House music is rooted in the locale and conditions of its making. Spawned on the dancefloors of the South Side of Chicago before spreading to the post-industrial lassitude of Detroit’s empty warehouses, it was a music for the dejected and marginalised: queer, black, latino – in the (sampled) words of DJ Sprinkles, “house music is controllable desire you can own.”
The commodification of this sonic desire meant its rapid dispersal to Europe and especially the UK, mediating the conditions of its making and the intentions of its playing through the hedonistic dancefloors of Thatcher’s Britain. Jump forward three decades and house music is now so enmeshed within the musical vernacular that its 4/4 foundations can be found scattered through the most commodified of genres: pop.
Yet, all meaning is not lost, and elements of authenticity remain. In Detroit, labels like Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature and Moodymann’s Mahogani Music put forth a vision of vocal-forward house, politically charged and engineered for dancefloor movement. And for Ayman Rostom, aka The Maghreban, Guildford is the new Detroit.
Read the review on the Quietus.
[This piece was published on 03/04/18]