Classic House Series Episode #32 – Two Fatt Guitars – Direckt

The late 90s could be considered the golden age of disco house, especially with the strong influence of the French Touch sound that was dominant at the time.  Strong releases from Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, Armand van Helden and others would serve to define the sound, but there remains a plethora of great disco house tracks that pre-date the explosion seen in 1997 and Direckt’s anthem “Two Fatt Guitars” stands out as one of the best.

Here’s a tip for any house producers reading this:  if you’re looking for some great disco tunes to sample, grab a Chic record.  You’ll likely have a much easier time getting a nice, clean loop from their material than some others you may have tried.   Formed by the late Bernard Edwards and producer turned Daft Punk collaborator Nile Rodgers, Chic remains one of the tightest bands you will ever hear and their impact and influence on musical styles ranging from hip-hop to hard rock is arguably unparalleled.

For Direckt (Michael Kirwin and Daniel Bennett), nicking a few samples of Chic’s 1978 megahit “Le Freak” was a wise move indeed.  With sales of over seven million, “Le Freak” was Atlantic Records‘ biggest-selling single until it was topped by Madonna‘s “Vogue“.  With it’s fantastic interplay between Rodgers’ “chucking” guitar licks and Edwards’ booming bass, after over 21 years of DJing “Le Freak” remains not only my favorite Chic song, but my favorite disco record of all time.

Taking a few snippets of the main guitar riff, Direckt drops them over a similarly funky house beat and tops the whole thing off with some serious sub-rattling bass and a bit of old-school ragga toasting.  The funky factor is out of bounds on this one and with the added bonus of the instantly recognizable guitar loop, this one is a floor filler whenever I pull it out.

Classic House Series, Episode #2: Superstylin’ – Groove Armada

For me the best part of this tune is like the best part of a good roller coaster:  THE DROP!!!

If you want to know what it sounds like to be hit by a sonic boom, stand very close to the speaker the next time you hear this one in a club (it’ll happen).  This sun-drenched piece of funk combines the huge basslines of the speed-garage movement that was very popular at the time, with live percussion and a ragga-laced vocal to create my favourite tune of 2001 and one that never leaves my crate.

You’ll recognize Groove Armada (Tom Findlay and Andy Cato) as the electronic wizards who gave us 1999’s big-beat classic “I See You Baby“(featured in NUMEROUS commercials and films thanks to a big, silly remix from a big, silly remixer, Fatboy Slim).  With their second album, the fantastic “Goodbye Country, Hello Nightclub“, the band sought to move away from the more chilled sounds of their debut LP “Vertigo” to deliver some pumping anthems aimed squarely at the dancefloor.  They succeeded brilliantly, with “Superstylin'” becoming one of the most played club anthems around the world and establishing the lads as a driving force in combining the hottest elements of club music with live musicians and pop sensibility.

This one was nominated, but sadly passed over, for the Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2003(???), and IMHO definitely deserved to win.  Not only was the production top-notch (including the infamous DROP before the bassline kicks in) but it definitely had a good sing-along vibe thanks to the ragga-influenced vocals from M.C. M.A.D.  The arrangement alternates between some full-on stomp moments and a few breaks to “just recline….” and catch your breath before the drop comes in again.

Like many acts who released tunes during this time period, this track was way ahead of its time and still sounds amazing on a soundsystem today.  I’ve worked it in everywhere from clubs to weddings to private parties and it always goes down in a storm.  I dare anyone to try to NOT shake their booty when the percussion lines come in, it simply ain’t happening.  Always a welcome favourite in my sets, this is definitely one to pull out and play out again, the smile on your crowd’s face will say it all.  Pure class.

Classic House Series, Episode #1: Lovelee Dae – Blaze

Spring is officially here and what better way to kick off the new Classic House series here on thekeytothehouse than with this timeless classic.  One listen to the lyrics “It’s a lovely day, and the sun is shining” and you’re in a good mood and ready to go.

Acclaimed production duo Blaze are the minds behind this beautiful slice of classic house.  Comprised originally of Josh Milan, Kevin Hedge and Chris Herbert, Herbert introduced Milan and Hedge to each other and then ironically left the group in 1991.  Hedge and Milan “blazed” forward, creating a string of classic tunes and remixes that can still be heard in clubs around the world to this day.

Hedge and Milan shared productions duties, vocals and instrumentation and achieved worldwide success with hits including “How Deep Is Your Love”, “My Beat” featuring Palmer Brown, and also composed De’Lacy‘s global club smash “Hideaway”, which has been remixed and reissued numerous times.

I will admit to not having discovered “Lovelee Dae” until about two years ago when I heard it as part of a live mash-up by DJ Falcon at Pacha with his and Thomas Bangalter‘s original version of “Call On Me” (later re-released by Eric Prydz).  The vocal hook was so compelling that I had to track down the original and since I did, it has never left my record box.

1997’s “Lovelee Dae” is the perfect chilled, laid back house tune for a sunny afternoon and still works on the dancefloor to this day.  I love dropping it to give my crowd a little time to catch their breath and enjoy some nostalgia, but it never fails to get heads bobbing and people dancing.  The simple bass kick, hi-hat and snare beat lays the foundation and the gorgeous synths and vocals just seem to wash over the track like a wave of bliss.  Perfect for warm-up or peak time, this one is a definite winner and is a staple part of my classic house sets.

What are your thoughts on this timeless tune?  Please post your thoughts and comments below and let us know how this classic has worked for you over the years!

New House Classics series coming to thekeytothehouse

Hello lovers of house music around the world!

I am pleased to announce an new upcoming series of blogs and posts exclusive to thekeytothehouse.  Over the coming weeks, I will be doing a series of reviews of House Classics here on the site resurrecting some of the classic tunes that I’ve fallen in love with over the course of 16 years behind the decks.  The series will feature detailed information on various tracks, their producers, and their impact on the house scene.

With the way technology and music is evolving, I believe it is still important to look back at the tracks and artists that laid the groundwork for house music and hopefully we can introduce some of these tunes to a new generation of fans, DJs and producers and bring back some of the history that the genre of house music has developed over the years.

If you have a favourite track or artist that you would like to see featured, please comment below or contact me at bookshawnaustin@gmail.com.  Check back for the first post right here at thekeytothehouse by the end of this week!

ERIC PRYDZ TO RELEASE 3-DISC PRYDA SET IN MAY

Fans of Eric Prydz, who has produced some of the best pure progressive-house records ever under his Pryda alias, will finally see a proper CD release from the world-renowned DJ/Producer.

The 3-CD set, “Eric Prydz presents Pryda” will feature a mix of new material and classic Pryda anthems including “Pjanoo”, “MSBOY” and the set-destroying “2Night” to name a few.

The set is slated for release on May 21, 2012, and I’ll definitely be checking this out.  Check back right here on thekeytothehouse for an upcoming post detailing the massive success Eric Prydz has enjoyed.

Check out the full tracklisting and all info on the release here.