The Whistle Song conjures up everything that is special about House Music: a sense of belonging to a collective of people whose heart and soul, belief in common purpose, is shared equally. Sometimes it doesn’t always feel like that but on the occasion it does it’s music such as this which truly represents that feeling. Remastered from the original recording made by the tracks initial creator, Eric Kupper it eloquently reaches those same soaring heights of emotion just as it did when it was first released back in 1991. Celebrating Frankie Knuckles Day on August 25th each year, part of the proceeds go to The Frankie Knuckles Foundation so you know this is real.
Excitement levels are pretty high. I really wanted to get this out this year due to the 30 year thing. The main reason why Acid is so special to me, is because of the impact it had on me when I was just a kid. I discovered it when I was 15 years old and fell in love with it immediately. I was just the right ages to get totally consumed by it. I had hundreds of smiley t-shirts and embraced it like it was the most important thing in the world. I never could have imagined all the controversy surrounding it would have happened after it spread across the UK and then for there to be huge parties revolving around the music just as I was turning 18. It was a wake-up call for me as it was for many others and nothing was ever the same again.
(photo by Paul Husband)
Can you tell us about who are the founding figures in Acid House for you and who would you say were the key electronic music producers before then?
One of the most important figures has to be DJ Ron Hardy. As the legend goes, he played Acid Trax 4 times in one night causing the early House scene to shift in direction. Ron was always more abstract than Frankie Knuckles and after Acid Trax things blew up in Chicago things moved more in Ron’s musical direction. After the first night he played Acid Trax he continued to hammer it without anyone knowing what it was so his followers called it Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax accidentally giving the track and the genre a name. Another great for me is Armando Gallup. He was renowned for his parties in Chicago before he made one of the first Acid House records 151, very shortly after the very first one was made by Phuture.
Obviously Phuture for they created the genre and went to create more absolute gems. Mike Dunn isn’t talked about as much as some of the acid originators but if you listen to tracks such as Face The Nation and Personal Problem, I find his unique take on Acid so beautifully melodic I am amazed he isn’t praised more. Adonis is one of the great unsung heroes of not just Acid but House. Some of his House records were essentially Acid before the genre was even born. I firmly believe that Phuture were listening to Adonis before they created Acid House. Larry Heard, although he has made some of the best Acid House music with tracks such as Sun Don’t Compare, it is his House music that is the most inventive because again, like with Adonis he was making Acid House before it even existed with tracks such as Washing Machine and Ecstasy. I am a firm believer that Acid is both a genre of music and an electronic instrument sound too that can be made on machines other than a TB-303. Larry Heard proves that with some of his Mr. Fingers productions. I never expected Acid House to become as popular as it is again today but the great thing about that is, new music by new producers. Paranoid London are making some blinding new music as is Marquis Hawkes.
Prior to Acid House, I was obsessed with Electro with producers such as Arthur Baker and Juan Atkins with his Model 500 outfit who later went on to give the world Techno.
How long has it taken to research the book? And what inspired you to write it?
Research for the book began many years ago, possibly up to around 10 years ago but as I got busy with musical projects and having a day job things got put on hold. The final product has evolved somewhat as I scaled down the original plan of making an “Acid encyclopedia” called Encyclopedia Acidica. Depending on how things go with this, I will look at finishing that rather ambition project again but much of the work I did researching it has resulted in this smaller project.
Tell us about three of your favourite electronic instruments (drum machines, synthesisers etc) and why their sound resonates with you?
The TB-303 is the single greatest machine ever made. Although there are now a million clones and imitation and some of them replicate it very well, nothing else out there has the same depth of bass and more importantly despite boasting being computer controlled, in a way, it sounds so organic and alive. I absolutely love some of the newer machines that have been built to cash in on the demand. I have bought as many as I can afford. I have 6 now I think. I also think the Korg Monologue is one of the most amazing machines I have ever heard. They got Aphex Twin to create some of the patches and he has even included some of his riffs on there. I have played live sets and incorporated them into the sets they are that good! And finally, the Jupiter 8. I used to have one but had to sell it when I got laid off from work to pay the bills. As depressing as that was, it was possibly the first and most mature thing I’d ever done. People say I am mad to have sold it but it really was a question of house or synth.
You have self published the book. Tell us about that process and what’s happening with the books distribution?
I am going to do a limited edition larger version in A4 to offer something to collect as people who love Acid House and 303’s are so fond of their scene I figured a limited edition version would be a good idea then the book will be available in standard A5 on Amazon.
What is your favourite memory from Together?
People assume being in the charts must have been best times. It was great, I am not denying that but for me, the best times of my life were long before Hardcore Uproar got into the charts: it was the period where Hardcore Uproar became the biggest tune at the Hacienda in the summer of 1990. To have shared it with my best friends Jon and Emma means everything to me as I have those memories to hold onto and cherish forever. There was one night when they played the record twice in one night on the 8th Birthday and as it hit midnight Mike Pickering released balloons from the ceiling. It was so un-Hacienda of them but it was possibly the greatest single moment of my life.
How did you first get introduced to House Music? And how would you compare those days with today’s Dance Music culture?
It was really my school friends who introduced me to House Music. I was still into Electro in 1986 and all my friends who were always really ahead of the game were listening to compilation on FFRR/London records. When I heard what they were listening to, my old Electro comps barely got a look in. I always wrote silly raps inspired by my love of Electro so when I got in House I started writing basslines and melodies. I didn’t think any of it would amount to anything until I met Jonathan Donaghy who I formed Together with.
To compare today’s scene to what happened just after 1988 is difficult as the music and the scene was so new back then, it was bound to feel more exciting but having experienced both of them separately I can honestly say some of the best nights today are as good as what was going on back then. There are 2 clubs in London called I Love Acid and Downfall and I feel due to the sincerity of the crowds they pull, the atmosphere is magical. They have such a playful vibe. No idiots. No aggression. Very few camera phones and no pretence, just pure music and dancing. It is just like it used to be and for a while in the 2000’s when things changed quite a bit I never thought it would come back and certainly didn’t think it would get this good again.
And finally. Tell us about The House Sound Of Together series? And any future musical or writing plans you have?
The House Sound of Together EP’s began with the “FFRREE at Last” EP. A celebratory record after getting out of a nightmare record deal I was trapped in. We wanted to sign to Deconstruction but somehow were forced to sign to a label we didn’t want to be on so when I got out of that deal I rushed to release a record after not having had a record out for sometime but the 2nd EP Volume 2, I really took my time with. It featured a few names that have gone on to do big things such as DJ Sasha who produced one track, Phil Kelsey (PKA) produced another and Rohan Heath (who went on to form The Urban Cookie Collective, The Key The Secret) co-wrote 2 tracks on the EP.
I wrote most of this new EP while I was off with a broken leg. Literally itching to get out, I felt inspired and basslines was filling my head whilst I had one leg propped up. The result was this
EP. The House Sound of Together Volume 3. I originally intended to call it the Alkaline EP as I wasn’t planning to have any Acid on it but Matt Sargeant who I co-produced it with in the end, contributed some essential elements to the EP and lots of them ended up being very Acidy so I had to drop the Alkaline tag.
After Together I went on to release some ambient techno under the name The Ultimate Escape Project. I have written new material which will be released under that name soon. I toyed with releasing those tunes under the name Together but I realised they’re just not Together tracks.
Writing-wise, I have been writing a column called One Foot In The Rave for a magazine for sometime and I have been thinking about expanding on those. They are memoirs related to my experiences during the Acid House era. I want to make it clear, this definitely won’t be an autobiography! Nobody would be interested in my personal life but whilst going to the raves I saw and experienced some truly amazing and at times, shocking things so I hope to write a book called something like “Real life stories from the Acid House frontline”. I like the idea of using a war-term like “frontline” as there were tensions at times and it did get quite risky, especially the night there was a riot and someone had the bright idea to blow up a Police van in Blackburn.
Can’t get enough of the past? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The legendary Salsoul label earned that accolade for one reason only and that was the music they released back in the 70’s and subsequent 1980’s, closing by 84 of that decade. Soaring songs, sonically reverberating instrumentation and production prowess that helped set the tone for tone for what came next. One glance over the tracklist and you can feel all that history breathing including timeless standards such as Double Exposure – My Love Is Free, which appears here with the Frankie Knuckles remix, plus the Shep Pettibone version of Inner Life – I Like It Like That. Other perhaps less well known tracks also compliment such as Larry Levan’s remix of Sparkle – Handsome Man and The Salsoul Orchestra’s – Sun After Rain with Tom Moulton’s glorious 12″ Mix. The second CD is all down to Dimitri who adds his flair to the affair care off a series of re-edits of additional releases that include the likes of fimiliar gems Love Sensation, Ten Percent, and Just As Long As I Got You. Respectfully yours.
Release: September 15
Pre-order here: https://salsoul.lnk.to/dimitrifromparisPR
Follow Your Heart
Be interesting to see how many people will be playing the Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper Remix of Holly Johnson ‘Follow Your Heart’ (in light of all the recent name checking R.I.P from people who find his style an irrelevance). It’s not ‘Deep’ or ‘Techno’ just full of their timeless trademark sounds which have echoed across the decades by this duo. From Kupper’s elegant keys to Knuckles soaring soulfulness this may well be the final remix to appear under his name. As you can hear below not a lot has changed but, if it ain’t broke! And needless to say the Instrumental version is also flawless. But back to the actual artist, Holly Johnson who sounds as distinct as ever and it’s always a pleasure to hear him especially with this lush backing.
release: 12” July 21 & download July 27
You’ve got to love the nihilism of the title. Indeed, named after the Bristol/ London club night this is the promoter’s debut release which I have to say is seriously excellent. Another, thankfully, hard to classify track which blends darker, drum fuelled elements together with commanding stabs and blissfully twisted camp spoken vocals. Although, if you can’t take the heat then there is always the Dub version.
release: July 14
For The Ones Gone EP
Gorgeous summer sounds from Skylab that fit neatly in-between Disco and Balearic grooves. Set to a mid-tempo shuffle this meandering keyboard driven rhythm has sunshine written all over it complete with vocal touches and just the right amount of funk to dance to. Club Malibu, is more club orientated with faster beats competing against another 80’s styled sample. Pedro Mercado and Derek D then provide the remix which alters the mood making it all the more intriguing with a moodier arrangement of sounds and low-slung bassline.
Seem to remember a quote along the lines of: You can’t move forwards for looking backwards – or at least words to that effect. But in music it seems you can only move forward by looking back. After all if it wasn’t for records like this then where would we be? If you haven’t already checked out Still Music’s essential 122BPM: The Birth Of House Music compilation then you’re missing out, in which case this previously unreleased gem, also from the vaults of Mitchbal and Chicago Connection Records, may well move you in the right direction. Jack The House pretty much speaks for itself and ticks all the boxes either as the Original. or more especially, Frankie Knuckles more Club orientated Remix which combines all the classic sounds from the era with a knowing arrangement primed for the dancefloor.
Having barely recovered from hearing Matt Tolfrey’s excellent debut album for Leftroom this now hits squarely aimed at the previous seasons memories – assuming they are hot ones of course. This is Nicolas Abalos aka Shall Ocin’s second release for the label and is based around George Gershwin’s 1935 classic ‘Summertime’ though of course sounds markedly different with electronic beats and the rest giving you reason enough to reply the timely refrain all over again. It also made ‘ESSENTIAL NEW TUNE’ on Jamie Jones & Seth Troxler’s standin for Pete Tong recently too. Having said that I much prefer Feel The Same with its delicious spacey vocals and sassy, syncopated rhythms feeling altogether contemporary and typical of the label. I Know, finishes with a love of ‘real’ instrumentation played in a slightly unnerving fashion, and feeling all the more inventive and effective for it.
release: October 8
First release on Martijn’s brand new sister/ brother label to the excellent Deep Edition Records is this stunner from Marvin Zeyss. Although you’ll need to move at light speed to get your hands on one of these very limited ‘vinyl only’ pressings as they have been numbered to 100. Three numbers beginning with Hotsauce whose bass punctuated groove is little short of addictive. Power, follows with funkier percussion and deep tones rewarding your senses with a breath of perfectly pitched ambience. While, Downtown finishes with more invigorating sounds, although is also possibly third in line for your attention.
Having recently reviewed Ejeca’s release for Extended Play we now find Garry McCartney’s inescapable grooves on the notable Needwant imprint. You could say that its title track Horizon is about looking back, or you could say it’s where we’re heading, but either way its self-propelling energy is hard to resist. Driven by blazing 90’s stabs and rough-edged beats this is a combination that simply works. Dazed, feels easier with deeper, pulsating notes creating atmosphere as funky vocal edits complete the combination neatly. See Through You, ends with broken beats and an intensely soulful attitude that places Ejeca a step above the rest.
release: Oct 1
Sixteen new productions from Guy Gerber go make up this latest compilation in the fabric series totalling 64. And as you have come to expect from the producer this is another selection of exquisite resonating music that reaches way beyond your imagination. Always spirited, yet incisive and experimental, this effortlessly deep compilation of sounds are as invigorating first thing in the morning as there are very late at night. Weaving between haunting vocals and cinematic instrumentals this once again highlights Guy Gerber as one of the world’s finest in this field of electronic music. Every track stands out in its own right and it would almost be pointless in suggesting particular highlights, but here goes anyway: the completely infectious One Day In May loops heavenly ambience into dancefloor nirvana, while the opening Store-House Consciousness and The Golden Sun And The Silver Moon sound as blissful as the title suggests. The music plays between dancefloor and horizontal listening with consummate ease, with number 64 proving yet another to be a winning formula.
release: June 25
Jamie Jones second album for Crosstown Rebels sees two of the world’s most significant players combine forces again successfully, after the DJ’s string of awards plus the labels succession of killer releases. The collection features unreleased tracks – although heaven knows why – alongside new productions, and if you’ve witnessed Jamie play live then Somewhere, Paradise and Frequencies may already be well known to you. But waiting eagerly to get out there too is the equally fresh future-funk of Mari 2D Underground and the uneasy edge belonging to Tonight In Tokyo feat. Luca C. Also make sure you listen out for the sinister bass experience that is Over Each Other with Livia Giammaria’s vocal sounding tastefully bitter in the process too. All the signature sounds are present, with those defining original House influences playing their part to reinforce what is undoubtedly another essential in the canon.
release: June 25
The fifth release from the label sees Remi Mazet deliver breezy summer sounds to quench your thirst for all things funky. Playing with a hint of Gwen Guthrie in the air, the punchy bassline buzzes over introspective Rhodes chords and technological synths on the Original version to great effect. Boris Horel then provides the remix of Le Kiff with bouncy European bass and perky percussion, leaving second track Are you There feat. Mr.Matlar completing the picture with more easily accessible grooves backed up by intriguing voices and frisky snares. Good release.
release: June 25
This three track EP marks the labels 58th and presents their trademark style perfectly. Opening with NTFO & Karmon ‘Nobody Else’ and its punchy melodic bassline, which plays against snare rushes and atmospheric touches, this neatly infuses together a thoughtful production with dancefloor sensibilities. The title track is then provided by Karmon who works moody bass over sharp percussion and classic early-eighties keys, and this again proves to be easy to fall for. Betoko’s, Raining Again provides a potential anthem for the North of England with shuffling synthetic rhythms and detuned vocals intoning the wet stuff.
release: June 25
If you haven’t already checked Amirali’s beautifully crafted album for Crosstown Rebels then you’re missing out on an experience. In the meantime here is the chance to love the hauntingly atmospheric new single which also come s with some great remixes. Such as, Franck Roger who expertly builds the tension by adding fresh chords and drums to re imagine the vocal, while the MK version surpasses the remit with typically classy bass and beats feeling totally big-time. Appleblim’s aptly titled Black Mirrorball Mix then twists the elements over throbbing kicks into something altogether more space aged, making his statement loud and clear.
release: July 2
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Love this production from Ahmet Sisman whose Dance With The White Rabbit feels all at once like a party in your head. Impressive sound fx and dubbed vocal treatments give the track a very big feel indeed, but it’s also the combination of differing styles that give it all such a unique edge. Nico Lahs provides the remix with funkier bass and a deeper mood, while Audiofly cleverly break up the beats on their abstracted version. Meanwhile, Hello To Alice continues the Wonderland theme with more expressive voices and dark electronics to finish.
release: July 4
This is the second release on Artform’s sister imprint, Arthouse and comes from Erase Records’ Dimos Stamatelos. The Original version sets a punchy tempo against cool Rhodes chords, a taught tech bassline and with hard hitting vocal snippets this is set to induce frantic head nodding. The effective Frogs and Socks remix then teases extra tension from its undulating synth and smart dancefloor arrangement, while label head Jamie Anderson’s Latin Hustle version introduces the chords to warmer possibilities with the intensely funky percussion giving it all a precise edge.
release: June 18 as a Beatport exclusive for 4 weeks. July 16 general release.
If you like to think outside the box then this will most definitely tempt you. It’s distinctly impossible to categorise but then that is precisely its charm. Sometimes House-ish, sometimes Techno-esque, other times sounding like Pink Floyd through a Dance blender, this isn’t always a comfortable ride but is a rewarding one. One half of Zombi, Steve Moore supplies the remix in two parts with his ‘remix’ making some sense of the madness by building layers of arpeggios over a steady kick drum, as the ‘Off-World’ version provides more of an ethereal landscape by gently playing with voices and pulsating rhythms over an epic feeling eight minutes.
release: June 25
Jerome Derradji Presents: 122 BPM
The Birth Of House Music – Mitchbal Records & Chicago Connection Records
This three CD set from the early to late Eighties catalogues of Mitchbal Records and its subsidiary Chicago Connection Records is pretty much indispensible listening if you’re in any way interested in the history of Chicago House Music. Mitchbal Records was founded by Nemiah Mitchell Jr and released their first influential 12” single by Z Factor aka Vince Lawrence (before starting the infamous Trax Records) I Like to Do It in Fast Cars in 1983 (hear below). The selection also includes music from Mr Lee and Libra Libra, and joins together the diverse set of influences that went to make up what became known as House Music: from UK New Wave/ Synthpop and European/Italian dance all the way through to the soulful end of American Disco. The CD comes with invaluable extras such as a 28 page booklet on the labels’ history plus mix from Still Music’s Jerome Derradji, and also features one of Frankie Knuckles rarest remixes: Unfinished Business.
release: June 2012