the whole big room house gospel spectrum. This is a big show, but one detail steals it. Genius.

DJ Oji – We Lift Our Hands In The Sanctuary (Anniversary Vocal) (Sancsoul Records, 2001)

The original was one of the churchiest of the churchy house anthems, a whole nocturnal service for those who need the club as a shelter and a place for relief and rejoicing. 95 North remix it into a way more urgent groove, but do not sacrifice any of the worship and righteous spirit. Hands were lifted and love was alive, again.

Jon Cutler Feat. E-Man – It‘s Yours (Kaze Retro Mix) (Chez Music, 2002)

The original was a jazzy funked up groover that was hugely popular, but Frankie Feliciano boldly opted for a complete rework, keeping the keen message intact but underlying it with unsettling and swirling sounds and beats that reference Pépé Bradock‘s „Deep Burnt“ and a lot of earlyTodd Terry productions.

Los Jugaderos – What You Doing To This Girl? (Norman Jay’s Good Times Re-Edit) (Junior Boy’s Own, 2003)

In 1996 Ashley Beedle and Phil Asher turned a marvellous 1979 disco gem by Dazzle into a blinding and tripping house excursion. Seven years later the original rare groove don Norman Jay gave it a remix, and when I read about that then I was expecting it to sound truer to the Dazzle original and Jay’s own legacy. But to my surprise his version was way punchier, and to my joy he highlighted all the best bits even more. Pure disco house bliss.

Hardsoul Feat. Ron Carroll – Back Together (Classic Main Mix) (Soulfuric Recordings, 2003)

Nothing better than to conclude a fine time at the big room house club with a big room soulful vocal house hymn. Even better when that tune is ever so slightly less big roomy than what happened before, but still easily keeps up the intensity and punch, just because it is a wonderful piece of music that knows and serves its context. From here you may start all over again or leave it behind, but both happily.

Electronic Beats 08/19


A 10 Track Guide To The Funky World Of Old-School Disco Re-Edit Services

Posted: June 28th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The DJs of the disco era not only struggled with belt-driven turntables, they also had to cope with live drumming and music arrangements that distracted their crowds. So some of them took scissors and tape and did their own edits. And some were so good at it that they earned a reputation and a studio career with it, and their edits or remixes became as popular as the music they were using, or even more. The first remix service label to gather and publish these efforts was Disconet, as early as 1977. Early remix service releases often contained medleys or little sets mixed by club DJs (foreshadowing the megamixes of the years to come), but more and more the remixes and edits became the centre of attention. In just a few years very many different remix service labels came into being, with different in-house remixers and musical agendas. The appeal of the idea began to fade when labels included their own assigned official remixes on their releases, and an increase in copyright issues in the 90s meant that most remix services went out of business. But even if the legal situation in the preceding years was quite unclear, the creative potential was not. From local to widely acclaimed DJs and from established to emerging studio talents a lot of people had their go at popular or obscure music and came up with lasting results, and they paved the way for the more modern and still thriving edit scene.

Abba – Lay All Your Love On Me (Peter Slaghuis Remix) (Buy This Record, 1981)

This is actually a remix of a Raul Rodriguez remix originally released on Disconet. Peter Slaghuis extended the weird start-stop-breaks to highly irritating three minutes before the song kicks in at last, like a hymn from the heavens descending onto a crash derby. The breaks continue to disrupt the song throughout the whole record, the loops are edited quite heavy-handedly, and the sound quality is really atrocious. Still this is a remarkable example of how radical an edit can be, and it was even more radical when it came out. And it still works a treat on the floor.

Edwin Hawkins Singers – Tomorrow (Steve Algozino Remix) (Hot Tracks, 1982)

Steve Algozino added synth and edited a four minute album track into a seven minute disco plea for a better tomorrow. For those who like to compare a good night out to a religious experience, including telling it from all mountain tops.

Viola Wills – Stormy Weather (John Sollas & Scotty Blackwell Remix) (Disconet, 1982)

Eleven minutes of drama and a whole lot of thunderous sound effects, of which the original version inexplicably had none. It is totally overdone, but it is also quite impressive too. And you might actually be soaking wet if you dance the whole thing through.

B.B. & Band – All Night Long (Will Crocker & Jack Cardinal Remix) (Disconet, 1982)

An excellent version of this heavily funked up italo disco sequencer boogie classic. The changes are mainly in length and structure, but they sure sound as if they were needed.

Stephanie Mills – Pilot Error (Hot Tracks, 1983)

The original version on the Casablanca label has a really superior pressing quality, but the wild flanger action on this more than makes up for that. It shoots a slightly eerie, but still earthbound boogie gem into outer space. Flight time also extended.

Lipps Inc. – Funkytown (Bob Viteritti Edit) (Hot Tracks, 1984)

An anthem at San Francisco‘s Trocadero Transfer club, edited by its very own resident DJ Bob Viteritti. The spacetastic additional synths are played by none other than the legendary Patrick Cowley, a regular at the club, and they open up a whole other universe.

Jimmy Ruffin – Hold On To My Love (Robbie Leslie Remix) (Disconet, 1984)

A sweet little Robin Gibb co-written soul mover, until New York City‘s Saint resident DJ Robbie Leslie decided to turn it into an anthem of epic proportions, particularly by riding the enormous refrain for five extra minutes. This was actually the last record the crowd ever danced to at the Saint‘s closing weekend, which really says a lot.

Mari Wilson – Let‘s Make This Last (Razormaid, 1984)

This track was an unusual release for the Compact Organization label‘s 60‘s beehive pop revivalist diva. But that the Razormaid remix team completely restructured and improved the original version was very usual for their standards, resulting in an even smarter take on Hi-NRG.

Roxy Music – Angel Eyes (Joseph Watt Remix) (Razormaid, 1984)

Needs more suspense in the first bit and inbetween, thought Razormaid, but they also added sophistication to the whole song. And bringing one of the best dressed style icons to the club surely was no mistake either.

Machine – There But For The Grace Of God (Glenn Cattanach Edit) (Hot Tracks, 1987)

This just neglects the piano intro, you may think, and instead uses a looped groove to ease into the song. It also extends the break, and adds an outro loop at the end. Well, this is not the only blueprint for the more recent editing of disco tracks for DJ convenience purposes, but it shows how you achieve better mixability while leaving all the greatness of the source material untouched. Even consider it a reminder.

Hard Corps – Lucky Charm (Razormaid, 1987)

A lot of Razormaid releases are easier to mix than the original versions, wrecking a lot of intros in the process. Then again Razormaid were always quite ambitious in terms of restructuring, and also quite subtle in adding their own trademark sound design without taking away anything that should not be taken away. And Razormaid have a cult following for a reason.

Big Ben Tribe – Heroes (Steve Bourasa Edit) (Rhythm Stick, 1990)

I always felt the dreamy italo disco take on the David Bowie classic was near perfect, but it should last longer, without risking this perfection. Thankfully I found this edit by Steve Bourasa, who apparently thought exactly the same, and he had the skills.

Dead Or Alive – Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness („Silver Bullet“ Mix by Peter Fenton) (Art Of Mix, 1991)

Dead Or Alive were actually really big in Japan. So big even that they released some of their music only in Japan, and some of their finest music too. Buying the original 12“ of this wonderful piano house romp will not come cheap, but do not worry, as there is this (still) affordable and fantastic version hidden on a 12“ on the Art Of Mix remix service, because they are not called remix services for nothing. The mix merges Dead Or Alive‘s „Son Of A Gun“ from 1986 with their Japanese market stormer, as if they were twins separated at birth.

P.M. Dawn – Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (Bradley Hinkle & Tim Robertson) (Ultimix, 1991)

P.M. Dawn did not win many hearts in the hip hop scene when they sampled a very popular blue-eyed soul ballad, and used the same seriously dope beat Eric B & Rakim on their seminal „Paid In Full“. Rakim and Prince Be are really hard to compare, I admit. This remix even only slightly alters the original. Well until there is a break and then the second half is Spandau Ballet‘s song in its entirety riding the very same seriously dope beat. Which is one of the greatest things ever.

Culture Club – Time (Clock Of The Heart) (Chris Cox Remix) (Hot Tracks, 1994)

I realized I am now old enough to accept that I will probably never find the vinyl with this remix for a price I can live with. So I might as well show it to anybody else. Culture Club‘s arguably finest moment, and in my humble opion one of the 80s finest pop moments as well, in a superlative remix that manages to double both length and listening pleasure. I would not change a second of it.

Electronic Beats 06/19


A guide to queer house music

Posted: January 11th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: | No Comments »

You better acknowledge the fact that house music emerged from gay sub- and club culture. And it is a continuation of disco music, for which the same applies. These are the undeniable roots of what still keeps so many people busy on the floor, and the roots of a whole industry. Yet there are less explicitly homosexual producers and performers that have the same attention and careers as the heterosexual stars of the scene, and there are less records that display explicitly gay content in the canon of club music than heterosexual ones. This guide is a chronological celebration of releases that wear their sexual orientation with pride, from the early days of house music to ballroom culture, drag queens and vogue dancers, from encoded niches to the mainstream. RuPaul‘s first record was released in 1985, a long way before the Drag Race. And a whole lot of names have vanished from sight over the years. And even if the struggle continues, they all paved the way for more acceptance.

The Children – Freedom (Factory Mix) (D.J. International Records, 1987)

A jacking anthem for the Warehouse and Music Box crowds in Chicago, produced by Adonis and The Children. But also very decidedly produced for the children, the dancers on the floor that did not fit in with the majority around them. „I have nothing to prove. I‘m this way because I wanna be. Can‘t you accept me for what I am?“

Steve „Silk“ Hurley – Cold World (Mommy Can Your Hear Me Mix) (Atlantic, 1989)

Jamie Principle riding a bumpy groove, taking a stand against ignorance within family and society. The lyrics have echoes of the Pet Shop Boys‘ „It‘s A Sin“ and Bronski Beat‘s „Smalltown Boy“, but they have no time for pomp and detailed narrative. The kid is not leaving, as the Beatles once sang, it is thrown right out. „The children say: I will not change!“

Danny Xtravaganza – Love The Life You Love (Le Palage Mix) (Nu Groove Records, 1990)

In 1990 the success of Jennie Livingston‘s documentary „Paris Is Burning“ brought the secluded ballroom culture into the limelight, and gave Madonna a hit single (and some spectacular tour dancers). The codes, terminology and vogueing dance moves were expected to fade away again once the usual mainstream attention faded, but they came to stay. Among the houses portrayed in the film was the House of Xtravaganza, whose forming member, the late Danny Xtravaganza managed to introduce both a life-affirming message and a glimpse of success against a merciless ballroom jurisdiction, all over a breezy house groove. „Judges, your scores. Ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten across the board!“

Jackie 60 Presents Jackie MC‘s – The Jackie Hustle (Johnny D’s Duelling MC Mix) (Minimal Records, 1992)

The theme tune of the seminal New York City club Jackie 60, featuring co-founder Johnny Dynell and Arthur Baker as producers, and Danny Tenaglia mixing it up. The track is a sweet mellow house groove with a cheeky reference to Van McCoy‘s „The Hustle“, and Paul Alexander and Richard Move most charmingly act as MCs in the most conférencier sense, greeting the Jackie legends and Jackie hustlers as if they would pass them by in the room, and giving them a bit of attitude, too. „We got a lot of superstars in the house tonight. Hello. I wanna welcome all the Jackie virgins, all the Jackie wannabees.“

Ralphi Rosario – Bardot Fever (D.J. World, 1992)

Ralphi Rosario provides a swinging piano house track for a showcase of Chicago‘s club legend Byrd Bardot. Actually the way she constantly pronounces her name throughout the track was perfect to throw a pose to. „Do you feel it? Fever? Lots of fever? I bet you do. “

Moi Renee – Miss Honey (Project X Records, 1992)

A kicking house track that gives more than a slight nod towards Masters At Work‘s „Ha Dance“ from 1991, the probably most interpreted sound template of ballroom house music. But here we also have the late, legendary Moi Renee, telling that unfaithful bitch some news in her very own style. Her almost mantra-like rant inspired a lot of subsequent vocalists to follow her steps, although they mostly went way more into detail. „Where‘s the bitch, she‘s got some nerve. Here I am, and feeling fierce!“

Frank Ski – Tony’s Bitch Track (Original Dirty Version) (Deco Records, 1992)

Baltimore Club was not exactly known for queer artists, and so the repect and praise the late Miss Tony commanded in that scene was already saying a whole lot. A frequent featuring MC and vocalist on according local records and club nights, Anthony Boston also proved to be aware of the real struggle with brilliant releases like „Release Yourself (Tired Of Being Under Pressure) and „Living In The Alley“, but „Tony‘s Bitch Track“ really shows what this legend is all about. The music merges Todd Terry and Eddy De Clercq‘s act House Of Venus as a perfect canvas for Miss Tony‘s inimitable reading. „I‘m a man, I‘m a man, I‘m a man, I‘m a man. But you know what y‘all? Sometimes I feel just like a woman. And if you don‘t believe me, ask your father.“

I.M.T. – I.M.T. Theme (Free Yourself) (Miss Girl Hopes 2 Become Mix) (Miss Girl Records, 1993)

I.M.T. only released two singles, but both were very remarkable. Their music was an eerie and idiosyncratic take on house and techno, their message was an encouragement of transgender determinedness, referencing quotes from „Paris Is Burning“. „It‘s your turn. And it‘s your time. To free yourself to become yourself.“

The Ride Committee Feat. Roxy – Get Huh! (E-Legal, 1993)

Roxy punished the competition in a lot of seminal ballroom house records, but this wild Louie Balo production is still among her fiercest. Don‘t mess! „She‘s got really dreadful skin. She‘s got Ethel Merman‘s chins. I hate huh! Get huh!“

Candy J – Shoulda Known Better (M.D. Rubba Dub Mix) (Vinyl Solution, 1994)

Candy Jackson aka Sweet Pussy Pauline aka Hateful Head Helen was a true icon of the Chicago house scene, releasing very self-confident and often very explicit tracks since 1986. But this striking Mike Dunn production shows another side of her, telling a very moving and very bitter story of abuse and wrong love to the girlfriend (and us). „Now I‘m in the hospital. I got a black eye, a sprained arm and one broken leg. I can‘t see him the way I used to, I can‘t hold him the way I want to, and I got thoughts that I want to hop back to him when I get out. Am I crazy? Am I still delirious?“

Junior Vasquez – X (Sound Factory Mix) (Tribal America, 1994)The Sound Factory was the big room playground of the 90s ballroom scene, and its resident DJ Junior Vasquez was its undisputed and imperious ruler. This pounding track is an example of how he merged DJ Pierre‘s wild pitch sound template with the club‘s floor theatrics and drama, and it is also a tribute and a theme tune to the House of Xtravaganza, and its late house mother Angie.

Rageous Projecting Franklin Fuentes – Tyler Moore Mary (Banji Bite Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1995)

Jerel Black working a butch, Todd Terry referencing house track, featuring the notorious Franklin Fuentes relentlessly reading a queen who is probably having a go in the realness category. „I‘m the New York Times, baby. And you‘re Street News. You get the picture?“

Tronco Traxx – Runway (Grease Monkey Drag Queen Mix) (Henry Street Music, 1996)

„Can You Party“ by Todd Terry in his Royal House guise served as reference in many ballroom house tracks (and also yet again there are samples of other staples like Eddy de Clercq‘s aka House of Venus‘ „Dish And Tell“ and MAW‘s „The Ha Dance“), but it arguably seldom hit as hard as in this Robbie Tronco production. One for the true devils on the floor. „Butch Queen vogueing femme. Butch queen voguing like femme queen. Bring it to the runway.“

The Ones – Flawless (Phunk Investigation Vocal Mix) (Groovilicious, 2000)

The Ones was a triumvirate of the scene veterans Paul Alexander, Nashom Wooden and Jo-Jo Americo, whose „Flawless“ was released in 1999 to little attention. Since the early 90s successes of the game changer RuPaul or the camptastic Army of Lovers attempts to conquer the charts had more or less failed, but then Italian remix duo Phunk Investigation were allowed to have a go at the track, and transformed it into an irresistibly catchy big room house anthem that was frowned upon by musical purists, when actually it was indeed pretty much flawless. After all a glitzy fantasy of fame and beauty on the floor appeals to the majority, or so it became evident. „With amazing grace you walk and smile, they answer to your beck and call, you’re flawless. After all, overqualified for the position, your dreams see fruition. Mere class on a higher plane. Everyone wants to know your name .Just like perfection. Needs no correction. Like no other.“

Aaron-Carl – Hateful (Wallshaker Music, 2004)The late Aaron Carl surely was a unique phenomenon in the legacy of Detroit techno. Respected by fellow artists and fans locally and internationally, yet determinedly outspoken about every point he felt the need to make about himself and those that stood in his way, and also gifted enough to succeed with every artistic statement he wanted to make. However endearing he could be, he was neither ready to compromise, nor would he ever put up with everything, and „Hateful“ was a fine testament to that. „Tearing down the future, living like the past. If you can‘t tolerate my kind, you can kiss my fucking ass. I‘m feeling hateful, because you think I‘m weak. I give it all, and you take it away from me. I fight fire with fire when I‘m in this state, and if I can‘t find love, I guess I‘ll hate.“

Electronic Beats 01/2019


A guide to Flute House

Posted: November 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: | No Comments »

At the end of the 80s house music added deep. Seminal artists like Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson or Virgo Four abandoned the track-dominated sound palette and introduced musicianship to a genre that was then better known for dancefloor functionality. But it was from 1990 on that the vibe really spread and developed, particularly in New York City. I first heard the term flute house when Roger Sanchez released „Luv Dancin‘“ by Underground Solution. Some also called it ambient or mellow house. But the music was not made for home listening purposes, DJs would use it, too. As a gentle introduction, or as a moment of regeneration during peak time, or as the best possible way to ease the crowd out again into the early morning, so that not a single glorious moment of what just happened the hours before was tainted by something less. A lot of these tracks had enough kicks to have you working at any time, but they also seemed to be created for unique moments, closed eyes, embraces, disbelief evoked by sheer beauty. A lot of these tracks had tags like ambient or jazz in their titles and credits, but they did not really try to be either. The artists involved liked to display their musical abilities, and their skills to establish a mood and an atmosphere. They knew how to write a melody, they knew how to arrange their layers and instruments, they were determined to sound as good as their means would allow. By the time Frankie Knuckles‘ Whistle Song was released in 1991, the flutes, vibraphones, saxophones or similar instruments were already derided, but the sound had come to stay, until this day. This playlist gathers some classic moments that paved the way.

Logic – The Final Frontier (Acoustic Mix) (Strictly Rhythm, 1990)

Wayne Gardiner took Larry Heard’s gentle elegance (the bassline is lifted from Fingers Inc.’s deep house blueprint “Can You Feel It”) and added the archetypical swing of early 90s New York City house. His back catalogue is filled with lots of sublime grandeur, but this track is structured like a jazz band taking turns on their respective instruments, and steadily building up layer after layer of tension and drama in the process. The result is still peerless.

Freedom Authority – Expressions (Flute Groove) (XL Recordings, 1990)

That Bobby Konders quit producing house music for a career in dancehall and dub productions when he was capable of track like this, is still a an irreparable trauma for many. As with many of his tunes, this can completely zone you out. Eight minutes of considerably relentless flutiness, accompanied by a dubbed out bassline and some eerie strings. A psychedelic masterpiece.

The Vision – Shardé (Nu Groove, 1991)

Eddie Maduro was an accomplice of Wayne Gardiner (for example he co-wrote Logic‘s „The Warning“ and supplied its seminal vocal introduction), and this is one of his finest moments. It is named after his daughter, and I am very convinced that the world would be a better place if such a beautiful piece of music would be composed for every child.

The Nick Jones Experience – Wake Up People (Massive B, 1991)

New Jersey DJ and producer Nick Jones with a total gem on Bobby Konders‘ Massive B imprint, with some help by Satoshi Tomiie. Not your typical house groove, but this forever remained a special track for special moments anyway. But if chosen wisely, it can elevate those moments to something completely else, be it in the club or when you are on your own.

Beautiful People – I Got The Rhythm (Club Mix) (Cabaret, 1991)

I assume this collaboration of Joey Longo aka Pal Joey with Manabu Nagayama and Toshihiko Mori came into being when King Street Sounds label head Hisa Ishioka introduced American and Japanes producers to each other in the early 90s. This tracks bears the trademark Pal Joey mixture of hip hop ruffness and deep sounds, but it is way longer, more complex in structure, and it even adds a steady breakbeat to fine effect. Beautiful People indeed, and they sure got the rhythm. Read the rest of this entry »


A Guide To Sex Tags

Posted: August 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

When the brothers Stefan Mitterer (DJ Sotofett) and Peter Mitterer (DJ Fett Burger) decided to extend activities from their graffiti origins in their small hometown Moss in Norway to music, they founded the label Sex Tags for their own sounds and those of friends and artists they admired, either from their own country or met while travelling. Thus an ever growing and fiercely independent network came into being that by now is so complex and diverse that many find it difficult to decipher. But for the brothers it all makes perfect sense, and there is a coherence based on their own varied musical preferences, humour and attitude, and that of the likeminded collaborators they encountered along the way. There is also a vital dose of determination and conviction that ensures that the whole construct is as antithetic as it is cohesive, and as tight-knit as it is open-minded. We take a look on some choice tunes from the back catalogue of the parent label Sex Tags Mania and its leftfield offshoot Sex Tags Amfibia, plus the imprints the Mitterers run individually (Sotofett’s Wania, and Fett Burger’s Sex Tags UFO, Mongo Fett and Freakout Cult, the latter a joint venture with Jayda G). The other talents that populate the Sex Tags universe are too many to list, but we included some that pop up more frequently.

Bjørn Torske & Crystal Bois – As’besto (Percussion Mix) (Sex Tags Mania, 2006)

This joint venture of Norwegian old school don Bjørn Torske and the enigmatic Crystal Bois (or Siob Latsyrc, if you prefer) is a supreme example of how little a good house track needs to achieve magic. A deep and dubbed out chord, some improv percussion, and that is basically it. But it keeps moving floors since it first appeared twelve years ago, and will most likely continue to do so.

Acido – After Club Rectum (Crystal Bois’ 727 MANIA) (Sex Tags Mania, 2007)

An early appearance of the tag Acido (but confusingly not involving Acido label head Dynamo Dreesen himself) and Laton label head Franz Pomassl, who was to become  a regular fixture in the Sex Tags universe. Crystal Bois on remix duty, and they transform the source material into a hard jacking rhythm tool track that you can most probably mix into anything and gather all attention. Erlend Hammer provides brilliant liner notes, making a perfectly valid point that every local scene needs a Club Rectum.

Doc L Junior – Baracuda (Sex Tags Mania, 2009)

Kolbjørn Lyslo had already released fine and highly individual tracks on the prolific Music For Freaks UK imprint in the early 00s, but the sound of this track (originally scheduled for Torske’s Footnotes label, but then lost for very obscure reasons) was not to be expected. A latin and jazz tinged summer breeze of a tune that could so easily have ended sounding camp and corny, but sounded absolutely sublime instead. A reproachful echo of the days when uplifing was not yet an insult.

Busen Feat. Paleo – Stream Of Love (Wania, 2010)

The first appearance of Greek vocalist and musician Paleo, the closest the Sex Tag empire has come to an in-house diva. He delivers his trademark meandering voice to a dark hypnotizing jam produced by Busen, an alias of Daniel Pflumm, a prolific graphic designer who also released on Elektro Music Department, General Elektro and Atelier, and Stefan Mitterer. Also well worth noting for a typically tripped out session on the flip, provided by Dreesvn alias Dynamo Dreesen and SUED label head SVN, at their Neues Deutschland studio HQ.

Transilvanian Galaxi – Transilvanian Galaxi (Sex Tags Mania, 2010)

Another mainstay at Sex Tags and affiliated labels, Skatebård, who rides a psychedelic new wave take on new beat, before most even cared to remember what both were. Skatebård always manages to come across as both earnest and gleeful with every reference he works into his music, and is thus a perfect match. At Sex Tags, fun and seriousness go hand in hand. Read the rest of this entry »


When House Met Disco – A Guide

Posted: August 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: | No Comments »

As it was a continuation in the timeline of club music it is quite natural that via sampling the early years of house were already littered with references to what happened before: disco. Pioneering Chicago house records used vocal snippets of the classic repertoire of disco and replayed its basslines and arrangements. Just take Isaac Hayes’ „I Can’t Turn Around“ for example, which was not only used in Farley Jackmaster Funk’s „Love Can’t Turn Around“, but also numerous other house tracks at that time. And acapellas from the back catalogue of classic disco labels like Salsoul, Prelude or West End never stopped being used for giving a track that extra imperative on the floor. But as well as disco always remained an integral of house music’s matrix, particularly lesser productions means led to different approaches of utilizing it. From the mid 80s on, nearly no house producer could afford to set up an orchestra in a studio, also many were not trained to write and arrange music as many protagonists of the classic disco era were. Still, the desire to reference or recreate the disco legacy with a house groove was always there until today, and the ways with which disco and house connected were manfifold and innovative. We take a look at some prime examples.

Mitch Winthrop – Everybody’s Going Disco Crazy (Everybody’s Much Crazy Records, 1991)

I first heard this record at Hamburg’s Front club, where it was a total anthem. At the time most people were actually not disco crazy anymore, but this was a perfect reminder to never forget where it was all coming from.

Reese Project – Direct Me (Joey Negro Disco Blend Mix) (Network, 1991)

Dave Lee aka Joey Negro was one of the first house producers that were not content with only sampling disco elements, but who aimed for a production that came as close as possible to disco’s original production and arrangement values. His remix for Kevin Saunderson’s garage house project went all the way. Joey Negro had the knowledge and had paid close attention, and obviously his directive was to achieve anthemic euphoria, and as all was done with loving detail, straight to the syndrum pew pew pews, he proved himself to be a trustworthy ambassador of the disco heritage, and remained ever since.

Nature Boy – Tobago (Black Label, 1992)

Milo from Bristol’s legendary Wild Bunch soundsystem deconstructing disco source material down to dark and gritty netherworld. None of the glitz of the sample references survived the process, and the music seemed to rather kick you out into the back alley through the back door than sway you in through the velvet rope on the other side of the building. I found „Ruff Disco Volume One“ in a bargain bin in the early 90s and I think it still sounds totally visionary and unique.

Romanthony – In The Mix (Azuli Records, 1994)

A tribute to Tony Humphries and the whole New Jersey legacy by Romanthony, one of house music’s greatest producers ever. If there ever was a more convincing argument to never deny your roots and keep them alive in what you are doing, I would like to hear it.

Jump Cutz – House Luck (Luxury Service Records, 1995)

One of many highlights from the Jump Cutz series, produced by Rob Mello and Zaki Dee. This really shows that often a good disco house track is no rocket science. Deconstruct source material into several parts. Reconstruct said parts as you please. Watch them go.

The Morning Kids – Free Lovin’ (Housedream) (Balihu Records, 1996)

As a true disco lover and dancer, Daniel Wang knew that it is the early morning hours when the magic of a good night out really unfolds. A rather simplistic meditation based on just a few samples compared to his later vintage syntheziser led output, but it still works a treat if the DJ decides it is finally the right time to switch gear. When it was released, the balearic revival was just a few sunrises away.

Los Jugaderos – What You Doing To This Girl? (Jus’ Trax, 1996)

A rework of Dazzle’s „You Dazzle Me“ which is indeed dazzling. The well-proven disco evangelists Ashely Beedle and Phil Asher concentrate on building up the tension mesmerizingly and release the strings at exactly the right moment. A masterclass in structure.

Turntable Brothers – Get Ready (Music Plant, 1996)

There once was a seminal live recording archived on deephousepage.com that captured Ron Hardy whipping his floor into a frenzy with an extended reel-to-reel edit of Patti Labelle’s „Get Ready“. This Chicago label already carrries the legacy of two legendary windy city clubs in its name: the Muzic Box and the Warehouse (later Power Plant). So it should come as no suprise that most records on Music Plant are a straight homage, albeit with banging beats and the freewheelin’ demanour with the use of samples so typical for Chicago. „Get Ready“ skips the traditional verse part of the original and heads straight to the climactic chorus, then rides it far into ecstacy. Read the rest of this entry »


Anthems: Soju Bar, Berlin (2010-2013)

Posted: May 31st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , | No Comments »

In the early to mid-noughties, minimal techno and tech house were ruling most of Berlin’s dance floors, but there also was a vital scene dedicated to playing records that were not played at most other events in town. Seasoned disco and house DJ legends were invited, and often reactivated to display their experience and skills, and local and international DJs established a network dedicated to digging deep for the more obscure and leftfield sounds of club culture, and turning them into intense and vibing events with their finds of vintage house and disco, italo, post punk, afro, latin, balearic, yacht rock and even more specialized niches. The daring and knowledgeable eclecticism of this scene established an openness that inspired more current music productions and is still around in club and festival lineups, and even led to DJs like Hunee and Call Super becoming celebrated A-listers. From 2010 to 2013 the club Soju Bar was Berlin’s main spot for this context of night life. It was located in the backroom of the Korean street food bistro Angry Chicken, which belonged to the restaurant Kimchi Princess around the corner. The club’s sound system was way above average, and the room was decorated with loving attention to detail, an impressive replica of Korean bar culture that made the room appear puzzingly bigger than it actually was. Hyun Wanner, one of the Kimchi Princess owners who was on par with his DJs in terms of music enthusiasm, booked Soju Bar’s tasteful program until the club had to close and became a part the hotel that already took over most of the building. We asked him to revisit resident and regular guest DJs via music that he associated most with their nights.

Hunee: Shina Williams & His African Percussionists ‎– Agboju Logun (Earthworks, 1984)

This record turned into a huge Soju Bar hit. It was just the time when more and more DJs started to flavor their sets with African influences. I think it is a trademark element of Hunee’s sound these days. Another regular Soju Bar DJ called Nomad, now of Africaine 808, went completely down that road. I love this record. I bought it years before Soju Bar, because my favorite Discogs dealer recommended it to me and offered me free shipping if I buy it. I was very pleased when Hunee played it the first time. I think he still plays it today.

Lovefingers/Lexx: Carrie Cleveland – Love Will Set You Free (Cleve/Den, 1980)

My girlfriend at the time was obsessed with that song. She knew that it was on Lovefingers’ blog and made him play it at least three times. I remember Andrew playing it two times in a row early in the morning and dancing on the floor with his eyes closed. Lexx had to do the same a couple of weeks later. This was one of these classic early morning magic moments. Sometimes there was only 15 people left in the place, but they had the time of their lives!

Joel Martin (Quiet Village, Velvet Season & The Hearts of Gold): House Of House – Rushing To Paradise (Walkin These Streets) (Whatever We Want Records, 2009)

When Soju Bar started everything was really disco and balearic. Then most DJs started to pick up more and more housey vibes again. It was almost a bit like going through the history of dance music in one and a half years, and a few subsequent decades. This record contains all this history. I have funny memories of this track. For example, it was an incredible hot night and it was really empty, but the few people were dancing for hours and didn’t want to leave. Joel was the only DJ and already played 6 hours for the same 15 people. When he was playing this track a random very young girl with a record bag came up and wanted to take over. She promised us to play the same kind of music: HOUSE! We were like, OK! Well, she had her very own definition of house music I reckon! Two records later Joel and me were in a Taxi home. She went on for a few more hours, and I have never seen her again. By the way, it was first hour Soju Bar resident DJ Filippo Moscatello who introduced me to this record.

I will change. I promise.: Ideal – Schöne Frau Mit Geld (Losoul Remix) (Live At Robert Johnson, 2010)

This was definitely the residency with the best name. “I will change. I promise”. I was promising this to myself pretty much every Monday morning! This party was hosted by our friend Alex van der Maarten and was musically on a slightly different trip, but very successful and always busy. It had guest DJs like Nu and Lee Jones. This was one one of the signature tracks.

JR Seaton (Call Super): Bunny Mack – Let Me Love You (Rokel, 1979)

Call Super, or JR Seaton as he still called himself back then, played at Soju Bar many times. I think the first time he was invited by Headman who did a monthly Relish Night at Soju Bar. Call Super finished the night together with Objekt and they both blew my mind. They were playing very obscure electronic stuff and then broke it up with songs like this. 100 % early morning magic. Nobody cared which genre, which time or which part of the world the music was from. Everything melted into one amazing vibe.

Druffalo Hit Squad: Nicolette – Lotta Love (Warner Bros., 1978)

Huge Soju Bar anthem! The Druffalo Hit Squad’s residency “Love Fools” was the night where anything was possible. From pop to shock to classics and not classics! Sometimes very ironic, sometimes iconic! Sometimes hard to follow, and sometimes pure magic. At the end of their nights there was a lotta love in the air indeed. Read the rest of this entry »


Anthems: Ostgut, Berlin (1998-2003)

Posted: April 23rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Located near to its famous successor Berghain in a disused freight depot, Ostgut was open from 1998 until its lease ran out in 2003 and the location was demolished. It is telling that the name is still vital in the Berghain enterprise, and Ostgut already had a lot of key elements that are still thriving: marathon weekends with marathon DJ sets, with hard Techno played on the main floor and housier vibes on the already existing Panoramabar. And as Ostgut evolved from the male-only Snax parties, it carried the according focus on gay and fetish sex into a permanent, raw location. We asked Ostgut resident DJ André Galluzzi to guide us through the sound of the club that set the foundation for the clubbing experience Berlin became famous for in recent years.

Surgeon – Atol (Downwards, 1994)

We begin with a primetime highlight. This track guaranteed ecstasy on the floor and became a trademark for the club.

Ignacio – Virton (N.E.W.S., 1999)

It was not an unusual track, but definitely one of the naughty ones. Direct and mindblowing. I used to drop the track between 5 to 6 a.m.

Si Begg – Welcome To The Discotheque (Mosquito, 2000)

I loved to open my set with Si Begg after live acts. Because it has this incredible intro while the mood of the record was already defining for the night. This was brillant. Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


Anthems: Front, Hamburg (1982-1997)

Posted: January 5th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Down in a raw basement near Hamburg’s Berliner Tor station, Willi Prange and his partner Phillip Clarke opened the mostly gay oriented club Front in 1983. The majority of nights at Front were not played by guests, but by the main resident DJs Klaus Stockhausen and his successor Boris Dlugosch, who steered the club through the most cutting edge music the disco aftermath had to offer, until it eventually became one of the first clubs in Continental Europe to embrace house music and the styles that followed suit. The club’s intense nights were built on a wildly hedonistic and loyal crowd, a fierce quadrophonic sound system, a secluded DJ booth that seemed to antagonize the cult of personality of the years to come, and thus created a legacy that lasted well beyond the club’s closure in 1997. We asked Boris Dlugosch to guide us through the sound of the pivotal years of Front.

Shirley Lites – Heat You Up (West End, 1983)

This was one of my first lasting musical impressions at the club. Klaus Stockhausen played it nearly every Saturday then. It was more of an after hours record and it fitted perfectly.

Syncbeat – Music (Streetwave, 1984)

Klaus played this record when it came out, and when I started as a DJ in 1986 it had a small revival because I rediscovered it for myself. It was one of the most formative records for me. I did not know until then what this record was. I found it by chance in the club’s own record inventory. I loved this track very much and one day I could get a hold of it in a grab bag at Hamburg’s Tractor store for import records, where I was working at the time. Those bags were sealed and contained 10 records. I actually flicked through several other bags until I had two copies of it.

Connie – Funky Little Beat (Sunnyview, 1985)

This kind of Electro was the sound of Front from 1983 to 1984. I was not going to other clubs much, I was still too young and could not get in, but I heard this record on old tapes recorded live at the club (https://hearthis.at/front/). When I started going to Front from 1985 on this sound slowly faded away and was replaced by early house music.

Harlequin Four’s – Set it Off (Jus Born, 1985)

For me this was a quintessential Freestyle and Electro record. Klaus Stockhausen used to play it mostly as a break, often mixed with „Operattack“ by Grace Jones, or with space effects records. This and the Grace Jones album were milestones for my musical socialisation and they always worked on the floor.

Adonis – No Way Back (Trax, 1986)

This record and Farley Jackmaster Funk’s „Love Can’t Turn Around“ came out in 1986, shortly before I started playing at the club myself. At Front club changes in pace and style were elementary and the according setting was sometimes prepared over the course of hours, and sometimes just introduced by a quick break. House music brought along a different structure, and there was a steady beat for hours. At that time this was the defining new feature of the genre. Music was mixed seamlessly throughout the night at Front in all the years before, but with house music the rhythm became more homogeneous. Read the rest of this entry »