House Keeping Part 3

By Geisha Bar

As the house scene gained impetus people (producers) started showering DJ’s with club tracks. A mojor development was in 1981 when the “Hot mix Five” led by Keith “Jackmaster Funk” Farley and Steve “Silk”Hurley (a DJ collective who had a Chicago radio show) started producing tracks on mass for DJ’s that were circulated in New York and Chicago. The tuneful tentacles spread further with Trax and DJ International record labels distributing House throughout the US.

The Chicago and NY scenes grew in tandem but both had their specific styles and flavours. Chicago essentially has a more European influence, a fetish for technology and harder sounds whilst NY House has its roots in the vocal beauty of soul and gospel. Both strains favoured four on the floor rythyms and a 120bpm.

Chicago’s love of technology and the Euro influence may have much to do with the proximity to techno’s birthplace of DEtroit. Alternatively NY was a spiritual home of disco and the potent mix of hispanic and black culture in the Big Apple led to the emergence of the vocal / song heavy “Garage” sound

Garage is the legacy of Larry Levan and his “Paradise Garage” – He was not a purist in the musical sense. He liked only one sort of music – Good Music. He played funk, disco, soul and modern rock artists at the time like “The Clash” and “Talking Heads”. Garage is the dance music most closely aligned to traditional song structures and is renowned for its quality vocals in the tradition of soul labels like Mowtown & Stax plus pure old style R&B

As the scene kicked into overdrive Knuckles left the Warehouse to establish the “Powerplant” club in Chicago and LA native Ron Hardy took over his residency at Warehouse with “The Music Box” playing a much rawer and harder style than Knuckles was known for. Meanwhile, over in NY, clubs like the “Sound Factory” and “Zanzibar” kept the passion burning once the Garage closed down.

2 great house DJ’s and 2 grand clubs. THeir legacy was to establish a foundation for all dance genres and DJ’s that followed. Many consider them the high water mark for electronic music whilst others acknowlege them as the TRUE starting point. No one disputes that Knuckles and Levan put dance music on the map. So when you are vibing to contemporary artists like Derrick Carter, Masters at Work, Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Francois Kevorkian, Tony Humphries or Joey Negro dedicate a line and a respectful thought for the 2 geniuses who helped pave the way for House proud clubs like Geisha the world over….

Next week the history lesson ends and we go back to writting about sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and all the stuff in between.