House Keeping for Beginners

By Geisha Bar

What is it about clubbing we all love? Why does Geisha hold a special place in so many hearts? Is it the unbridled hedonism of the night, the high fashion, the sexual charge of a half chanceor a dark room where everyone is someone else for the evening? Is it the icing sugar and allens lollies we ingest through nose and mouth, the colourful drinks, the company we keep, the people we meet or the hallucinating through lack of sleep? All these things are part of clubbings rich resume but the MUSIC is the business. Music is the highest high, simple and pure and house music is a tangible celebration of this blissful pleasure.

When considering the history of dance or electronic music “House”is at the forefront of the sprawling genre that now sees turntables outsell guitars by a considerable margin. God may be a DJ but House music is the Holy Trinity establishing dance music as a viable & credible art form, staking a claim for techno, drum & bass, breakbeat and alike to flood the city once governed by rock ‘n’ roll.

House came to bare as a hipper relative to the demonized disco. Without disco house would never have existed and without the gay black community house would never have flourished.

Our condensed 3 part epic tale begins at the continental baths in Soho – NYC. A gay venue of ill repute where the “godfather” of house Frankie Knuckles and garage’s errant uncle Larry Levan were most fond of DJing…….

In the late 70’s disco was in its death throes. Disco records were being burned at baseball games in Chicago, the “Disco Sux”campaign was in full swing and people were realising that “You cant stop the Music” and “Xanadu” were not classics of repute. The irony is that these musical crimes were the hideous commercial face of disco and not truly representative of disco music. Knuckles and Levan like most who rose through House were not playing cheesy disco in mainstream clubs. Their days were spent at clubs like Gallery, The Loft, Sanctuary listening to underground DJ’s like Francis Grosso, David Rodriguez, Michael Capello & David Mancuso. Their good taste for true soulful disco left them marginalised but their time was coming….

The precursor to the house explosion occurred strangely enough in Germany with Euro-disco, courtesy of badly dressed men like Giorgio Morroder who had the very good sense to stick Donna Summer out front – “I Love to Love you Baby”incorporating everything that would become synonymous with classic House: A screaming diva, four to the floor beat, synthesized sounds and an extended mix.

The Euro-disco of Moroder and Hi NRG tracks like Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Came to Say Goodbye” accentuated the beatz with drum machines, repetition, a synthetic quality and a faster pace than disco. The result – disco was reborn in the underground and it was about to get another name…….

PART 2 Next week