Bells, Bangs and Whistles: a history of house music

Bells, Bangs and Whistles: a history of house music

Mr Nick Nelson gave a lecture to Upper College about the history of house music, currently one of the most popular and fast-growing music genres in the UK. The origins of house music can be traced back to the early 1980s in New York, via disco and the gay scene. This genesis was kept very much underground, largely confined to a former garage called Paradise Garage. Concurrently, in Chicago, The Warehouse starting playing club music of a similar ilk, and soon the title ‘house music’ was coined, being short for warehouse music.

Mr Nelson introduced the DJs who pioneered this new concept of urban music or street spirit for the youth, aimed at a subculture in metropolis life in 1980s America. A lack of records, played in limited formats, meant DJs and producers mixed in bits, repeated bits, and thus ‘sampling’ began. Mr Nelson demonstrated on the piano how repeating and mixing the same few notes could produce recognisable songs by artists such as Fatboy Slim and Daft Punk.

The software or ‘hardware’ became the Technics ‘decks’, ‘wheels of steel’ or the ‘1s and the 2s’ with a cross-fader designed for mixing in tracks seamlessly, and the godly DJ of our more modern era was born. The talk progressed on to trace the subgenres and various ‘cousins’ of house music, in trance, techno, and various other musical manifestations.

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