House and Techno: The Soup and Sandwich of Music

The two are up there with the likes of mince n’ tatties and steak and chips as iconic duo’s that just work together.

I’m not writing this on an empty stomach, as you may be lead to believe, but these delicious food combos are a connotation of how well the two genres of music complement each other.

Now, it’s important to define that these two genres are different from one another but are both classed as “dance music”.

House music was first on the scene, descending directly from disco. Going back to the 80’s, it was popularized in Chicago, Detroit and New York, being played mainly to African-American and homosexual crowds. It has predominantly a repetitive 4/4 beat, jazzy keys and synths, an off-beat hi-hat and a groovy base with occasionally soulful vocals . DJ’s at the forefront of the scene were Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, Mr.Fingers and Ron Hardy, to name a few.

Techno was popularized a little later on, but had its roots in house. Born in Detroit, which is still seen as the place where some of the best techno derives from, it follows a similar 4/4 pattern to house, but has a higher tempo and a harder beat. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson are the forefathers of techno, high school friends from Detroit, who went to dance parties where the music ranged from Kraftwerk to Parliament.

For both house and techno DJ’s a drum sequencer called the Roland TR-808 (known commonly as an 808) enabled these afore-mentioned legends to create their beats. Another device –  a bass synthesizer –  the Roland TB-303 mini-keyboard was used to create squelchy basslines, once people discovered the weird sounds that could be created from a little knob twiddling. These devices now fetch for handsome sums of money, as they are seen as the authentic way of reproducing that early dance sound and are very hard to come by.

Dance music was underground in the states and didn’t become mainstream until the music reached Europe and, more importantly, when it reached our fair shores.

The underground rave scene in the UK (which is still going strong in our fair city, if you know where to look) paved the way for the smiley face, hippy raver scene with bucket hats and lollipops.

It finally breached into the mainstream on public radio and TV shows, such as Top of The Pops, with groups like ATB, DJ Jean and Positiva Records giving justification to the dance music genre and bringing it up to the surface from the underground.

House and techno are alive and well in Glasgow. Grieving aside for The Arches, dance music fans are spoiled in our dear green place with venues such as Sub Club, SWG3, Berkeley Suite, La Cheetah, The Admiral and The Art School among others. The Sub Club is world renowned and now a rite of passage for a young electronic music fan.

Some issues to consider while in a club:

  • Unless you are at GBX, there should be no shouting of “Here we, here we, here we f****n go!”
  • You do not have to record the whole night on your phone, but if you are desperate to get your phone out to video/photograph the DJ – you best leave the flash off!
  • The DJ, I’m sure, appreciates you want them to play one of their songs you haven’t heard yet, but they have, more than likely, carefully planned their set and will not drop that banger of theirs from 6 years ago for yourself.

So get out there! If an event is sold out, then there might be tickets on the door, go to the venue early. If you can’t make it to a night, then sell your ticket for the same price you bought it for. Look after your mates, and make new ones while you’re at it.

Take a bite out of our city’s electronic music scene, it’s delicious, and I promise you’ll be back for seconds.

By Donald Shields.

Image credit to wikipedia