Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The History of House & Techno > Part 1: The Beginning of a new Youth Culture

In the early 80s a new music style developed in Chicago and New York. It was completely electronically produced and very easy to dance thanks to strongly emphasized 4/4-beats. The music was called "House", named after the club "Warehouse” in Chicago. The resident DJ Frankie Knuckles was the driving force here.

While the sound in Chicago was influenced by Euro-Electronic-Beats, the style in New York was a bit different and characterized by Soul, Disco and Vocals. The most important club here was the “Paradise Garage” with co-owner and DJ Larry Levan. The sub-genre “Garage” was born.

House was no mass phenomenon, but mainly played in black gay clubs.

This began to change in 1985 with "Acid House", which opened the way for a new Youth Culture. Acid House was actually not invented, but discovered by accident by DJ Pierre from Chicago. He bought in a second hand shop a weird instrument called "TB-303".

This device was built by one of the largest manufacturers for electronic music instruments, the Japanese company “Roland”. In 1982 they introduced this monophonic, analogue bass synthesizer, which also had a sequencer in it. It had a keyboard octave and six knobs, with which you could modulate the bass line in real time. Originally designed for one-man-bands and amateur entertainers, the “303” was a huge flop for the manufacturer. It sounded not at all like a bass guitar, and 400$ for this was way too expensive. After only 18 months of production time Roland stopped it.

So DJ Pierre experimented with his new toy and discovered quite soon that he is able to stretch and accelerate the tones with the help of the knobs. And on a certain position the sound became really crazy, a kind of chirrup, a sound no one heard before…
DJ Pierre was fascinated and presented his discovery to his two friends Spanky and Herb Jackson. They teamed up for a project called "Phuture" and created a first track with the “303” called "Acid Trax". That was certainly the "Rock around the clock" of the House movement! It was different than any other. Such an incredible sound!

"Acid Trax" was already famous before it was pressed for Trax Records in 1987, because the DJs copied the tape like crazy. It is said even ordinary people on the streets of Chicago have known it. Since then House tracks with a TB-303 were called "Acid House". A lot of people suddenly demanded this device, too bad for Roland they destroyed the construction plans. The style continued to develop rapidly, got its own characteristics in contrast to "normal" House. This went even so far that the use of the "303" was no longer mandatory.

Acid House was now ready to conquer the world

Text by Joe Landen

Coming soon: Part 2 - Ibiza and the new drug

Pictures & Sources:
1 DJ Frankie Knuckles
2 Streetsign in Chicago
3 Building of the former Paradise Garage, New York Dpinnyc
4 DJ Larry Levan
5 DJ Pierre
Roland TB-303

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