Canadian Classic House, Episode #3 – I’m Hot For You – L’il Louis

Let’s clear up some confusion first.  No, this is not Lil Louis who brought us the legendary anthem “French Kiss“, but rather a cheeky alias for some Toronto-based DJs who grabbed a few choice soul samples, dropped them over a fairly basic beat and made one of the best records ever to come out of Toronto’s early house scene.

The alias likely is derived from the source of the track’s lovely rolling bassline which comes courtesy of producer Lee Lewis’ 1989 release “Atmosphere“.  This led to bootleg copies of “I’m Hot For You” floating around Toronto incorrectly titled with the Lee Lewis song name.

The vocal hook and title originate from a sample of the acapella of Karen Young‘s 1983 single “Hot for You“.  A simple layering of vocal, bassline and beats resulted in a record that was not usually excluded from a good house set in Toronto.  SPG Music wisely gave us a proper pressing including remixes from fellow Toronto DJ/producers Mitch Winthrop and the Stickmen who would go on to become established and respected players in the scene themselves.  The incessant bassline and sing-along quality of the lyrics help lift this record out of the underground clubs and on to dance music radio playlists and mixshows.  Still a killer throwback tune to drop today and ladies love this one.  Always a favourite to kick a classic house set off in style.

Classic House Series Episode #15 – Pumpin’ – Novy vs. Eniac

Heavy is a great work to describe this classic tune.  A mixture of electro, techno and hard house with a vocal hook that will stick in your head long after the club is over, this one will definitely take the vibe from lukewarm to hot whenever it’s played.

While not the first collaboration between German producers Tom Novy and Eniac, “Pumpin’” remains one of their most popular and enduring releases.  Novy has a lengthy history of releases and achieved success with hits including “I Rock“, “Now or Never” and “Your Body“.  Eniac is no stranger to club and chart success either, most notably with “Loneliness” as Tomcraft, his collaboration with fellow German producer Thomas Bruckner.

Thundering beats, stabbing snares and a throbbing bassline are the order of the day in “Pumpin’“, offset by a warped bass note heard throughout and a vocal sample which drove DJs crazy trying to figure out where the lyrics came from.  Thankfully, a few good DJs with some hip-hop history brought us the answer.

The looped vocal comes courtesy of a sample of the old-school hip-hop classic Uknowhowwedu” from female hip-hop artist Bahamadia, a sample that should be familiar to old-school heads from its previous use in Lil’ Kim‘s “Crush On You“.  After digging for it for quite some time, I was pleased to track down a copy of the original release at Toronto’s Cosmo Records.  There’s a great little place to find some true classics in the T-Dot, by the way.

The whole track is fantastic, particularly the breakdown that comes in midway that consists of some distorted acid-like feedback, cleverly manipulated to provide maximum chaos on the dancefloor.  Remixes came courtesy of Germany’s Timo Maas, Bluefish and Flickman with the latter’s remix getting a radio edit for CD release and actually receiving some decent airplay in many markets including Canada.  In my humble opinion, go for the full 10-minute long original and give your crowd an electro-tinged workout with some serious old-school flava!

Classic House Series Episode #14 – Promised Land – Joe Smooth

Love was the message in many early anthems that we now refer to as classic house.  There are few tracks that really stand out as those that defined a genre, but one such track is “Promised Land by Joe Smooth.

A self-taught musician who began making his own tunes at the age of 12, Smooth came up in Chicago’s house music scene and quickly became in-demand as a DJ and remixer.  In addition to his own productions, Smooth has provided remixes for a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Pet Shop Boys, Janet Jackson and many others.  Smooth continues to be an important part of the house music scene and in 2015 he launched his own label Indie Art Music with releases topping the Traxsource and Beatport charts.

Promised Land” retains the signature sounds of classic house combining synth strings, piano chords and, of course, a song which speaks about fostering a sense of peace, unity and love, all hallmarks of the classic house sound.  Lyrically, the song is designed to tug at your heartstrings and when played, the are few tracks that really invoke a sense of community on the dancefloor.  “When the angels from above fall down and spread their wings like doves….” is one of the most poignant lyrics I’ve ever heard in a house record and it is not uncommon to see tears trickle from the eyes of a true house music devotee when this one is played.  Perfect for a late-night set, I’ve seen this record change the vibe of a night for over 2 decades and when looking at the best house music that exists, this classic anthem has to remain near or at the top of any list of true classic house anthems.

 

 

Classic House Series Episode #13 – La Mouche(Played Alive by DJ Falcon Remix) – Cassius

France’s DJ Falcon is one of the more unique contributors to the French House scene; his discography includes but a handful of releases, but they include some of the most important and genre-defining tracks in house music.  From his critically acclaimed debut EP Hello My Name Is DJ Falcon on Thomas Bangalter‘s Roule label, to his collaborations with Bangalter under the alias Together (Together and So Much Love To Give), his output may not be huge, but just about everything he puts his name on turns to gold.

Cassius, consisting of Phillipe Zdar and Boombass, enjoyed similar success in the late 90’s with their debut album 1999 and singles Cassius 1999 and Feeling For You.  La Mouche was also released as a single and though it may not have been as popular as the others, an absolutely cracking remix courtesy of DJ Falcon led this track to become one of the most powerful French House tunes to hit the clubs in a long time.

Falcon mercilessly loops a sample of “The Rock Is Hot” by Crown Heights Affair and adds some pumping house beats to the mix.  The big moment comes a little after the 5 minute mark when the EQs are played with, dropping out everything except the bass which not only sounds great on a big system, but is sure to throw your crowd for a loop(no pun intended).  House music legend Joey Negro sampled Falcon’s remix for his own tune “Fascinated” in 2002 bringing some exposure back to the remix.

Featured on numerous compilations including the excellent French House compendium My House In Montmartrethis is a true gem of the genre and worthy of a spin at any time you want to take your crowd on a ride.