As a lover of house music, it’s imperative that you study the history of the music you’ve come to love. Forme, my relationship with house has always been one driven by the past. When I first fell in love with the sounds of house, I made sure to study the history, the evolution, and develop a fondess for the classics.
In the midst of my constant research and development of comprehending why house music is so amazing, I’ve come to watch three documentaries that have provided thought-provoking insight into the evolution of house and club culture.
The three documentaries that I highly recommend you watch (and read about on my blog) are: Pump Up the Volume (history of house music), Paris is Burning (a film about vogue culture), and my latest discovery, a riveting 2003 British documentary, MAESTRO.
MAESTRO is a film I stumbled upon about a few days ago in the midst of a search about the house music scene in San Francisco. I’m planning on checking out the scene, and if things can fall into place, maybe leave Los Angeles and move up to SF. More on that later. But yes, as I was saying, I discovered this insatiable documentary and watched the entire film on YouTube.
Now I know that I mentioned I was doing a search about the scene in San Francisco, but the film is actually about the evolution of the “underground” house music scene and club culture in New York City during the late 70s and 80s. My fellow house junkies and dance music lovers know what I’m talking about; Larry Levan‘s presence at the Paradise Garage and David Mancuso‘s The Loft.
I’m not going to spoil every moment of the film, so you should watch the entire film (uploaded by We Mean Disco) for yourself. It’s a powerful documentary that shows the influence of the legend himself, Larry Levan. And it also shows the influence of David Mancuso, another great legend who pioneered “invitation-only” parties in NYC, which helped cultivate the club scene. Both of the men are legends, along with Frankie Knuckles.
The film has rare footage of Levan spinning, Mancuso, and it features great commentary that truly reminds me why I love house music and the club culture. House is a universal language that has a way of uniting everyone, especially those who are in the struggle and just need a release. Without Paradise Garage and The Loft, house wouldn’t have held the impact it does today within the “underground” club culture.
As I always like to quote, Eddie Amador’s famous lyrics, ”not everyone understands house music, it’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing…” And my theory on that statement is simply this, in order to truly understand house music, you have to allow yourself to gain a fundamental appreciation of disco, classic house, and fall in love with the evolution of the genre I’ve come to declare a lifestyle.
House music: it’s a way of life, an atmospheric experience of beats and a community of unity.