Since the “EDM” beast started to roam, much like the all-consuming blob in that ‘50s B-movie, house music has undergone reconstruction — a re-branding process — in effect cleansing the essence of its original roots.
The new generation of US club kids — or should we say ’festival-goers’? — more likely to think Skrillex invented dubstep and that house music came from Sweden, appears not to have the foggiest, or care one iota, that without Mancuso’s Loft or Levan’s Paradise Garage in NY, Chicago house wouldn’t have happened, nor would (god forbid) the likes of Avicii or Angello.
One modern day representative of this connection between disco and house is Andy Butler, the fingers pulling the strings behind Hercules & Love Affair. NY-born, he helped spearhead the nu-disco resurgence of the latter ‘00s, as well as the rediscovery of ‘90s house music in recent years, bringing the sounds up-to-date and giving it to the hip, culturally savvy generation coming through.
Throwing together hip-house, ballroom beats and disco re-edits — old and new, with some H&LA exclusives thrown in — his recent ‘DJ Kicks’ mix, put together live using two turntables and two CDJs, is the perfect education; the what, where and how we got here presented though his eyes. But how much is the mix a reassertion of house music’s gay roots?
“More than 'gay', I think colourful is more appropriate,” he points out. “Lots of disco samples, heavy deep vibes, vocals. That is the golden era of house to me.
“I wanted 'bangers', meaning a lot of energy, but depth as well,” he continues. “I wanted a bit of regional diversity as well, so Chicago, Amsterdam, New York, England. I also wanted a roughness to the sounds, that a lot of highly progressive DJs (in terms of technology) these days don't offer.”
Nodding to the ongoing vinyl resurgence as key to house music's welfare — “often harder to find on a torrent, it's in basement stores, used record stores, Ebay, Discogs [that you find rare classic house],” he says — he's given us a selection of the records you'll catch him play...
In Flagranti 'Jump' (CDR)
“Brilliant use of a Van Halen sample, with gritty irreverent bassline and beats pummelling. They are definitely some of the most innovative samplers. Crowd goes crazy. I always do a high kick!”
Klubb Kidz 'Don't Wanna Hurt You Up' (DJ exclusive)
“Tempo deep house with a looped vocal sample saying ‘Don't Wanna Hurt U’, ending with a massive male vocal.”
Vicky D 'This Beat Is Mine' (Soul Clap Remix)’ Nurvous
“A bit of secretary disco with some harder beats, a great vocal attitude. I say yes.”
John Grant 'Deep Inside' (CDR)
“John sounds like a deadpan Phil Collins here, but with a bit more passion? His range impressed me.”
Sunday School 'House Is A Feeling' (Original Hardtraxx mix)’ Hardtrax Records
“This record came out in 1984, using Ectasy Passion & Pain with one of the most classic sampled house vocals by Barbara Royl. What a track.”
Chez Damier & Stacey Pullen ‘Forever Monna’ Balance
“The ubiquitous synth line is a classic. And for such a melodic and deep record, it has a really bangin’ quality.”
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