Tuesday, March 15, 2011
To define house is like trying to nail a manifesto to a bubble. Each time you hammer it goes "pop." So where are the parameters? It's a question that nowadays is as far away from being satisfactorily answered as ever. One's definition of house can play an important part here, but if, like me, you adhere to the hoary old chestnut "house is a feeling" it can never be truly pinned down. House is John Coltrane, David Bowie, Sparks, Move D, Jeff Mills, the monologues of William Burroughs and it's musical spirit is nowhere more evident at the moment than in the eclectic, cross-pollinating spirit of dubstep, UK funky and grime, or bass, as is now the common parlance.
I rarely listen to individual tracks or albums on the Ipod, preferring mixes instead. The Last FM scroll on the right reflects home listening exclusively, a lot of which is listened to for reviewing purposes. I listen to mixes through my Ipod classic, which doesn't have scrabbling that registers on the scroll. In any case I'm a serial downloader and cyber hoarder and consume music at an alarming rate. I'm extremely pleased, but not surprised that, as I approach my half-century - not until October next year, so I've got some time to prepare my mid-life crisis - I've lost none of my enthusiasm. Indeed, I will be making some forays into the world of music-making over the next year or so. It has always been a dream of mine to run a label and to make some music. However, being a product first of punk, and then of house, I've maybe appreciated the DIY ethic a bit too much and consequently failed to learn any instrument, acoustic or synthetic. DJing has and will be my preferred form of musical communication, its versatility saving one from the boredom of endlessly rehearsing the same music and being able to spontaneously engage with an audience on a variety of levels. I've always had ideas though, and the ground has never been more fertile, so watch this space.
Anyway, to emphasise how interesting things are at the moment, here's a link to the most recent Essential Mix, courtesy of Kode9. and one that's been around for a few weeks now but I forgot to link to it before; this set from Peter van Hoesen at Berghain. Two guys both at the top of their respective trees and making it all sound very effortless indeed. They are both very much "house" to my ears, even though they defy convention as often as they can. The last three Essential Mixes have been great, and it'll be a nostalgia fest for the next one with Dimitri from Paris. How long before Tiesto comes in to stop the rot?
I hope the videos are all self-explanatory in the context of this piece.