The Tech End of Deep

Back in about 2003 or so, deep house was the genre that really got me into dance music, made me pick up my first pair of turntables and spend every penny I earned on building up my vinyl collection.

Before that, I was mostly a guitar guy: I liked my indie, my blues and my jazz. Then, almost overnight, I discovered a whole new group of musical heroes: to Johnny Marr, SRV and Joe Pass, I added Soularis, Johnny Fiasco and Kevin Yost, with many more to follow.

I think what appealed to me most about deep house at that time, was the underlying jazz influence. It was music you could just put your feet up and listen to. It worked in bars and restaurants as well as clubs, and even made listenable the smooth jazz tracks that were often sampled.

The tunes were full of filtered Rhodes pianos, muted trumpets and guitars playing finger-stretching jazz chords; even an occasional vibraphone for a bit of variety. These days though, I’m finding it harder to differentiate some of the songs that often make it into Beatport’s top ten deep house chart from some tech-house. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: some deep house sounds can end up a bit too smooth even for me; I’m not sure I could play them out without cringing slightly.

Maybe it’s just where I happen to live, but I wonder if there is the same type of ‘bar culture’ that used to exist 10 years ago. It seems as though a night out these days involves hitting a cheap pub to get a few in, before heading on to the club. The upscale bar with its comfortable seats, small dancefloor in the corner and a barman who knows that a martini is made with gin and not vodka doesn’t seem to be around as much anymore, at least not outside of hotel bars filled with people still in their suits after a day of meetings. For those type of bars, deep house was the perfect soundtrack. Maybe I need to get back to Clapham again…

I think the deep house sound that first hooked me was just so versatile, from late-night listening on the couch at home, to perfect bar music that let you carry on your conversation, but with your foot still tapping under the table. Maybe it’s just the passage of the years, but I miss those types of night out, but perhaps I’ve just not been finding those bars; it would be nice to rediscover that atmosphere. As Mutiny said- ‘Bliss, feels like this’.

Maybe it’s time to just kick back, put my feet up, and stick an old Bargrooves mix CD on…


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