Archive for the ‘Club’ Category

Frankie Knuckles 1955 – 2014
April 1, 2014

I found out last night that Frankie Knuckles had died aged 59 and I cannot overstate how gutted I was. Frankie Knuckles wasnt just a DJ or Producer, he was one of a very small cadre of people responsible for creating the sound that has played in my head and heart for as long as I can remember. Sounds a bit spiritual I know but its hard to explain that music to me has always been about the kickdrum, the high hat and piano or soulful vocal hook. Sure my tastes have mellowed over the years but at the very beginning of my own personal musical journey, it was House music and specifically the Soulful House sound synonymous with ChiTown/NYC that I loved. Imagine me. locked onto as a young 8 year old lad, the John Peel radio show on a Sunday night, taping the imports that he played during the show. House music is probably the first thing I would say that defined me as my own person with my own taste. The first thing I found on my own.

Frankie Knuckles was responsible for the music at the Warehouse in Chicago, often credited with the origin of the name “House”, a shortened version of “The Warehouse” music that was in such demand in early 80’s Chicago record stores. The history of House Music is littered with DJ’s and producers held in high almost godlike reverence but almost all agree that Frankie was deserving of his title as the “Godfather of house”. A guy who took the records available to him after the death of commercial disco, rolled in a drum machine in the booth thanks to Derrick May and helped pioneer a sound that has dominated global music for over thirty years. Sure it was going to happen sooner or later but this soon, man I wanted to see Frankie just one more time…

So today the web has been rammed full of tributes to Knuckles, Twitter exploded last night with tributes, Facebook has been busting at the seams with friends all posting their favourite Frankie Knuckles cuts. He has a legacy that transcends his death for as long as there is a Kick Drum, a snare, a highhat played over a soulful vocal and an uplifting piano riff, therein lies some of Frankies DNA, a fingerprint that will outlive all of us left here reflecting upon his body of work.

Thank you for the music Frankie.

Sphinx feat Sabrina Johnston – What Hope Have I (Our Tribe Mix) [1995]
February 6, 2013

Get in! Is there anything better than hearing Sabrina Johnston opening her pipes and belting out a face tearing vocal for 6 minutes? The rest of the track is a pretty laid back house bouncer that as per usual gets trounced by Johnstons amazing voice. One of many a vocal house tune released in 1995 but often overlooked for the bigger crowd pleasers. Junior Vasquez gave this a more banging workout with his Junior Factory Dub/Mix but for me, as with most of Johnston’s tracks, its all filler. Let Sabrina do what she does best and give it a bass drum!

Michael Jackson – Rock With You (Frankie Knuckles Favourite Club Mix) [1995]
November 29, 2012

For the record, I pretty much adore Michael Jackon’s first 3 Albums, Off The Wall being my favourite by a long way with Bad and then Thriller. Dont care about the eccentricities, accusations or any of that shit, the music stands bigger than the man.

Now, I have no idea what Frankie Knuckles was smoking when he wrote the intro to this remix since it deviates so far from the original disco/funk classic it hard to believe its even related to the original. But this is the intro I think every artist wishes his tracks remix would have. Its a full force emotional buildup of biblical proportions with a piano riff so inspired it just steamrolls the listener into submission. Soon as the drop comes, your back in Frankie Knuckles familiar housey territory and its a pretty happy bouncer for the remaining 5 mins but you’ll find yourself constantly yearning for that intro.

On a side note, after MJ passed away, a guy with the online handle of Technics2000 did a kind of tribute mix featuring tracks from his entire back catalogue in their best remix format. Its an amazing mix that I strongly recommend you go grab and give the guy some love. Its been on constant repeat this week on my 14 hr days and im yet to get bored! There’s lots of links online, just run a search for “Technics2000 Michael Jackson”

Bertie Blackman – Town of sorrow (Mic Newman remix) [2009]
October 7, 2012

Town of sorrow? Well, its not that bad but my month long hiatus is predominantly due to deadlines and a general lack of access to new music. Having your work ‘net restricted can be a real pain in the ass!

Anyway, I grabbed this off a cracking mix by a DJ called Andrew Lord, who does a bunch of his own remixes. He’s got a cracking eye for really deep but groovy house music and this banger is no exception. Sure, it takes it time to get going but the vocal riff from the original Town Of Sorrow is slotted in at the perfect point. A solid 3 minute buildup to a vocal breakdown that just kicks the track up a notch when that beat comes back in.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. Keep your dance music simple folks, its always going to be better that way!

Daft Punk – Around The World (10 Hr Edit) [1997]
April 25, 2012

Well, since its been a week or so, its time for the big reveal. Back to the USA we go which is why its been a bit sparse around here of late. So in honour, we have the 10 hour version of Around The World from Daft Punk. 10 hours, roughly the same length of time you’ll spend on a plane flying from London to the West Coast of the USA.

On to the track, well its the seminal Daft Punk sound and production. I think most people got their start with Daft Punk after hearing this track, its definitely responsible for turning friends of mine to the house sound. Its not all that hard to see either, its catchy as HELL. Probably why the 10 hour version doesn’t sound wholly repetitive since it rearranges the composition enough to keep the track interesting.

So, as for the cans, we’ll be a bit quiet for the next few weeks while moving! See you on the flip side!

Whyte – Purple Haze [1990]
April 17, 2012

A truly excellent laid back ravey cover of Hendrix’s Purple Haze with lots of uplifting piano filling in for massive guitar riffs. The addition of the sultry female vocals are a great touch but overall, this is all about the strings, the piano and the vocal. Such a great example of 1990 dance music.

From Discogs
Although the obvious track to go would be side A, where you can hear the Hendrix track done with a down tempo piano rave style which rolls along nicely.
Have a flip over to the B side and listen to Love,Lust and Sex and you find somethig very different.

Again the down tempo beats with plenty of synths make a melodic piece but it doesn’t really make a connection with the track title. Not until the very graphic porno sound clips hit your ears, then it all makes sense, although when you first hear it, it makes you think that the T.V volume has been turned up and is clashing with your music.

This is a track that could potentially still make the creators money if they played it down the telephone to those who choose to pay for a bit of telecommunication titilation.

Love ,Lust & Sex was one of a few pieces of the era that used samples from the bedroom and put them on the dance floor, but it was never going to have the same success as French Kiss.

Global Deejays – Lonely [2006]
March 26, 2012

More Simple Minds I hear you cry? Absolutely sir! Another track featuring the Theme For Great Cities string riff. This time an offering from the huge, Global DJ’s. I have to say, I really do dig the vocal and its integration into the sample, it works perfectly!

Corporation Of One – The Real Life [1988]
March 26, 2012

I reckon you could credit Corporation of One with the instigation of sampling Themes for Great Cities since this went stratospheric in 1988. I mean, hell it samples everything else as well! You have Queen, some Al Pacino from Scarface as well as that instantly recognisable string section from Simple Minds. But its how they are used that makes this track such a belter. Its breaks are clean and crisp, the moogy bass makes another appearance some four years before Farley and Heller got their hands into it.

Corporation of One was the pseudonym of Freddy Bastone, one extremely prolific remixer from the Bronx who’s work ranged from remixing Queen (surprise surprise), Bananarama, Brandy, Judas Priest, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Radiohead, Rod Stewart, and Taxi Doll.

Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme (Main Mix) [2004]
February 29, 2012

Love it or loathe it you cant deny that Lola’s Theme is a master-stroke of house production. Its literally draws upon 20 years of experience to craft a track so damn slick it will be heard for years to come. It has enough disco-y house to please the bunnies, the bass line is chunky enough to satisfy even the most devoted Prog house fan. The four to the floor is crispy and interesting and the vocal is absolutely perfect for the tune, synthy guitar business keep the tech heads happy and wrapping it up is that cracking build up smack bang in the middle. Guaranteed to lay waste to any dancefloor it comes into contact with. What a release this is.

Its another one of those tracks that have been remixed to all hell, there’s a lot of great ones out there but for me its either the Main Mix (a dub version of the Extended Vocal) or the afforementioned “Extended Vocal Mix”. Both, original and absolute perfection.

From Discogs
The Main Mix is simply a dubbed version of the Extended Vocal Mix. The track simply starts with a progressing introduction, with an all round solid kick and bassline. Soon enough, we are greeted with a more uplifting synth, and the track starts to take a more funky turn with some quality strings, and a superb catchy house melody. As we approach the breakdown, the vocals are heard. The vocals are quite fitting to the vibe that the track gives out, and the cut vocals make this a mix much better than the full vocal mix in my opinion. The breakdown just builds and builds before exploding into a crescending array of synths, instruments and basslines. The melody so funky, and catchy, will no doubt make this one of ‘the’ summer tunes of the year for 2004!

Pamela Fernandez – Kickin’ In The Beat (Extended Mix) [1992]
February 27, 2012

I reckon its about time we paid our repects to the excellent Pamela Fernandez and the seminal classic that is “Kickin’ In The Beat”. Yeah, that accapella has been caned within an inch of its life, found predominantly listed as remixes of this tune but often just snippets of the whole. You’ll find a bunch of those tracks listed on here but the highlights for me have to be Sublime’s The Theme and the Club For Life track from Chris & James. Fernandez’ voice is tailor made for house music and the Todd Terry remix of this just brings it all together with a funky but chunky house arrangement and the vocals stomping all over the track like Godzilla. There’s a bunch of other decent remixes out there, some house heavy tracks, some more progressive. Lets see if we cant list some of the better ones eh?

Tommy Musto Remix – Glam House from 1994

Standard Issue Dancing Diva’s mayhem from 1994

Deeper Alex Party remix, also 1994!

The cracking Sub-Urban Kickin’ Mix from……. 1994!

The inexplicably popular AIM Dub mix, choppy raveyness/bouncy houseness in here… 1992

Finally and most importantly, the original accapella;