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NYC Dub mixes

August 1, 2013

There’s a common misconception that its a simple fact that House music was born in Chicago. The story goes that Frankie Knuckles discovered this music and made it famous at The Ware-house. Hence “House”. End of story…

Except its rarely as straight forward as that. For a start, Frankie Knuckles was no Chicago native – he was a New York DJ, specifically asked in 1977 to bring the sound of NYC disco to Chicago. Added to that – when artists like Jesse Saunders were producing the first House records in about 1984, The Warehouse was already history – Frankie had left 2 years earlier to open The Power Plant and the old place had become Ron Hardy’s Music Box. You’d be hard pushed to identify a single Chicago House record that was ever played at The Warehouse.

As with most musical styles, what we now know as House music evolved over many years from many sources. The wonderful Gridface.com Features: House Roots pages gives a run down of some of those sources: Disco, Italo, Left-field and (handily for me!) the early 80s dub mixes of NYC. Now I’m not going to “make a case for house music originating in New York”, but if the records listed here had a big impact in the development of Chicago House, its impossible to measure their importance in NYC’s own house music evolution a few years later. If you can’t be arsed clicking through to Gridface (you really should), here’s 3 to whet your appetite:

Dub is more than just an influence in the story of New York’s deep house evolution – it’s at its core. In a 1992 interview for Kai Fikentscher’s You Better Work! Underground Dance Music In New York, Victor Simonelli explains “To tell you the truth, most of the stuff that gets played in clubs around the city would be considered dubs”. François Kervorkian’s Deep Space mission statement expresses his wish “to create a special welcoming atmosphere for those who appreciate music and dub.” Wild Pitch’s Bobby Konders 1st love was and is reggae and dub – as Massive B he’s the host of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Dancehall station Massive B Soundsystem 96.9.

When I listen to the deep house of NYC from the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, it’s those dub influences that really define it.

From → Artists

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