STOP CALLING IT DEEP HOUSE!

You heard the new Bondax? Sick deep house, bruv.
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Except it isn’t deep house. Neither is the latest George FitzGerald, nor the next Duke Dumont. Maybe it’s for lack of a better term. Maybe it’s because such sounds are not as bright and bold as, say, Rustie’s glo-step or maybe it’s because there’s more subtlety to it than the latest EDM headache. Who knows? But bulbous, rubbery bass in a club track does not equal deep house.

Without getting too pernickety, incorrect genre blanketing is a plague on plenty of new music. Whether it’s a bass producer being lumped in with dubstep, a juke producer being categorised as future garage or Burial being heralded as the saviour of night bus, ill informed youngsters, out-of-touch music retailers and wannabe bloggers are bandying signifiers around with infuriating abandon.

Whether it’s the result of a lack of historical perspective, laziness or bandwagon jumping does not matter, but it needs to stop. In the case of my beloved deep house, for instance, it’s a genre not just defined by a slight sense of atmosphere, lazy jazz motifs, rounded edges or warm bass notes, it’s about so much more. Or it should be.

House music was barely a scene by the time Larry Heard saw the genre’s potential to be about more than just physical jack trax. As a multi-instrumentalist from a young age, he was one of the first to bring a real sense of musicianship to stripped down, machine-made disco.

By incorporating elements of the soul and jazz he grew up on, Heard unwittingly sophisticated and intellectualised the genre and, even though he probably didn’t know at the time, deep house was born. The term was being used in the UK by 1988 and the Deep House Convention at Leicester Square’s Empire in February of that year featured a number of seminal Chicago artists like Kym Mazelle, Marshall Jefferson and Frankie Knuckles.

If you add into the mix the gospel influences brought by vocalist Robert Owens when he worked with Heard as Fingers Inc in the 80s, you’ve a genre that not only sounds and feels warm, but that produced proper songs with painful and poignant lyrics. From there, the likes of Chez Damier, Ron Trent and Prescription Records perfected the deep house style we know today. It’s deep musically, but so too emotionally, spiritually, sexually and, to some extent in the early days, religiously. It’s deep house. 

And it still is – or can be – but often not in the places we are told. And therein lies the problem. As a deep house bore I worry that anyone who fancies dipping their toe in might stumble on some lite, chart-topping house that’s been described as ‘deep’ by some clueless US blog or misguided scene kid and be turned off forever. Just imagine that for a moment. Imagine a life without Chez and Ron’s steamy ‘Morning Factory’ or Dream2Science or Moods Grooves or any of Theo Parrish’s intoxicating voodoo sermons… Make it stop! These don’t just deal in dope tracks, these make stirring symphonies that shoot straight to your heart.

Of course, deep house is just the start of it. Once you’re down here there’s a spaghetti network of variations on the theme to explore. It’s true they range from terrific to tiring, nostalgic to nauseating, but as well as a spiritual and sexual depth, there’s cosmic depth; music from the outer edges of our galaxy that’s not so much deep as totally bottomless. Whether it’s golden oldies like Abacus or modern mind melters Fred P and Aybee, allow your brain to get lost in their imagery and you’llreally know deep. But probably don’t do so when driving at night. Or when operating heavy machinery – It really is potent stuff.

If sci-fi ain’t your thang, Hamburg crew Smallville excel in a much more earthy and human brand of deep house. Often coming under overcast skies, it’s cuddly and romantic, candle lit and cosy-night-in. Take family member Moomin, with his curious daydream melodies, charming sample selection and loveable hip-hop slouch. Or boss Lawrence, with his molten ambient minimalism. And then there’s subterranean and even subaquatic deep house. Vester Koza deals in the dusty, murky, spacious former and fellow Londoner Youandewan the rippling, echo drench latter, all married to inviting kick drum pulses that add to the sense of sultry seduction.

So, whether exploring the universe or the self, the known or the unknown, real deep house is something you feel in the blood in your veins rather than in the sweat down your face; it’s a feeling not a physical reaction. There’s a place in the world for the garage-influenced and direct house taking the world by storm, but please, stop calling it deep house. You are not only doing the genre itself a disservice (which could, ultimately, lead it to become a dirty word (see: dubstep, minimal, tech house) but in terms of the wider picture you are ill informing the next generation, misleading inquisitive ears and tarnishing the deep house canon in way that makes those most passionate about it angry to the point of self harm. Newcomers are welcome – deep house is not a closed off community only for the bearded and stuffy – but it is the reserve of music that speaks to your soul, not just your sole.

Check out the Universal Grooves Deep House playlist:

IVAN – MESMERIZED (OUT NOW)

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“Mesmerized” is the latest single from the producer Ivan and features the vocals of the beautiful singer, Tonka.

“Mesmerized” is the 11th single to be taken from the producer. A bouncy electronic tune which is complemented well by Tonka’s feminine yet powerful sounding voice. It is a perfect dance club song with its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus. Mesmerized is a great song to get people on the dance floor and is likely to be remixed a bunch of times to add to its club appeal.

With the rumours of an upcoming album, Ivan is saving his best tracks to be used on the album.

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Ben Prada – Summer Love (Out 19th August)

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Last week, Ben Prada dropped a new track called “Summer Love”, his fans response was amazing. Until the vocal hits ( Tonka and her amazing voice ), a true gatecrasher, the kick drums charge forward with a bloodthirstiness bolstered by the chunky, electrified bassline. The only thing more addictive than the song’s unforgettable vocal (by Tonka) is the way it glides with such grace, like you’re actually experienced a Summer Love whilst listening to this amazing track. Even better is the careful manipulation, where the vocal unspools and winds back up around the beat. It’s a pop song, but one with both backbone and instant gratification.

We think it’s safe to say that this track is Ben Prada’s first deep house. Out on the 19th of August, Ben Prada came to stay, and he now deserves a spot on the Deep House top 100.

Listen, enjoy, share and please…

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Ivan – Rise Of The Phoenix (Out 11th August)

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While festival season barely started as we still got 2 months of summer and hot weather, the songs that keep the stages loud sure aren’t slowing down. The theme of this year’s main stage was undoubtedly booming, distorted bass, made popular through tracks by the producers Martin Garrix’s, Axwell’s, Deadmau5’s and Tiesto.

Coming from Portugal, Ivan, the young producer signed by UGR, delivers an orchestral progressive melody with a tidal wave of bass behind it called “Rise of the Phoenix”. Teasing on the edge of hardstyle, its chant-worthy rhythm and floor-shaking beat will easily slot themselves into a number of upcoming main stage sets. With a release on UGR as his first EDM/Big Room track, it’s no surprise that label head Ben Prada had first support on his Identity podcast about a week ago. Since then, Ivan’s track has been heard around the UK. Now, with only a month for the…

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EWAR – Here It Goes (Out 18th August)

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“Here it Goes”, amazing EDM produced by Ewar, his first release with UGR (Universal Grooves Records).

Growing up in the Edmonton area, EWAR (Nicholas Bartlett) has always had a passion and skill for music and audio. At the age of 12, he began learning to play the drums and with only 14 he began producing. In High school, he was highly decorated with performance awards for his involvement in the Contemporary Jazz Band, directed by Rob Graves, head of the ABA. After high school, he went to Pixel Blue College to get a Digital Audio Production diploma, learning from Canadian rap mixing engineer Umesh Sahajpal, famous for his work with Nappy Roots, and Pill. It was during this time that Nicholas’s style shifted drastically, moving from downtempo and jazz infused productions to heavy bass, and melodic movement. After College, Nicholas worked as a traveling contract Video DJ for Much Music…

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A.S.M – Don`t Cry (Original Mix) (Out 20th July)

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Let the beats simmer you, the bass wash over and finally the synth cruise with you to paradise. This chill/deep house is the first release from ASM. It has genuinely strong musical roots with talent abundant, and manages to bend so many types of vibrant genres into this lush, glimmering romp down the coast. The track is called “Don’t cry” so, if your emotions are floating, we ask you, try not cry.

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A.S.M – Dead Like A Mouse (Original Mix) (Out 30th July)

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The Latvian DJ/Producer, Ainars Semjonovs also known as ASM, recently signed by Universal Grooves is a artist to watch out for. He’s got a good understanding of trance and EDM music and he’s definitely aiming for the top.
His second release called “Dead like a Mouse” is a massive electro house filled with odd and chilled electro sounds that makes it impossible not to enjoy.
Dead like a Mouse is out in July, exclusively on Beatport.

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