Never one to shy away from a new musical experience, I had the opportunity yesterday to hear a friend of mine perform. He’s an up and coming Dj still without a stage name (any suggestions will be passed along) and he performed his opening set in, beautiful, upstate new york, at a steak house/party patio five minutes from the Hudson. It was a beautiful day and you could smell the salty water as you sat in the shade or enjoyed the sunshine beaming down on you. The music that he and his colleagues favor is House and Techno Trance, which is definitely enjoyable when done correctly. Let me break down the positives for you. If you like to dance, you don’t have to stop, EVER. It’s this continuos mashup of grooving sounds. The main foot stomping beat is interspersed with different musical influences, tribal, ethnic, wind instruments, strings, synths, and even vocals from a wide range of other genres. At one point, he had a spoken word poem laid into his music. It was amazing. Also, the fundamentals of musical production are at the forefront in this type of music, mainly transitioning and maintaining the melodic quality of sounds as new pieces are being introduced into a set. Dj Ariel (Default Name) is definitely high caliber in this regard. His transitions were fluid and never once did I think….”ehhhh well that sound doesn’t really fit into the overall theme of the music he was putting out.” It was literally a melodic wave you could just ride on for two hours.
On our travels back to the island of long, I had the opportunity to listen to Carl Cox on Soundcloud playing through the car system. If you’re new to techno/house music, I’d definitely recommend that you give him a listen. I also had the opportunity to learn a little bit about the history and evolution of the genre and would like to share some of this newfound knowledge with you all here. The sounds of house and techno originated on Disco dance floors. More specifically, on the Disco dance floors of gay bars. The sound that later became known as house music was a subculture of individuals, gays, mainly minorities, literally dancing to the beat of their own drum. Frankie Knuckles (LISTEN TO HIM) is considered the grandfather of mainstream house music as we know it today. Originally from New York City this soon to be infamous Dj moved to Chicago in the late 70’s and began working at a club called the Warehouse. Chicago producer Chip E. took a liking to Knuckles and worked with him to release his first track “You Can’t Hide From Yourself.” (Side Note: Just appreciate how many genres of life changing music came from the struggle of outsiders trying to find a place in mainstream society) He continued to work with a variety of different artists, producing, remixing, recording and eventually released his debut album in 1991 titled, “Beyond the Mix.” By this point, the type of music he was putting out popularly dubbed “House”, in respect for the club Warehouse where he originated, was popular not only in America but in the UK as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and evolution of this sound check out documentaries, The UnUsual Suspects: Once Upon a Time in House Music, directed by Chip E. and also Continental, which takes an in depth look at Continental Baths, a gay bathouse located in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel in NYC.
Enjoy all your musical meanderings!