Chicago House Music 1986-1994

On to part two of my monumental trilogy of mixes dedicated to the US roots of House and Techno! The artwork above, which I have always loved, turned out on closer investigation to be by an old friend of mine Suzy Godson who is now the deliciously controversial sex columnist for The Times.


Detroit produced an army of shaolin monks toiling away to finely hone masterpieces of neurotic electro. Chicago's approach could haven't been more different. Disco, not electro, was always the template and rather than working away in cloistered obscurity Chicago producers seemed under an invisible pressure to commit their ideas to tape as quickly as possible before someone else had the same idea. Often, as is perfectly illustrated by the trio of "Video Crash", "Video Clash" and Magic Feet" producers pretty much released the same track.

This closely-fought squabble for near-identical intellectual capital is hilariously highlighted in the story of JM Silk and Farley "Jackmaster" Funk's very names. Silk announced one afternoon to his friend Farley that he intended to call himself "Jackmaster". Farley thought this was too great an idea to let his friend keep and went around the neighborhood that evening announcing that henceforth he was to be known as Farley "Jackmaster" Funk. The next day the furious and chastened Silk had to contract his choice to "JM".

Tracks always seem as though they are mixed live, the hurry extending to pressing the discs themselves which often suffer from legendarily bad pressings. To criticise this is to fail to grasp the breathless urgency which gives this music its astonishing raw energy. Originality isn't the cherished concept it is in Detroit so the brilliant inventiveness of the music is a testament to the genius of its creators.

Recorded live on the 1210s the mix is, again, arranged chronologically. It moves from the early Jacking sound, to Vocal House to Acid. Acid is most definitely still in the air. There's the splendid pHarmerz "20 Acid Clonk Greats" release and as recently yesterday FACT posted a playlist of TB-303 tunes an instrument with which shows up in the strangest places. DJing Acid requires nuff chops because, unlike Techno with which you can be "neat and discrete" and chop into a new track, Acid is intended to be layered. The long segue is essential to get those 303s chattering in sync and to produce the rich, multiplied harmonics.

After Acid there's a palate-refreshing sequence of Hip-House before a touch of, I guess, proto Ambient House (by the likes of Virgo) before a stretch of the hard Jacking post-acid sound whose most notable protagonist must be the godlike Steve Poindexter and found its home on the peerless Muzique label. Towards the end of the mix Cajmere and his Clubhouse and Relief stables predominate. By this stage there is the sense that Chicago's distinct local identity is beginning to be subsumed into New York's. This is exemplified by Pierre's move to that city and his Wild Pitch mixes on that city's Strictly Rhythm label.

Word must go out to my illustrious ancestor Sir Herbert Ingram who perished with his young son on Lake Michigan in 1860. My aunt, the family historian, contradicts this Wikipedia entry and tells me that Herbert had joined all the passengers on one side of the steamer so as to have a view of Chicago and that this action caused the boat to capsize and for them to be drowned in the freezing waters.


Jamie Principle - Your Love (Original Mix)
Fingers Inc - Can You Feel It (Martin Luther King Mix)
Fingers Inc - Waterfalls
Adonis - No Way Back
Robert Owens - Bring Down The Walls
CJ & Master - Dub Love
Jungle Wonz - Time Marches On (Straight Up Mix)
Fingers Inc - Music Take Me Up
Jungle Wonz - The Jungle
Blakk Society - Just Another Lonely Day
Da Possee (feat Martell) - Searchin' Hard (House Mix)
Joe Smooth - Promised Land
Ralphi Rosario (feat Xavier Gold) - You Used To Hold Me (Micky 'Mixin' Oliver Mix)
Pierre's Fantasy Club - Dream Girl (Ralphi Rosario Mix)
Adonis - Reck This Joint
Hot Hanas Hula - Hot Hands
Armando - 151 (Orig. Mix)
Armando - 151 (Hot Mix 5 Mix)
Farley "Jackmaster" Funk - The Acid Life
Armando - Confusion Mix ("Land Of Confusion")
K Alexei - Vertigo
Steve Poindexter - Maniac
Bam Bam - Where's Your Child?
DJ Pierre - Box Energy
LNR - Kream (Till The Cows Come Home Mix)
Phuture Phantasy Club - Slam
Da Possee - In The Heat Of The Night (Vocal Version)
K Alexei - All For Lee Sah
The "Chicago Bad Boy" (feat Gershon Jackson) - House Music All Night Long (New York Club Mix)
The DJ Fast Eddie - YoYo Get Funky
Tyree - Video Crash (Crash Instrumental)
Lil Louis - The Original Video Clash (Often Imitated Never Duplicated)
The MD Connection - Magic Feet (Orig.)
William S - I'll Never Let You Go (Instrumental Mix)
Virgo - In A Vision
Da Possee - It's My Life (Aluh Mix)
Ron Trent - The Afterlife
Terry Hunter - Back 2 House (The House Mix)
Mike Dearborn - 1991 (A New Age)
Steve Poindexter - Body Heat (1991)
Steve Poindexter - Mental Problems
Ricky Smith - Crazy Drums
LNR - Work It To The Bone
Neal Howard - To Be Or Not To Be (Mayday Mix)
Cajmere - Mind Gamez
Cajmere - I'm A Dreamer
DJ Rush - Jack N Da Box
Steve Poindexter - Entercourse Of The New Age
Jungle Wonz - Bird In A Gilded Cage (Club Mix)
Green Velvet - Flash (Green Velvet Mix)
Robert Armani - Circus Bells (Armando's Mix)
Phuture - Rise From Your Grave (Wild Pitch Mix)
Chez N Trent - Untitled