Beginning Of House Music

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Beginning Of House Music


Early House
To trace the origins of today’s house music, one needs to time travel back to the 80’s, following a bizarre trail that spans the Atlantic ocean, hits the Mediterranean dance floors of Ibiza, sneak into the backdoors of New York’s recording studios, and have V.I.P. passes to the clubs of Chicago and London. Since we can’t deliver any of that, here’s a brief retelling of the birth of modern dance music. House music’s earliest roots are found in the musical hotspots of Chicago around 1985. Transplanted New York DJ Frankie Knuckles had a regular gig at a club called The Warehouse. Knuckles would tinker with soul and disco tunes by laying down a drum machine-generated 4/4 beat on top of them. The clubbers loved this new sound and “house” music, named for the club, was born. More DJs took to the tables and the studios, and soon there was an abundance of new house tracks penetrating both the clubs and airwaves of Chicago. The new sound found its way to the East Coast, where DJs in Philly and New York spun their own interpretations of classic dance tunes with a house beat on top. But the biggest fans of the Chicago sound weren’t in the U.S. at all… Simultaneously, pirate radio in Britain took to the Chicago sounds. Incidentally, at the time pirate stations were the only ones playing black music of any kind in the U.K. Before long, house was the new soundtrack of the underground clubs of London. The first house tune to break the underground ceiling was Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk’s cover of Isaac Hayes’ “Love Can’t Turn Around,” which reached the national charts in September 1986. The UK couldn’t seem to get enough. Soon, commercial success beckoned several of the early artists. Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley was the first to reach the ultimate accolade, the UK No.1, with “Jack Your Body” in January 1987. This success paved the way for a house-flavored single to hit internationally. The collaboration of British artists Colourbox and A.R. Kane, known as M/A/R/R/S, hit the big time with “Pump up the Volume.” Considered lightweight by many house purists, the track nonetheless took over dance floors worldwide and delivered house beats to the planet’s masses for the first time. But many fans weren’t receptive of house’s sudden commercial success, and they went looking for a sound to drive it back underground. One inspiration for a house mutation came in the form of the Roland TB 303 synthesizer. One of the earliest instigators of this new sound was Britain’s DJ Pierre, whose work with the Roland dated back to 1985. Pierre cut drums on top of the 303’s bassline, and gave the results to a DJ working at Chicago’s Music Box club named Ron Hardy. Hardy renamed it “Acid Trax” (after a well-fabled incident in which the club’s water supply was dosed with LSD) and played it incessantly. It barely made a ripple outside Chicago in 1986, but “Acid Trax” was a sign of things to come. Acid, as it came to be known, was a hybrid of house with its roots on both sides of the Atlantic, and would define a new generation of dance music. “Acid House parties” sprang up over the U.K., scaring parents senseless with its double-entendre. Of course, the drug inferences and the trademark t-shirt symbol, a smiley face with a bullethole in the forehead, increased acid music’s popularity with the kids, and the music world took note. Mainstream pop artists began exhibiting acid influence in their records, and more crossovers from the underground appeared on the charts. Chicago’s house masterminds were busier than ever finding new grooves to lay down. College buddies Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Derrick May all produced records both influential and resonating (May’s “The Dance” was sampled countless times for years to come) throughout the Windy City. Meanwhile, two other producers, Eddie Fowlkes and Blake Baxter fused Eurobeats with the funk of George Clinton. This was a creation they called techno. 1988 saw house branching out even more, as in the eclectic marriage of house beats with quasi-industrial music. Known as the Balearic movement, it found an audience in the Mediterranean

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