Tuesday 9 March 2021

How Deep is your House?

Following on from the Bandcamp scoops, I've dug into my archives to find what little bits and pieces of Deep House I have in there. See, it's a genre I'd say I love the sound of, but I don't seem to have much of it. A lot of that was me just riding the high of Mr. Fingers' Amnesia, home of Can You Feel It? among others. And if I had to point to a track that was probably my favourite example of it, Feel It would probably win out. But I've already talked about it a bunch in the past, and it is also (rightfully so) one of the more popular bits of retro electronic out there. So instead let's see if I can't round up some similar sounding stuff.

Sam Francis - Her Blue Deeps (1972)

Laurent Garnier to start out - one of those names again that always came up in the circles I frequent but I never really investigated in much detail. Still, even then he's managed to have several tracks come on my radar, and one that instantly came to mind when I was thinking about this post was Last Tribute From The 20th Century - suitably, the closer from 2000's Unreasonable Behaviour. As the name would suggest, much like Daft Punk's Teachers, this is a love letter to Garnier's influences - as the track itself says: "New York, Detroit and Chicago".

It's one of those tracks that gripped me from the get-go, as you all know by now, I'm a sucker for that kinda sweeping smooth sound. The whole thing has a tinge of melancholy to it, but that's easy to overlook when you slip into the groove of that bassline - I appreciate the little flourishes here and there that are evocative of Frankie Knuckles and company too. Last Tribute is definitely one of the highlights from the album and has more than earned its place here.

Admittedly this one is more straight up Detroit Techno than Deep House, but I think it still fits the bill. Burujha is a lovely and melodic cut - nice and bouncy but carrying that slight melancholy mentioned before. This is actually the track that made me sit up and pay attention to Octave One after hearing it on the Games' eclectic 'Spend The Night With' mixtape (where it's actually incorrectly listed as the title track from the 'Art And Soul' EP that it's from) - that mixtape really runs the spectrum of genres, from full on Detroit techno like this to Eccojams-esque disco cuts - Lopatin & Ford even give Enya the vaporwave treatment on it at one point! It sounds absolutely gorgeous on there - it plays back a little slower which really makes it sound more techno, and as a bonus the cassette tape gives it a great lo-fi edge, even distorting some of the synths.

But I think my heart has to belong to the real deal release one, the whole album it's from The Living Key (To Images From Above) is great but Burujha remains my absolute favourite, and like Last Tribute above makes for a fantastically fitting album closer. Burujha also catches me off guard on the regular, as there's 30 seconds of silence at the end before a little untitled hidden track starts.

And lastly, Soichi Terada. One of the ones I had in mind when I started writing and annoyingly one of the only ones readily available for streaming not from YT. You (and I) are probably more familiar with Terada's Drum & Bass work - I've talked about it a fair few times in the past here, his work on the Ape Escape 1 & 3 soundtracks is incredible - really playful, often lush and surprisingly heavy for what it's soundtracking! Terada actually got his start making House music in the late 80's and early 90's, producing tracks like Sunshower in '89 that could have easily gone here.

The track I've picked out though is a slightly reworked version of Purple Haze - one of Terada's early solo productions. The original is a little rough 'round the edges, charmingly so with those MIDI Piano stabs leading us in. I'm a little on the fence about the Hendrix sample however, while I do like it I have to say I much prefer the (Edit) that doesn't have it - that said, I'm also sure a big reason for this edit was to avoid having the rights holders coming knocking. The edit is overall much cleaner sounding too as a result of that and some little production tweaks here and there, which I think suits it better in the end - I absolutely adore those lush backing synths that seem to have been designed to directly target the part of me that loves that sound. Only complaints I have is that I would maybe like some build up to the main body of the track as you might expect from a Deep House cut, but I can't deny that I love that this one is all action as soon as you hit play.

And that'll about do it for this time, a shame I couldn't find more actual music streams but at least they're all from official sources. Speaking of, I can't do a deep house post without a least giving honourable mention to Marshall Jefferson's Mushrooms - specifically the Salt City Orchestra Remix, a frequent appearance on my more hi-tech sounding playlists, Mushrooms also has the unique twist of the spoken word storytelling guiding you through the experience. That'll do it for this one, I'll stop myself there because I could go on and on! And of course: As always - Stay safe and enjoy the music.


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