As children of the internet age—the eldest brother, Guy, was born in 1991, the year AOL was founded—Disclosure have done quite well for themselves by mining and rethinking classic house sounds that once required airfare to Chicago to be heard. For this issue’s Footnotes, Guy and Howard picked six house gems from their record collection, plus one errant MP3, and Guy walked us through why they love the dirty thump.
ESP, “It’s You” (Underground 1986)
This is just a really important Chicago house song. It’s had a revival recently, because last year a Belgian guy called San Soda did a version with the vocal re-sung by Lady Linn. He changed it to be a really stripped-back, almost a cappella song. Apparently, when he played his new version for the first time it brought the crowd to tears. The original is a classic—and it’s great what he did with it, but we’ve chosen the original in case anyone who’s heard the new version missed it.
Terrence Parker, “Your Love” Tribute (Intangible Records 1996)
Most of the early house producers were from Chicago and most of the techno producers were from Detroit, but Terrence Parker made house music in Detroit. It must’ve been quite hard. Nowadays, his website calls him an “International DJ Extraordinaire,” so he’s not a very humble man. I just have a lot of good memories of playing this song, DJing it in Ibiza. It’s such a summery tune; you can’t help but want to go on holiday when you hear it. A lot of his records are like that.
Kerri Chandler, “Rain” The Mood EP (Nervous Records 1998)
Hearing “Rain” was a big turning point for us. It made us want to produce slower, more house tempo stuff as opposed to the 140 or 135 BPM tracks we were making at the start. Kerri Chandler made us want to slow down. “Rain” was his first tune I heard, and what drew me in was his amazing, jazzy seventh chords. They’re quite unusual in the garage scene—not so much in house. And I like the repetitive sample of the word “rain” throughout. It’s such a cool way of structuring sound, with every sentence about the same thing.
Larry Heard, “Missing You” (Track Mode/Alleviated Records 2000)
Chicago is the birthplace of house music, and I love a million producers from there, with Larry Heard being one of the key people. When you think Chicago house, you think Larry Heard. The way he makes machines talk and express themselves through music is very forward-thinking. The chords and fake seagull sounds on this track are amazing. It’s very emotional.
Motor City Drum Ensemble, Raw Cuts #1-6 (MCDE 2008-09)
Motor City Drum Ensemble did a whole series of Raw Cuts, with #1 and #2 on vinyl, then the next one was #3 and #4, and so on. It’s some of the best deep house we’ve ever come across: production-wise, sample-wise, everything. They’re just great records. I’ve watched interviews with Danilo Plessow, the guy behind it, and he always talks about how he used to go out to clubs when he was younger, listen to all this stuff that influenced him, and then he says, “I try to make it sound like how I felt back then.”
Late Nite Tuff Guy, “I Get Deeper” Tuff Edits Vol. 1(Lightspeed Recordings 2009)
The I get deep, I get deep vocal line has been sampled a lot before this. It’s already iconic, but this is a great interpretation. I actually don’t know anything else about this one. Where the hell did we even get it? We own everything else here on vinyl, but this one just turned up on my computer one day. It’s just a great tune.
Paris Underground Trax, “NYC Underground” Vol. 1 (My Love Is Underground 2010)
We’re really big fans of this label, and this was their first release. We’re lucky enough to have a first pressing, which is really hard to find now. The record plays inside out, so you start from the middle and it plays to the outside. Perfect deep house: jazz chords and a simple 4/4 beat. The structure is flawless, like when he decides to bring in certain things and decides to get rid of them at random points during the song that you wouldn’t normally pick, like halfway through a bar. He does whatever he feels like and it works so well.