What Is House Music?

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.. ave 2 records of everything, everything was phased, then they would do backspining and things on every song Pefect mixing, no mistakes, slamming shit, man' - Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonThe WBMX station within Chicago claimed that the show had up to 500,000 people listening to the show during its heights. Thats a sixth of the city's population. Students would deliberately miss school to tape the mixes. The city's then leading record specialist 'Imports Record Etc', would have a noticeboard explaining in full the mixes that were played on the show, to save their staff from answersing the hundreds of questions that normally came about from people had listened to the show the day before! Despite confusion of the original team, the names of replacements and the vendettas that surrounded the industry as a whole, these five remained strong - strong enough to leave a severe dent in the city of Chicago. They may not have parted 'best friends' - or have even passed as business associates - but they made Chicago, house music, and the world that surrounds that lifestyle what it is, as we know it todayAs Disco music began to wane in New York during the late 1970's to early 1980's, there now was a drought of new records available for Frankie Knuckles especially to play within Chicago. In New York, this problem was solved by the invention of HipHop and Electro music for many of the Djs there! But in Chicago, Disco music was still loved. Frankie Knuckles began looking at ways where he prolong the Disco vibe within the various nights where he played out to within Chicago.

By doing this it made him look backwards and analyse his older music within his music collection. As the 1980's, approached, Frankie experimented and began to play sounds that were more 'dubbed up' in style rather then the straight forward Soulful styles of Disco that he was reknown for. He started introducing sounds from group such as The Peech Boys and D-Train, within his sets. He also started buying and including obscure imports, especially from the country of Italy - where the music of Disco was refusing to die! Frankie also started on making re-edits of songs that were firm favourites with the crowds that were with him originally at the Warehouse. He was using techiques that he had seen New York Djs using years before to keep the party going at their venues. He started employing these ame new ideas and experiments in his sets in the Warehouse night club during the early 1980's. Even Frankie states, 'A lot of the stuff I was doing early on I didn't even bother playing in the Club, because I was busy trying to get my feet wet and just learn the craft

But by 1981, when they declared that Disco music was dead, all the record labels were getting rid of their dance departments, or their Disco departments, so there was no more uptempo dance records, everything was downtempo. Thats when I realised I had to start chaning certain things in orddr to keep feeding my dancefloor. Or else we would have had to end up closing the club' - Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonUsing a Reel to Real tape recorder, and assisted by his friend Erasmo Rivieria, who was studying Sound Engineering at the time. Frankie would take weird tunes like 'Walk the Night' by the Skat Brothers, or Jazzy Disco tunes like ' A little bit of Jazz' by the Nick Straker, and re-edit them, extending the intro's and breaks, adding new Beats and sounds to them, to make them work better for the dancer at the Warehouse. Frankie adds, 'Even stuff like I'm every Women and Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan, just things like that. completely re-edit them, to give my dance floor an extra boost. I'd rearrange them, extend them and rearrange them' - Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonHis Warehouse audience loved this.

This technique was new, and hadn't been tried before in Chicago, as it already had been in New York - of which this technique was at least 5 years old in New York city. But it was now working here now in Chicago! Soon he was running tape projects they would contain complex mixes, as he ran new rhythms, baslines and drum tracks underneath familiar favourite tracks. It is these experiments that helped to create the music that we call House todayDjs were to go away and experiment themselves on the styles that heard at the Warehouse via hearing Dj Frankie Knuckles and at the Music Box via hearing Dj Ron Hardy and of course hearing the Dj's at the radio station called 'WBMX'- or known to everyone within Chicago as theThe Hot mix 5, on much cheaper and more powerful electronic Music computers, sequencers and Drum machines! House music was Disco music, made by Amateurs. House music was Disco. Its rhythms, its basslines, even its spirit - was recreated on machines that gave a near feeling to musical instruments - but never really got there! The kids that would eventually take up the 'chalice' left behind by those Dj experiments as mentioned above were at clubbers first of all rather then musicians themselves. The Dj's (mentioned above!), who had aimed to preserve a music which had been declared dead (Disco), had created another from its ashes.

The Dj's aim was to drive the dancers into states of pure hypnotic fury, using endless rhythm tracks that work the dancefloor via the use of a great vocal within the song - Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' This style of music (House music) demanded an endless supply of simple, repatitive drum rhythms. The peoples of Chicago soon began to notice how these sounds that Dj's of the calibre of Frankie Knuckles, Dj Ron Hardy and the Hot mix 5 Dj's were coming up with and starting to experiment themselves!!It seems as if everyone at this period of time wanted to become a producer, to push under the noses of these Dj's.2 x Local Chicago Dj/producers were to go that one step further then the others in getting their stuff produced and made onto Vinyl however. 1. Bryon Walters - Better known to the World as 'Jamie Principle' 2. Jesse Saunders. These were the first 2 Home grown Chicago House producers.

However, it was Jesse Saunders that first got the claim, of having the first commercial House track to be put to vinyl. It was with the track called On and One which was released on his own label called 'Jez say yes' during on January, 1984. This track takes all the accolades as being the first House track on vinyl. Farley Jack Master Funk, states, 'Jesse was first. He put out records before anyone else conceived of doing it, got the girls, and all the fame. Jesse wanted to be the next Motown'.

- Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonHowever, Marshall Jefferson, explains that even though Jesse was the first (Jesse Saunders!!) to release a House track on vinyl there was still some short comings. Jamie Principle House music tracks were heard in all of the clubs in Chicago at least a year before, before ever getting to be released on vinyl. But his work was too good to spark an interest for him to release his records to vinyl. Many people within Chicago thought that his releases were not from him. But made in Europe instead!!But it took Jesse Saunders track - 'On and On' that was put on vinyl as the first House music track to really open the possibilites of House music making money for producers!!Marshall Jefferson, another legendary House Music Producer explains..'That's what inspired everybody. It gave us hope, man. When Jamie was doing it, nobody thought of making a record.

His shit was too good. It was like seeing John Holmes (*The One of the worlds famous pornographic film star) in a pornographic movie. You know you can't do better'.'But if you saw a guy in a pornographic movie with a 3 inch 'peter' ( Penis) , and all the women are swooning ( rushing him) all over him and he's a millionaire, you would seriously consider having a go yourself, wouldn't you?''That's what inspired everybody about Jesse. They saw some one make it big. But not that great. When Jesse did his stuff, everybody said 'Fuck! I could do better than that!'- Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonAlmost overnight there was a frenzy within the City of would be producers trying to make House records.

Dj's such as Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy, and others in city who only a few months beforehand were racking their brains on how they were going to make the latest Reel to Reel tape mixes that would last all night long for their respective Dance floors. Were now being handied tapes from would be producers ( i. eyoung clubbers to play their mixes) in their club nights!!'Our sound was so different because we can just make a bassline and a Rhythm track and we can sell 10,000 copies of that in the city. All you need was a feeel for the music. There are people that who have been to college to study music and they can't make a simple rhythm track. let alone a hit record.

Its weird. And it seems like a waste of time to learn that, because now a little kid can pick up a computer, get lucky with it, and write a hit' - - Source taken from the Book called 'Last Night a Dj saved my life' - Headline Press - LondonTrax Records and Dj International Records. Out of all the labels to come of Chicago. 2 will surely stick in your mind. Trax and Dj International records. I'm right aren't I?'Music is the Key, 'It's Allright', 'Move Your Body', 'Choice Of a New Generation', Time to Jack', 'Yo Yo Get Funky' 'Jack Your Body' 'Runaway Girl', 'Promised Land' Baby Wants To Ride'? 'Washing Machine'? 'Can U Feel It?' 'House Nation', 'Acid Trax', Your Love'? 'U Used To Hold Me'.All of them Trax and Dj International Record hit releases. What's more they have introduced to us some the worlds greatest, house music's innovators such as:Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles, Steve 'Silk' HurleyOther Chicago's house artists over the years comes to mind here as well such as Liddell Townsend, Robert Owens, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Mr Lee, Adonis, Fast Eddie and Ralphie Rosario. And they did it all by releasing records that sounded like they'd been pressed on sandpaper! House music from some of the titles that I have mentioned above took on the same cultural role as Hip Hop music and culture did within New York.

You could say that within 1983 onwards, Chicago and its music of House was just as important for its young people and followers of the music, as it was for New York and its music which was HipHop and Rap. Both music's constituency were both poor and black. Both music energy levels came from local Djs competing against each other. Each music's development arose out of each producer always thinking that he or she could do better at what the next guy or gay had just produced. Just as Rap and Hip Hop music went about its ways of making new singles through old discarded Funk, Disco and Soul Records via stealing basslines and drum patterns. So it was the same with House music. House music stole in the same way that Hiphop music did for the creation new tune/s. House music in New York City. Right from the start there was a difference in approach between the cities of New York and Chicago, when it came to House music.'All of the records coming out of New York had been either mid or down tempo, and the kids in Chicago wouldn't do that all night long, they needed more energy' commented Frankie Knuckles after his move to Chicago. Chicago (*The Windy City) was seduced to a far greater extent by the European sound and records that started to come through via their Pop Charts within America during the early 1980's. Whereas the with the Paradise Garage nightclub within New York city, House (more so Garage music) music evolved much more smoothly from First Choice and the labels like Salsoul, West End and Prelude records. Todd Terry and House Music - New York, Usa:Todd Terry, from Brooklyn, New York City, Usa introduced to us 'sampling' within House music during the late - 1980's. Someone was bound to do it. It was just that Todd Terry got there first.

A Hiphop Dj at heart first and foremost. Todd Terry applied the same logic that he learned through the sampling techniques that he had gained through Hip Hop music culture, and applied it to House music. He changed how people/s looked at House music more than once. He bought a stronger, and more percussive style to House music. So much so that in 1988, he bought out '6 massive dance floor House anthems' which rocked house music to its very foundations. Royal House - 'Can you feel it', Todd Terry Project's -' Weekend' and 'Bango' Swan Lake's - 'In the name of love', Black Riot's - 'A day in the Life' and 'Warlock'.Soon Todd Terry became so well known on the the English Underground House & Garage scene; also with the English Dance music media that he soon gained him the nickname of 'Todd 'The God' Terry'.

And with that came the nice pay checks that followed...Well thats it for now. However, the story doesn't finish here. Far from it. There's lot more tell I can tell you. Rememeber House music, has moved from the story that has told above in these pages.

But I just wanted to give you a start in understanding a little bit about the history of House music!!.

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