Acid House Music - The Timeline
It's been over nineteen years since the first identifiably house tracks were put on to vinyl, nineteen years which have changed the technology behind the electronic music revolution beyond recognition but left the basic structure of house intact.
It's seven years since it was being said house couldn't last, that it was just hi-NRG, a fast blast that would wither as quickly as it had started. But then the music reinvented itself, and then again and again until it gradually dawned on people that house wasn't just another phase of club culture, it was club culture, the continuing future of dance music.
The reason? It's simple. People like to dance to house. To the right is a year by year timeline of Acid House music
The History of House – “Garage, Techno, Jungle. It’s all House”
Nowadays dance music is a complicated subject. Most people are loyal to one specific sound, and no matter how much they listen to a different style, the leopard will not change it’s spots and the result is a scene split by negative and stuck up attitude. The fact is that we are all from the same seed. Whether you listen to Progressive, Trance, Techno, Garage, Jungle, Ambient, Hardcore or Gabba, we have one thing in common. HOUSE MUSIC, and this is how it has all happened.
Back in 1985, House music was something quite unheard of outside the closed walls of Chicago’s underground. It was a time when DJ’s such as The Hot Wax 5, Farley Jackmaster Funk and Frankie Knuckles were working at a Chicago club called The Warehouse, a three level dance extravaganza, that was two blocks away from the Sears Tower. They were experimenting with synthesised percussion tracks and hi-energy Eurobeat sounds of their own creation and fusing them with carefully mixed soul and disco hits from the early part of the decade. The regulars of this club loved the new sound and the term “House” music was born, named after a place where innovation was laying down the foundations for a new musical revolution.
It was not long before these DJ’s were in studios producing House music from scratch. Others started to follow and racks in the uptown record stores of Chicago became packed with new titles from artists such as Fingers Inc., J. M. Silk, Chip E, Adonis and Marshall Jefferson.
Chicago then, had not realised the potential of its new music until Farley Jackmaster Funk, released “Love Can’t Turn Around”, and he became an overnight sensation in the U.K. In September 1986, it reached number 10 in the national charts, making House music a fresh and exciting possibility for many frustrated music makers all over the country. It did not stop here.
Soon Raze had entered the charts with “Jack The Groove” and Steve Silk Hurley had reached number 1 with “Jack Your Body”.
New British bands, such as House Master Boyz, Bomb The Bass and S Express then seized on the opportunity to copy this sound and created a commercial equivalent which took the British charts by storm.
Meanwhile back in America, House music has quickly taken up residence in New York and Detroit, where it was being copied and changed to suit the urban environment and political circumstances. Chicago, now bored of “jacking” itself into a repetitive groove, decided that the commercialisation of House music was threatening its future and producers such as Marshall Jefferson and DJ Pierre stumbled across a new sound called “Acid”. This was a highly synthesised drug which induced “deep” sound which when linked with House music, took people to a different level of sub consciousness. This was the new sound of Chicago – “Acid House”.
In late 1987, one of the first examples of “Acid House” came out of Chicago. It was by DJ Pierre under the name Phuture. It was called “Acid Tracks”. Yet again Chicago was leading the way in the House music, encouraging even more artists to experiment with the “Trance – induced” sound of “Acid House”. When I first head this new style I was gob-smacked. The music seemed to take over my whole brain, an experience which I could never forget. From then on House music took a back seat and Acid House became the second generation.
Thousands of converted minds in the U.K. then set about tuning in to the Acid House masterpieces of Armando, Bam Bam, Jack Frost, Lidell Townsell and Phortune. It was a time of great unity, one which sadly may never be repeated.
The summer of 1988 saw the growth of “Acid House”, both with the music and the culture. The drug L.S.D. was linked with the music and the ‘smiley’ face became the new symbol on T-shirts and badges everywhere.
Over in Ibiza, party organisers set up “Acid House Parties”, where hundreds of people gathered to let themselves go. When this “Summer Of Love” ended, the parties were brought back to England and before long the press were exposing this new drug culture to a disgusted and frightened public. This was killing “Acid House”.
The final straw came when D-Mob released “We Call It Acieed”, and every juvenile delinquent on every street corner was shouting “Acieed”. The artists making true acid music, of course, lost interest and so did everyone who loved the music. Acid House was dead.
Luckily New York and Detroit had not followed the Acid House culture. They had been busy inventing their own forms of House music. New York had produced Garage House, a more soulful version of Chicago’s original adventure. It took its name from the Paradise Garage, where the originators first played this new music. It was a club which reached far beyond the hardware and materialism of most dance halls.
It reached the hearts and souls of every club-goer who experienced a Friday or Saturday there. Tracks by Blaze, Phaze II, Arnold Jarvis, Stardust and Adeva served as an excellent introduction to the music. Even the 1989 sound of Piano music, which later created “E – Tunes”, draws strongly on this original Garage House music for inspiration.
During the past years, Garage has often been confused with the advancing version of Chicago House music, and also Deep House. It was not until House music in the U.K. became a lot harder, that the difference was more appreciated. This style was termed “Progressive House”, with its harder edge and frantic percussion as well as an emphasis on sounds instead of lyrics and tunes.
Garage House has now progressed world wide although New York still produce some of the best records. The “House” tag is often missed off which is why it is just termed Garage, a problem that has occurred a lot and is one of the main causes of segregation within the scene as a whole.
Techno is another form of House music, which first came to my attention in 1983 by a band called Cybertron AKA Juan Atkins, formerly a member of the school of hard knox in Detroit. Although Juan’s sound was not labelled Techno until 1986, Cybertron’s music was amazingly similar to later Techno masterpieces. It was an expansion of the electro sound but deeper and with a futuristic electronic feel that gripped the listener by the throat from start to finish.
Juan Atkins continued building on his new style and by 1986 he had released a new project by model 500 called “No U.F.O’s”.
Other Detroit pioneers such as Blake Baxter, Derrick May, Eddie Fowkes and Kevin Saunderson started to copy Model 500, and Techno House music became a new word in the already expanding House vocabulary. To many people these new trax were overlooked due to the huge success of Acid, but it gave Detroit a chance to tailor the Techno House sound for when Acid House died in 1988. Even though artists like Tyree and Fast Eddie tried to rejuvenate the Acid House that they loved, it was all to no avail and so the doors were wide open for Detroit, with their new formula for machine driven music, to come in and steel the limelight.
And this they did with supreme force. Music from Detroit labels such as Metroplex and Transmat were in huge demand in the U.K.
The transition came in early 1988 when Cybersonic released ‘Technarchy’ and Britain decided to copy this new sound. L.F.O. released ‘L.F.O.’ and the Yorkshire sound of ‘Bleep Music’ was created.
Sheffield became the masters of this new style and soon Belgium, with it’s reliance on ‘New Beat’ followed. Talent such as ‘Joey Beltram’ and ‘CJ Bolland’, started making records and the Techno crown shyed to Belgium. Detroit was gradually moved out of the picture. Belguim had found the medium it needed to express it’s social climate, and before long it had changed the original sound of Detroit to suit itself. London was also working on a new style, more Hip-Hop based but using many Techno influences. This was to become hardcore Techno, which later matured into Breakbeat, Ragga and now Jungle.
Surprisingly Detroit have made a comeback over the last few years, beginning with Underground Resistance who adapted the sound of Belgium Techno and inspired the rest of the Detroit originators. Other labels such as D-Jax, B12 and G.P.R. have also played a huge role in bringing back the old Detroit style to the forefront of Techno music.
But Techno has expanded much further than this over the last decade. Trance has recently become popular due to producers such as Sven Vath and Dave Angel also Rotterdam has pushed their own style of “Gabba” Techno, a hard energetic style for psychotic lunatics.
Techno has also helped increase the demand for Ambient music because of the need for something to relax to after dancing to it. Mixmaster Morris and Dr Atmo are the two Ambient innovators who have helped bring Ambient music into the homes of many a Techno enthusiast.
So, as you can see, House music is a very complicated subject, but we must never forget that we are all part of the expansion of the original Chicago House music. The style we listen to may have lost the word “House” in the title, but in the end it is all House music.
So next time you knock somebody else’s taste in music, just remember that you’re into the same thing with a slight variation. Come on everyone, does this slight variation mean so much?
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