In the early 80s the commercial future of house music might have been precarious, but one thing that was certain was the love, passion, and experimentation of sounds. Raging bells from disco met with tribal beats in the gritty clubs of New York and Chicago, and over in the UK the English were toying around with a new style of underground music that was started and played by NYC legends such as Junior Vasquez, Tony Humphries and Larry Levan. While house was gaining more popularity on the East Coast and garage transitioned over to the UK, it was destined for them to intersect and create a genre that many have to come love, celebrate, and appreciate as Garage House.
When it comes to who did what, it’s often a toughie to pin down unless you were actually there. But one thing that many can confirm is that at the Paradise Garage, Larry Levan was spinning a new style of music that had more gospel-piano riffs and a distinct percussion pattern that wasn’t yet explored in most house music. House, as you know, is a large genre of music with so many variations and hybrids, but garage house became a sub-genre which allowed for the UK style of garage to marry the American vibes of classic house.
Not much a history lesson, since I’m not in connection with an of the originators of the garage house scene, but hopefully with this little bit of information you can get a sense of Garage House. And this isn’t a genre that has faded into extinction. No sir, Garage House has been steadily rising on the scene in the past few years, and NeedWant Records put together a lovely compilation that shows off some of the influences of what happens when house meets garage.
Titled, The House That Garage Built, this compilation by TRAXX is loaded with gems of garage house that you really ought to know. Even if you didn’t know the artist or the name of the track, hopefully you’ve been exposed to some of these great songs via podcasts, mixes, or live DJ sets. Personally, I’ve heard each of the tracks on this EP in the past (and lately,) and I commend TRAXX for selecting some items that truly capture the atmosphere of garage house.
With selections from Disclosure, George Fitzgerald, The Mekanism, Huxley, and many others (a lot of UK producers, ) this EP is one that you really do Need/Want.
Give the selections a listen and give NeedWant Records a high-five for being awesome!
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.
Some house tracks have such a spiritual vibe to them. Even if it’s not gospel house, a track can still have this soulful spiritual vibe that gets you into the zone. It’s just something about the soulful vocals that have you singing high praises and shouting hallelujah!
If you’ve got a house track and add the vocals of Barbara Tucker, Kathy Brown, Jocelyn Brown, or Martha Wash, then it’s bound to have this gospel vibe to it. All those leading ladies of house have had there fair share of time being on tracks that are solemnly gospel, so it’s no surprise that that spiritual vibe carries over onto their house tracks. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve cried on Barbara Tucker’s “Most Precious Love.” Man, now that song right their is a revival! Honestly that song is perhaps one of my favorite songs (I’ll post it), along with “Inspiration” by Arnold Jarvis.
Some songs may not feature the big divas of house, but they are still classic tracks. One of those classic spiritual tracks is “Stand Up for The Soul” by Donnie Mark. The track originally came out 1993 on Simply Soul/Submerge Records. It’s one of those tracks you might not have heard unless you’re a major house music junkie and studied the history of house (unless you were alive in that era.) Sadly enough I’m only 20 and wasn’t alive during the days of the Paradise Garage, so my experience with house has been research, research, and appreciation. My constant researching is what makes me such a lover of house music, and I’m so happy when I run across classic tracks such as “Stand Up for The Soul.”
The track is so uplifting. You literally want to just “stand up for the soul.” It’s a song that you want to listen to when hanging out with your friends or dancing with strangers a club, and the soulful sounds of house serenade your body. Everybody just has to come together for the love of house, for the of the spirit, and for the love of the soul. It’s house music baby. You can’t resist it, it’s a spiritual thang. So don’t let the worries of the day stress you out. The weekend is almost here, you’re alive and well, and at the end of the day you’ve just got to stand up for the feeling, the soul, and for the love of house music. Yeah, now that’s deep…..
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com
Gigamesh “When You’re Dancing” [Cassian Remix]
Whenever I hear Gigamesh is coming out with a new track I get goosebumps all over my body! Every track that Gigamesh produces is bound to get me up and dancing. Well, a lot of music gets me up and dancing, but Gigamesh has a lot of tracks that have that “boogie down” vibe.
I first heard him about awhile ago while jamming to Foster the People “Pumped Up Kicks (Gigamesh Remix).” He’s this producer from Minneapolis, MN and his latest track “When You’re Dancing” has been making its way throughout the podcast circuits. I’ve heard it on a few different podcasts so far and I figured I might as well go ahead and share it with you guys.
The track features Induce, and the remix by Cassian is funky! The song reminds me of a funky Chromeo beat, but a lot subtler. I feel as though I’m in the disco era and stepping out onto the dance-floor. It just makes me want to strut my stuff and tastefully flirt with some hotties tearing it up on the floor.
Yet not everyone on the dance-floor is a hottie, but there are those guys that may not be a dime but they sure know how to have a good time. I can just imagine what it would be a club like in the scene from A Night at the Roxbury. Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell were so hilarious in that movie! All they wanted to do was go to the hottest club, show off, and hopefully snag a couple of ladies. What makes that movie so funny is the fact they think they are so cool, but in actuality they are just a bunch of goofballs; but those goofballs sure livened up the club.
Every club needs a few folks like that to just pump up the crowd and add a silly vibe to the night. I can’t stand going on and trying to get my “boogie” on when everyone is so uppity and acting like it’s a fashion show. Dude, clubbing should be like Paradise Garage and Soul Train; there shouldn’t be a bunch of unspoken social rules and hating. That’s why I love house music and dance music; nobody cares what you’re doing, it’s all in the name of good-fun-music!
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com