Giv Me Luv is one of the all time deepest and darkest, chill-inducing deep house bangers. There's solid remixes out there, but why mess with the original? It's gold on wax. The track starts off with an unassuming 4/4 beat before a funkier bassline and percussion effects are laid down. Once that feel is established, the song's signature synth hook is released. But this isn't any ol' synth hook, this is a devastating, super-fat hook pulled from the fiery infernos of hell. It's dark, heavy, and unrelenting. Played loudly enough and you won't hear yourself think, it just straight-up shakes your brain. After a masterful drop at around the 3:30 mark, vocals kick in and carry the track through the end. All in all, it's a 8 and a half minute odyssey crafted by Jean-Phillippe Aviance and Victor Imbres and you'll be sorry it has to end.
Artist: Oscar G. of Murk Productions Presents "Tilt"
Label: One Records
Regular readers know I'm down with the old school Miami sound, having profiled various Oscar G & Ralph Falcon tracks like this, this, and this. One of his lesser known gems is On My Mind, released under the Tilt alias. It might be underground, but this track is thoroughly enjoyable with a relentless bass kick intertwined with organ licks and layered with a gated reverb vocal. When the vocal momentarily drops out, the listener is taken to the next dimension. Throw in some chants for a tribal edge and you have a true classic.
The Deep Thought mix is also on YouTube and worthy of a listen:
English dance group Sunscreem released a variety of tracks in the 90s that are collectively referred to as "The Anna Series" (using aliases like Anna Crusis, Anna Din, Anna Logic, and Anna Nas). The strongest effort of the bunch was the dub version of Angel - an epic stomper that exemplifies the progressive-industrial sound. Featured on Sasha & Digweed's acclaimed Renaisssance mix, this classic is held together by a powerful piano hook and rolling organ bass.
The slower (and less bassier) non-dub version is worth a listen too:
Few pieces of world music reached the status of Sweet Lullaby, an "ethno-electronic" international hit produced by French duo, Erc Mouquet and Michael Sanchez. The song is based around a Baeggu lullaby from the Solomon Islands called "Rorogwela" and uses a vocal sample originally recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp in 1969 and later released by UNESCO as part of their Musical Sources collection. Baeggu is the language of the indigenous people of North Malaita Island and is today spoken by less than 6,000 people so quite prescient of Zemp to capture recordings of this fading culture. The concept of electronic music artists incorporating local folk songs by way of a scholarly preservationist is not exclusive to Deep Forest; I wrote about Moby doing something similar with Honey.
In any case, Sweet Lullaby is the voice and melody of a woman named Afunakwa. Afunakwa's vocals were sampled, edited, combined with other ethnic samples and layered with Sanchez's and Mouqet's own compositions of synthesizer sounds, drum loops, and basslines for ambiance. The intricate editing process took six months, proof that patience is a virtue. Afunakwa's lyrics refer to a young orphan being comforted by his older brother despite the loss of their parents:
Lyrics In Baeggu (transliterated):
Sasi ziza zecob dela dalou'a Boralea'e borale mi komi oula Etawuae'o ela'o coralia wu'aila Ilei pandera zel e' tomu pere no mo mai
Alatuwuan? icas imani'u Barletas e'e barkia'a Pro'e lai e'le a pantou la'u
Ilei pander zel e' tomu pere no mo mai
Sa ziza zecob del dalou'a Boralea'e borale mi komi oula Alatawuan? icas iwua'oula Ilei pandera zel e' tomu pere no mo mai
Lyrics In English (approximate translation):
Young brother, young brother you be quiet Although you are crying to me Your father has left us He has gone to the place of the dead Protect the head of the living, Protect the orphan child
Young brother, young brother hey? although you are crying to me Your father has left us He has gone to the place of the dead Protect the head of the living, protect the orphan child
Here's the original version:
It's timeless, but the deep house Round The World mix is the go-to track if you're looking for something more uptempo. This mix patiently layers the assorted musical elements, keeping the listener on their toes as the song's energy crests and retreats. Round The World was fairly popular on the club circuit and remains a beautiful piece of music. The only knock is that some of the vocal lines aren't carried over from the original.
So Get Up was a hard-hitting anthem by Portuguese house producers DJ Vibe (António "Tó" Pereira) & Doctor J (Rui da Silva) recording as the Underground Sound of Lisbon. The track is widely known for its spoken-word vocals by poet-musician Darin Pappas, alternatively known as Korvorwong or Ithaka, who loudly demands the audience to GET UP! (as the end of the Earth is upon us). Junior Vasquez's Factory Mix samples Shake It from Jark Prongo (1993) and Cajmere's Percolator (1992).
I'll give the nod to Junior Vasquez's version, but Danny Tenaglia came strong with his dark and electro-heavy mix, officially titled Danny's In The Light We Sleep Mix:
Under the Club 69 moniker, Peter Rauhofer remixed Danny Tenaglia's already excellent tribal classic, ohno, into a soul-shaking extravaganza. Your patience is rewarded, as this track progressively builds for several minutes before reaching its stride. Once it gets going, expect heavy doses of tribal drums, organ licks, and more!
Say It Loud won't be the only infectious classic house track I profile from Ron Allen's 1991 E.P, but it's the first and probably my favorite of the two (the other is Get On Up). This crowd pleasure features a superb piano groove, a touch of vox, plenty of breakbeats, and a constant tribal chant to keep things interesting. The slowly soaring synths really seal it for me and give the track added emotion. It's a shame this was so slept on as it was worthy of much more.
One of house music's first big hits, nothing before or after has ever sounded like Ma Foom Bey, brought to us by the Winston Jones project, Cultural Vibe. The song was mixed and popularized by Tony Humphries at Club Zanzibar in Newark and soon after became a club hit in NYC. A lot of its appeal is due to its super raw sound and minimal production. The best description of the song I've heard is "one grumbling drum machine mounted by a burping synth." Ma Foom Bey also features a hypnotic African-style chant which some say qualifies this as the earliest example of tribal house.
Mellow Mellow was the Belgium duo of Jeff Vanbockryck (aka Jeff Hypp) and Marnik Braeckevelt. I Can't Stop was too lacking in vocals to attract mainstream attention, but it's an easy-on-the-ears track with a nice organ break. I'm not that familiar with Mellow Mellow, but this track was good enough they included it on their full CD released on the Astralwerks label a year later.
Track: Dream Drums (Junior Vasquez's All Over The Sound Factory Mix)
Label: Eightball Records
Fred Jorio (aka Lectroluv) is a NY-based producer who helped define tribal house in the early 90s. Junior Vasquez constructed an epic remix to Dream Drums, instantly creating a club classic that popularized the tribal genre.
This site profiles my favorite classic house tracks. Most selections are from the 80s and 90s with a strong - but not exclusive - deep house, progressive and old school Chicago influence. Since many have asked, there's no single definition of classic house music, but Ishkur has an excellent guide to electronica music that can serve as a primer for anyone interested. I know some of the videos get pulled due to copyright issues - just search on YouTube since most stuff gets re-upped anyway.