Deep House: Old School v New School
PART ONE: EARLY DEEP HOUSE AND THE EVOLUTION OF SOUL MUSIC
As someone who tends to resent genre classifications as being creative cages too many artists lock themselves into, the designation of deep house eventually started to feel like tightening handcuffs on an innocent man’s wrist. A sound that could have been considered a faction of soul music set to fill the void between 1980s boogie and 1990s new jack swing eventually smoothed out its rough edges and embraced a debilitating willingness to follow formula. Added to that was a new sentiment behind much of the music that seemed more at home on the beaches of Ibiza than in the clubs and warehouses of Chicago and New York where it all began.
Far from the perfectly syncopated and lushly produced up-tempo lounge music that eventually redefined the art form, early deep house was unformulatic, roughly produced, and emotionally raw. If Kraftwerk are regarded as the godfathers of Berlin’s contemporary electronic sound, Prince remains at least as influential in these early days of house, acting as the ghost in the machine of a genre mired in minimalist funk and a sleazy sexuality. The end result is the original retort to people who think of dance music as little more than a syncopated kick drum.
Ron Trent – Sub Universe “1984”
Lil Louis – Aahhh!
Jamie Principle – I Want Your Love (Rare Version)
Frankie Knuckles – Baby Wants to Ride
Mr. Fingers – You’re Someone Special
Armando – Don’t Take it (MI Edit)
Jeanette “J.T.” Thomas – Shake Your Body (House Shaker Version)
Ace & the Sandman – Let Your Body Talk
Keynotes – Let’s Let’s Dance
Michael Watford – Holdin’ On
Masters at Work – I Can’t Get No Sleep
Cajmere – Dream States
Cajmere – Only 4 U (Mark Grant’s Paramount Mix)
Janice Christie – Taking Me For Granted
Quest – Mind Games
2 Houss People – Move My Body
Larry Heard – Riverside Drive
E.S.P. – It’s You
Dream 2 Science – My Love Turns to Liquid
Chez n Trent – Morning Factory
Frankie Knuckles – The Whistle Song
PART TWO: JUST IN CASE YOU THOUGHT THAT I ONLY LOVE THE OLD SCHOOL
The fact that deep house saw a resurgence this decade shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who’s even casually aware of the ebb and flow of musical aesthetics. A new generation of club kids had cut their teeth during the mid-oughts, when the trend in music was chunky and brash, a sort of deliberate tastelessness that unfortunately paired with the fashion. From the emergence of dubstep to the maximalist production style favoured by acts like Justice, the sound was truly of the moment, and it proved to have a shelf life comparable with uncooked chicken.
There might be an extent to which the immediacy of the previous decade would give way to a desire for something longer-lasting, and even instil an awareness that deep and minimal music of any genre almost always ages better than songs that are busy and loud, which is why the annals of music history will save a place for acts like Burial, but will all but forget whatever Friday night dubstep favourites tore up soundsystems in South London clubs.
This selection represents a return to form for a genre that started as a viable strain of soul music, but eventually became coopted as a soulless form of lounge music. Closer in spirit to the best works of Frankie Knuckles and Derrick Carter, contemporary deep house puts a premium on song writing and features vocal performances that could comfortably hang in Detroit in the sixties. Just in case you thought that I only love the old school.
Omar Santis – That’s My Word
Bakradze – Twice
Bobby B – History
Generation Next feat. Don Q – Mo’ Money
Scott Ferguson – Free All Political Prisoners
U – I
Aqualung feat. Joel Compass – Tape2Tape (HNNY Remix)
Kill Frenzy feat. Astrid – XXX
Andras & Oscar – Looking Back
Life on Planets – Fork in the Path
Art of Tones – So Worried
Soul Clap feat. Robert Owens – Misty (Deep Mix)
Burnt Friedman/ Daniel Dodd-Ellis – Skies Okay Blue (Extended Version)
Portable feat. Lcio – Surrender
Onyricon – Sweet Dream (Andras Fox Remix)
Jeremih – All the Time (B.Cause Remix)
Mr. Beatnick – Ice Cream Strut
Homework – Kenny’s Strut
Moodymann – Iguessuneverbeenlonely
Frank Ocean – Memrise