|The beginnings of House
It all started in Chicagos Southside in 1977, when a new kind of club opened. This new Chicago club called The Warehouse gave House music its name. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop. It was at this legendary club where many of the experiments were tried. It was also where Acid House got its start.
House was the first direct descendant of disco. In comparison with disco, House was "deeper", "rawer", and more designed to make people dance. Disco had already produced the first records to be aimed specifically at DJs with extended 12" versions that included long percussion breaks for mixing purposes. The early 80s proved a vital turning point. Sinnamons "Thanks To You", D-Trains "You're The One For Me", and The Peech Boys "Dont Make Me Wait", a record that has been continually sampled over the last decade, took things in a different direction with their sparse, synthesised sounds that introduced dub effects and drop-outs that had never been heard before.
Larry and Frankie attended the Loft parties regularly. It was not only a place of joy but also a place where they became acquainted for the first time with the techniques of House music. Mancuso taught them about creating a perfect House music: about sound, lighting, production, music and DJ techniques.
There have been various views of who is the inventor of House music. For example, Leonard Remix RRoy asserted that he had given birth to House in May 1981. LRRoy was a remarkable and much respected DJ. He also claimed that he had invented the term "House music" in the spring of 1981.
House music was created in and by the African American community. Musically, House music evolved in Chicago and New York from African-American musical traditions like gospel, soul, jazz and funk as well as Latin salsa. Spiritually and aesthetically, it developed in the U.S. out of the need of oppressed people, African Americans, gays and Latinos, to build a community through dance , and later in the UK, out of the need of young people dissatisfied with the meaningless materialism of Thatchers England, to build an alternative community of music and dance via Acid House. From a different point of view, House music in the U.S. was associated with black people, with gay clubs, basically with things that white America would not even acknowledge.
House was just perceived as "gay" music for blacks and thus scorned by whites, although its aim was to unify people of all races, backgrounds and sexual orientations. According to Frankie Knuckles, many people could not and still cannot deal with the fact that House music started in gay clubs. Thus, narrow-mindedness, racism, and even corporate music politics played an important role in preventing House music from flourishing in the U.S. in the eighties.
House music had its origins in gospel, soul and funk rather than in commercial disco music. Furthermore, Chicago jazz, blues and soul had an immense influence on the creation of House music. There were significant Midwestern musical influences that led to the creation of the Chicago flavour of House music. No doubt, the Midwest had its own tradition of African American music. Thus, blues and jazz presented a part of the mix. To sum up, the soul music produced in Chicago, Detroit and Memphis certainly had an impact on Chicago house.
In the early seventies the DJs tools began to improve as the market for dance music began to expand. Yet, the beginnings were hard, for there were only two types of records available, 45s and 33 1/3 LPs, which had "A" sides and "B" sides, and different songs were recorded on both sides. A record which allowed more creativity, namely 12" dance mixes specifically intended for DJs, had not yet appeared on the market. DJs had to manage without basic equipment such as DJ mixers or headphones. What is more, the turntables ran only at two speeds, 45 RPMs and 33 1/3 RPMs. It was impossible to vary the speed, so the turntable moved continuously. In practice, it could be described as follows: DJs started to play one record. Then they took it off the turntable, prepared another record, put this one on and played it. In reality, "putting on and taking off" the record cannot be called mixing. As expected, DJs needed time to change the vinyl disc and thus dancers had to wait between the records.
This technique was probably invented - or at least given currency - by DJ Francis Grosso and widely used by radio station DJs. It required much practice with individual recordings, great agility, and nerves of steel. Great turntablists of the seventies like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash developed such techniques into an art form.
The success of House in the U.K.
In reality, Acid House had already started in Chicago in 1985. DJ Pierre and some friends pushed a button on their Roland 303 and found that that Acid sound was already in it. They produced a track called "Acid Trax" which, they allege, was stolen by Ron Hardy and delivered as "Ron Hardys Acid Trax".
As Pierre once said, "Phuture was me and two other guys, Spanky and Herbert J. We had this Roland 303, which was a bassline machine, and we were trying to figure out how to use it. When we switched it on, that acid sound was already in it and we liked the sound of it so we decided to add some drums and make a track with it. We gave it to Ron Hardy who started playing it straight away. In fact, the first time he played it, he played it four times in one night! The first time people were like, what the fuck is it? but by the fourth they loved it. Then I started to hear that Ron was playing some new thing they were calling Ron Hardys Acid Trax, and everybody thought it was something hed made himself. Eventually we found out that it was our track so we called it Acid Trax. I think we may have made it as early as 1985, but Ron was playing it for a long time before it came out."
There have been various explanations for the term Acid. The most popular was that acid used to be put in the water at the Music Box. Pierre though, emphasises that Phuture was always anti-drugs, and cites a track about a cocaine nightmare, "Your only friend" that was on the same EP as "Acid Trax". "Acid Trax" came out in 1986 but did not prove to be successful outside Chicago. The first Acid track to make it to vinyl was called "Ive Lost Control" which was made by Adonis and Marshall Jefferson.
Scratching in 1937? Believe it or not, sound mixing was not born in the 1980s. Take a look at the important dates and recordings that have defined music mixing.
Table adapted from: http://twix.com/music_in_history.html
If you want to learn to style with the best of them, you have to know the difference between a "tear scratch" and a "chirp scratch". Here are mixology words that will help you get your "act" together.
Baby scratch: Simple pushing and pulling of the record back and forth under the needle in a rhythmic manner. This scratch is the basis for all othe scratches.
Breakdown: A basic beat juggling technique consisting of a manual slowdown of the beat by using the hand to rhythmically pause the record on every beat count.
Chirp scratch: Pulling the record backwards with the crossfader on, turning it off at the end of the sound, and turning it back on as the forward stroke is initiated.
Crab scratch: Popularised by DJ Q-Bert, this is a three-click flare scratch using a drumming motion of four fingers on the crossfader to create faster, syncopated sound.
Drag: A slow, long pushing or pulling of the record.
Fills: A basic beat juggling technique performed by playing one record and cutting in a sound element from the second, such as a snare or bass drum. For example, the kick drum of the second record is used to double or triple the kick drum of the first record.
Flare scratch: A scratch consisting of turning the fader on, moving the record forward while turning the crossfader off and on in a quick rhythm, then moving the record back to the start of the sound in two stages while still moving the crossfader back and forth in a rhythm. This complex scratch has many variations.
Forward scratch: The record is pushed forward with the crossfader on, playing a sound, then cut off with the crossfader, rewound to the beginning of the sound silently and played again.
Hydroplane: A scratch performed by pushing the record in any direction with one hand while applying counter pressure with a finger from the opposite hand. The finger should bounce along the record surface, creating a "bubbly" sound.
Looping: A basic beat juggling technique. The DJ plays one section of a record and then switches over to the same beat on another copy of the record while rewinding the first record, then switches back to the first record while rewinding the second one.
Orbit: A term used to descrie any scratch that can be performed forward and backward.
Rub: Similar to a hydroplane, except the forward and/or background strokes are slowed down as if the sound is decelerating.
Scribble: A very fast, vibrating sound created by holding the record idle and tensing the muscles in the arm, causing the record to move back and forth very quickly over a small distance.
Stab scratch: Similar to forward scratch, but the sound is cut off and repeated faster.
Tear: A tear is performed by moving forward or backward with pauses between strokes, all within a single sound or sample on the record. A two forward tear would be forward, pause, forward, pause creating the sound "ahh, hhh, hhh".
Transformer: A scratch performed by moving the crossfader to a rhythm while dragging the record back and forth or letting it play by itself.
adapted from: http://twix.com/mix_terms.html
It is all about technique. That is what separates the players from the posers in the world of DJ mixing. Check out the essential scratches every mix master should know.
adapted from: http://twix.com/how_to_mix.html