Sunday, June 05, 2011
Axis Of Evil?
It seems to worry some people that the direction of house music is currently in the hands of a motley crew of young upstarts just as intent on having a good time as making good music. Hedonism and house haven't always been the cosy bedfellows one might be led to believe. This has been the case more and more lately largely due to battle lines having been drawn between nerds and more nerds. Let me elaborate. It seems the done thing to take the lofty position of definer of house, that definition almost always being on the deep side, in order to differentiate from the relatively formulaic, but undeniably catchy and effective, sound that is currently making waves at the moment and has been for the last two years. I'm talking of course of those chaps in the Hot Creations camp, and, to a lesser but no less important extent, the relatively young Visionquest crew. Over both of these camps like some benign, but calculating svenghali, is draped the spectre of Crosstown Rebels.
So on the one side we've got the composite being of Hot Creations, Hot Waves and Hot Natured, on the other we've got Visionquest and their cohorts - an honourable mention goes to Benoit and Sergio, the Siegfried and Roy of house. How did we get here? Well, after a fair few years of minimal, stripped-down grooves, some of which are only now just ebbing away, the time was ripe for a change. Deep house, the street-cred stalwart of many a beer-belly endowed DJ has always been there, and has risen to prominence a lot recently, thanks in no small way to East Coast DJs such as Jus' Ed, DJ Qu and Fred P, as well as Steffi from Holland/Berlin. Of course this skims the surface and far more than these are involved in the music. Often impossible to differentiate it from certain strains of techno, its strength is in its versatility, its weakness in its reputation for geekdom. This is where the problem lies; schooled in all house styles and with depth, as well as libido and bass, Hot Creations bring the disco, Visionquest bring the rave, and they complement each other effortlessly.
Neither of these labels, and more specifically surrogate parent Crosstown Rebels, are wanting for credibility, publicity or plaudits. They've come a long way in a short time but their success was calculated and is no accident. What possibly gets on certain people's wick is the fact that success and fun seems to be going hand in hand. How can it be possible to be that good and hedonistic? Anyway, it's been a long time coming and the fact that it's arrived was always on the cards. It won't last forever but it has the opportunity to mutate and cross-pollinate a lot more successfully than many past strains. It's a resolutely Anglo-Saxon take on the genre that finds its true home in the sun and, more importantly, it's very much in touch with its feminine side.