10 best house Documentaries of all Time

From Chicago and New York to the world

House music has a legacy unlike any other genre of dance music. Born in Chicago in the ’80s, the style grew outward to Detroit, New York, the UK, Paris, South Africa, and all points in between, and, some 30 years later, it’s touched just about every aspect of popular music as we know it.

As part of our Legends of Electronic Music series, today we take a look at some must-see documentaries that track house music’s growth and popularity—from Chi-Town to Johannesburg. And while we couldn’t quite include Lil Louis’ The House that Chicago Built since it’s still in production, here are our 10 favorites up to now.

10. The Chemical Generation

Boy George leads us through the story of how acid house, raves, and drug use are all came together during the late ’80s and ’90s in the UK. At one point, Boy George asks author Irvine Welsh (who wrote Trainspotting), “Do you think acid house could have been as popular as it was without ecstasy?”

9. Inside House

This low-budget documentary consists of interview after interview with DJs like Kerri Chandler, DJ Gregory, and Jay-Jay in a bar setting. The early debate over the introduction of MP3s becoming widely available to DJs is a heavy point of discussion.

8. Slices: Theo Parrish

The only documentary in our list that features only one DJ, Theo Parrish—but it’s still a notable one, with the master of Detroit house digging for vinyl and talking in depth about the medium and how music technology sometimes translates to “convenience replacing artistry.”

7. This Ain’t Chicago: UK House According to the Artists That Lived It

The name says it all. This documentary puts the focus on how house music took hold in the UK in the late ’80s and early ’90s, according to Richard Sen and guests. Sen compiled a collection of tracks for Strut Records called This Ain’t Chicago, and this short documentary allows him to put those songs into context.

6. Paris Is Burning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEGzwv_hl0g

Before Madonna wrote “Vogue” and popularized the dance trend, young, black, gay men in Harlem had been competing in ballroom dance contests for at least eight years—and they were as fierce as any breaking competition. The foundation of the ballroom movement was, naturally, house music.

5. From Jack to Juke: 25 Years of Ghetto House

Chicago was the birthplace of house music as we know it. But Chicago house also gave birth to juke. Today, the influence of Chicago juke on everything from B-more to trap to Mad Decent’s discography is all too evident. This great documentary explains the history of “jack,” “juke,” “booty,” and “ghetto” with DJ Gant-Man, DJ Superman, DJ V-Dub, and plenty of others.

4. Real Scenes: Johannesburg

The most contemporary documentary of all the choices, this Resident Advisor-produced film is a great synopsis of the hold that house music has on South Africa right now. It showcases everyone from the scene’s elder statesmen to its young producers who have nothing more than a tin shed and an old copy of Fruity Loops.

3. Maestro: The History of House Music & NYC Club Culture

Maestro focuses on New York City club culture and how The Continental Baths, The Paradise Garage, and The Loft helped give rise to the global DJ phenomenon, spanning from the disco heyday of the 1970s to the height of garage and house music in the late ’80s. Featured are some classic interviews with Little Louie Vega, Frankie Knuckles, and Tom Moulton, with, of course, a nice tribute to early house don Larry Levan.

2. Back in the House

Another documentary focusing on the NYC scene, however, this one picks up where Maestro leaves off and takes us into the 1990s when Masters at Work were producing hit after hit and Francois K’s Body & Soul parties were the center of underground house. Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia, David Morales, Roger Sanchez led the charge ushering in the “new” production talents of Mousse T, Armand Van Helden, and Daft Punk.

1. Pump Up the Volume

Pump Up the Volume is the consummate history of house music up until the mid-1990s. The series features legends like Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Pete Tong, Jesse Saunders, Happy Mondays, and more, taking us from Chicago to London and beyond.

Clavier à lumières

The clavier à lumières (keyboard with lights), or tastiéra per luce, as it appears in the score, was a musical instrument invented by Alexander Scriabin for use in his work Prometheus: Poem of Fire. However, only one version of this instrument was constructed, for the performance of Prometheus: Poem of Fire in New York in 1915.[1] The instrument was supposed to be a keyboard, with notes corresponding to colors as given by Scriabin’s synesthetic system, specified in the score,[2] However, numerous synesthesia researchers have cast doubt on the claim that Scriabin was a synesthete.[3][4][5][6]

The “Luce” part is notated on a treble staff with two parts, one proceeding on the circle of fifths during the piece, the other following the tonal centre of the music.[clarification needed]

Scriabin assigned the following colors to the following key areas:[citation needed]

Tone-to-color mapping
By chromatic scale
Note Colour
C red (intense)
C violet or purple
D yellow
D flesh (glint of steel)
E sky blue (moonshine or frost)
F deep red
F bright blue or violet
G orange
G violet or lilac
A green
A rose or steel
B blue or pearly blue

When the notes are ordered by the circle of fifths, the colours are in order of a spectrum, which leads numerous synesthesia researchers to argue that he did not experience the physiological condition of synesthesia.[3][4][5][6] Additionally, it has been argued that Scriabin’s color associations were influenced by his theosophic readings[6] and based on Sir Isaac Newton‘s Optics quoted by Louis Bertrand Castel:[7]

Keys rearranged into a circle of fifths in order to show the spectral relationship.
By spectrum
Colour Note
deep red F
red C
orange G
yellow D
green A
sky blue E
blue B
bright blue F
violet or purple C
lilac G
flesh D
rose A

Scriabin was a friend of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who was also a synesthete. Scriabin’s assignments of colours to keys was not the same as Rimsky-Korsakov’s perceptions, which is not an indication that Scriabin was not a synesthete as all synesthetes perceive different associations. Scriabin was also heavily influenced by Theosophy, which had its own different system of associating colors and pitches (in essence going up the visible spectrum from C to B chromatically, rather than by fifths).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Henry Chapin Plummer (April 1915). “Colour Music-A New Art Created With the Aid of Science: The Colour Organ Used in Scriabine’s Symphony Prometheus“. Scientific American. Plummer describes in detail the design and technology used to produce the instrument for the colour effect prescribed by Scriabin.
  2. ^ Cummings, Robert. “Symphony No. 5 in F sharp major for piano, organ, chorus & orchestra (“Prometheus, Poem of Fire”), Op. 60″: “in the score he specifies that certain colors should flood the concert hall during performance”.
  3. ^ a b Harrison, J. (2001). Synaesthesia: The Strangest Thing. ISBN 0-19-263245-0. “In fact, there is considerable doubt about the legitimacy of Scriabin’s claim, or rather the claims made on his behalf, as we shall discuss in Chapter 5.” (p.31-2)
  4. ^ a b Galeyev, B.M. and Vanechkina, I.L. (2001). “Was Scriabin a Synesthete?”. Leonardo 34 (4): 357–362. doi:10.1162/00240940152549357. “The authors conclude that the nature of Scriabin’s ‘color-tonal’ analogies was associative, i.e. psychological; accordingly, the existing belief that Scriabin was a distinctive, unique ‘synesthete’ who really saw the sounds of music—that is, literally had an ability for ‘co-sensations’— is placed in doubt.”
  5. ^ a b Cytowic, Richard E; Eagleman, David M (2009). Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia (with an afterword by Dmitri Nabokov). Cambridge: MIT Press. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-262-01279-9.
  6. ^ a b c Dann, Kevin T. (1998). Bright colors falsely seen: synaesthesia and the search for transcendental knowledge. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-06619-8.
  7. ^ Saglietti, B. (2012). “Dal Clavecin Oculaire di Louis Bertrand Castel al Clavier à Lumières di Alexandr Skrjabin”. Metamorfosi dei Lumi 6: 187–205. “In Europe Skriabin met the painter Jean Delville, who suggested him to study the writings of Castel.”

External linksEdit

  • RhythmicLight.com
  • Visual Music A history of Color Organs, various mappings of tones to colors (including Scriabin’s), and other representations of music in art. Has many external links.

Korg Kaossilator Pro+

The Kaossilator series was the forerunner of unique instruments that made it easy for anyone to play musical melodies and phrases. The KAOSSILATOR PRO, which appeared in 2010, was an updated model featuring a rich variety of sounds and loop recording functionality that made it not merely a live performance instrument, but also a track-making tool.
2013 brings us to the upgraded KAOSSILATOR PRO+. With additional new sound programs and drum sounds KAOSSILATOR PRO+ has been supercharged to offer even more variety and exploration. A synthesizer that lets you perform and create multi-layered music in any style with just the touch of a finger.

  • KAOSSILATOR PRO+
  • KAOSSILATOR PRO+
  • KAOSSILATOR PRO+
  • KAOSSILATOR PRO+
  • KAOSSILATOR PRO +
  • Freely playable synthesizer; simply touch the touchpad to play notes and manipulate sounds in real time
  • A total of 250 sound programs (including drum programs) cover a wide range of styles, including 62 new programs
  • Loop Recording function allows intuitive performance and recording, and 4 infinitely stackable loop banks are available
  • Numerous functions for unlimited performance possibilities
    – Scale/Key settings make it easy for anyone to perform with no wrong notes
    – Note Range function lets you specify the horizontal pitch range of the touchpad
    – Gate Arpeggiator function allows you to easily control phrases with the slider
    – Pad LEDs ensure excellent visibility even in the dark
  • Highly expandable
    -USB MIDI allows use as a powerful MIDI controller
    -Store recorded loop data and even externally made. WAV files on an SD/SDHC card
    -Dedicated editor software for centralized management of sample data and settings

– See more at: http://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/kaossilator_pro_plus/#sthash.ry1HqTYq.dpuf

 

Source: http://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/kaossilator_pro_plus/

Anarchestra

If you’re interested in handmade and experimental musical instruments, I’d suggest finding a copy of Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones (and also the follow-up, Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones).  It’s a book/CD combo written by Bart Hopkin, the publisher of Experimental Musical Instruments magazine and an avant-garde musician himself.  Bart Hopkin is awesome, his book Musical Instrument Design is what got Anarchestra started in the first place.