So what is it about House music that has inextricably drawn producers and clubbers toward it like a crazed pack of teenagers chasing down the latest pop sensation? We are well into the fourth decade since House music’s 80’s inception and even though almost 30 years have passed since Marshall Jefferson got his hands on his first Roland 808 and gave the world one of the earliest House records ‘Move Your Body‘, the hunger appears, among producers at least, unabated. On the whole the intervening years have been kind with various offshoots and committed supporters revitalising its ageing body of work with Rave, Electro and now Deep House & what we call Pop House dragging its creaking parts into the present day. Advancing production techniques and the increased general access to the tools of the trade has enabled House to remain relevant and contemporary. But despite this apparent zeal for House music its hard to not feel that its original magic has been lost, like an ageing athlete who is well past their prime recent performances have rarely been up to scratch. Does this spell the end of House Music?
The main problem with a great deal of modern House records is that essentially they have no understanding of their roots and therefore the foundational ingredients that made them so special. To continue the sporting analogy further you often hear of unrest amongst UK football fans if their manager is not embracing the philosophy of play that their team is historically known for, often times resulting in their dismissal regardless of results. Why is this, well historically English Football clubs were community based gatherings that bought the local population together, galvanising them under one collective banner. If this foundation is then disregarded the club may still survive and thrive commercially but the culture from which it was built ceases to exist, resulting in the surrounding community becoming fractured and the original intangible factor that draw them together lost. The loss of this collective community, or Scene as we like to call it in music, is often times what elevates records beyond their constituent parts. So where does Brooklyn based label ‘Lets Play House‘, the catalyst behind todays post, sit within this discussion?
Everyone knows that Chicago is credited for giving us House Music, hence the term ‘Chicago House’ and as the hype grew it wasnt long before two key New York clubs David Mancuso’s ‘Loft’ and Larry Levan’s ‘Paradise Garage’ further established the genre’s growing popularity. Fast forward to the present day and you find ‘Lets Play House’, a label originating from a borough of New York state that has its own rich history of musical exploration and creativity, Brooklyn. With this immediate cultural heritage combined with the States wider legacy you have to assume that the label and those contributing to its output fully understand and embrace House music’s rich and vibrant history. Having said that we have not yet had the privilege of DJing in New York or Brooklyn and therefore we can only really base are assumptions on what we know about House music, and the fact that their latest release ‘Felix Dickinson & Jaime Read – Mistaken Identity’ has all the hallmarks of a record steeped in cultural nods.
Much of the House music we hear today lacks the energy and soul of its forebears, and whilst often times we dont notice this deficiency in the music it does on occasion become exposed for what it really is when something like the ‘Felix Dickinson & Jaime Read’ EP comes along and fills in the missing pieces. House music has most definitely become diluted on a global scale, but look hard enough and you’ll still find those records that can invoke the buzz of its former years.
Felix Dickinson & Jaime Read – Mistake Identity (Lets Play House) Out Now