Classic House Series Episode #21 – T.I.T.T.S(Take It To The Street)/ Music Box – The Buffalo Bunch

Any Daft Punk fan worth their salt knows that beyond the scope of their studio albums and live shows Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have forged their own successful solo projects through their labels Roule and Crydamoure respectively.

Thomas’ Roule label was arguably the more commercially successful of the two, particularly with the massive worldwide popularity of Music Sounds Better With You” – Stardust, and later releases featured Thomas’ collaborations with DJ Falcon under their Together alias.  Roule also released the debut single “Vertigo” by Alan Braxe and singles from house legends Roy Davis Jr. and Romanthony, who would provide vocals on “One More Time” and “Too Long” from DP’s Discovery album.

The Crydamoure sound was also built on the above formula but took an even more bare, stripped-back approach to production and focused on sampling (and microsampling) obscure R&B and disco loops, then drowning them in effects and filters.  The bulk of the Crydamoure catalogue comes directly from Guy-Man and label partner Eric Chedeville under their guise of Le Knight Club, together with collaborations and releases from DJ Sneak, Sedat the Turkish Avenger, and the Buffalo Bunch.

Consisting of Guy-Man’s brother Paul de Homem-Christo and Romain Seo, the Buffalo Bunch have the distinction of being the only artists to have a release of Roule’s sister label Scratche.  The single, “Buffalo Club” was well received but it wasn’t until the release of their double-single on Crydamoure that people really took notice.

The A-side, Take It To The Street, loops a portion of Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” over the hi-hat and cymbal heavy percussion the Bunch are known for.  Definitely a decent tune, but IMHO the real gem lies on the flip.

Music Box is an absolute cracker of a tune and was created by combining three different samples; “New York City” – Boney M. and “No, No, Joe” and “Thank You, Mr. DJ” both by Silver Connection.  The samples are delightfully obscure, but come together over some tough-as-nails beats to create a delightful disco house stomper.  Check out the video above to see how the sampling was done as this remains my favourite Crydamoure release and whips a crowd into a frenzy.

Classic House Series Episode #20 – 2Future4U EP – Armand van Helden

2futurecover

When discussing the term “longevity” as it relates to house music, one must certainly give big credit to Boston native Armand van Helden.  Since 1993, AVH has been at the forefront of house music and created a signature sound that can veer from uplifting and melodic to dark, tribal and downright evil.  His early productions had a darker, tribal edge to them as was the case with his breakout hit “Witch Doktor“, which remains a great track to this day and showed me that even the more underground side of house could work with commercial audiences when done properly.  His remixography could fill an encyclopedia and these days it’s more of a question of “who hasn’t he remixed???”  He created such enduring club classics as “The Funk Phenomena“, “My My My” and “Hear My Name” and a plethora of full-length albums to accompany them.  In 1998, however, he gave us what may well be his most enjoyable release.

1998 was the year of disco-house.  Daft Punk, Stardust, Phats & Small and a host of others scored serious hits using filtered loops, house beats and occasionally a guest vocalist singing over top.  When Mr. van Helden release his 2Future4U EP as a teaser to the full-length album that would drop a few months later, the crossover hit “U Don’t Know Me” featuring Duane Harden definitely fell into this category and once DJs found out that this 2xLP with the somewhat bizarre-looking cover was the place to find it, the EP was quickly snapped up in favour of waiting for a 12″ single release.

Upon arriving home and listening to the 5 tracks, it soon became evident that this was a very unique release.  Instead of copying the U Don’t Know Me formula over again, people discovered that not only was every track on the EP amazing, but quite varied as well.  Let’s take a quick track-by-track look at what goodies lay hidden on this gem:

1.  Mother Earth feat. Tekitha from Wu-Tang Clan

Moody, brooding and featuring frequent Wu-Tang collaborator Tekitha, this is a great opener and clocking in a nearly 10 minutes, it’s downright hypnotizing if heard in its entirety.

2.  Psychic Bounty Killerz  Pt. 2 feat. DJ Sneak

Opening with a cheesy pizzicato riff, a direct slag at Sash!, Faithless and others who were profiting off tracks like this at the time, it’s soon cut off with a hail of gunshots before descending into madness.  Any track featuring the talents of both Sneak and AVH is sure to please, this one delightfully sampling “You Stepped Into My Life” – Melba Moore and “Freelance” – Grandmaster Flash (the lyric is “disco dream on the mean machine”), and featuring scratches and stutter samples galore, I have seen this one shred many a dancefloor.

3.  U Don’t Know Me feat. Duane Harden

This was the track that sucked everyone in.  When van Helden left Harden alone in the studio to write a song over the loop he had created using the now instantly recognizable string from “Dance With You” – Carrie Lucas and the drums from the legendary “Plastic Dreams” – Jaydee while he took a nap, I don’t think he could have predicted what the end result would be:  vocal disco house at its finest and endearing enough to be pulled out to this day.

4.  Entra Mi Casa feat. Mita

Dirty, sexy, latin-tribal house with vocalist Mita moaning some allegedly very explicit lyrics in Spanish over top.  Drop this in a club and expect to see steam rising from the dancefloor.

5.  Necessary Evil

There are a few WTF moments on this EP, but none so more than when the needle hit the last track:  a saw???  Yup, a saw sampled from “Keep Your Eye On Me” drives this stomper complete with preacher vocals coming in about halfway through.  You might not initially think so, but this is a club-rocker.

The EP served as a fine introduction to the full-length album which would include further hits “Flowerz” and “The Boogie Monster“.  This one still stands out well on its own and is a must-have for any house DJ.

 

Classic House Series Episode #19 – The Ghetto – Bob Sinclar

1997-1999 were indeed golden years for French house and it wasn’t just Daft Punk that was making some waves at the time.  French DJ/Producer Chris Le Friant, better known by his alter-ego Bob Sinclar, released his debut studio album “Paradise” in 1998, a set of funky, filtered house jams that relied even more heavily on layered disco sampled than his fellow Frenchmen did.

Sinclar’s association with Thomas Bangalter led to the creation of “Gym Tonic”, a track mixed and programmed entirely by Bangalter, and later released as a promo single against Bangalter’s wishes(you can read about that debacle here).  Despite it’s popularity the single, in Toronto anyway, was difficult to find leading many DJs including myself to simply grab the full album on vinyl.  “Paradise” turned out to contain several club-worthy tracks, including a little gem, “The Ghetto“.

By combining elements from a live recording of soul legend Donny Hathaway‘s “The Ghetto” and George Benson’s classic “The World is a Ghetto“, Sinclar threw together a funky stomper of a tune that made my jaw drop when I first heard it at Toronto’s legendary Venus nightclub during our Saturday sessions.  Over the coming weeks, people would seem to lose their minds when the delirious piano loops came in and the track remains a favourite of mine to pull out every now and again.  Despite “Gym Tonic” getting most of the shine, this cut and the album as a whole are not to be overlooked and stand out as true French house classics.