Deep Background


The first time I remember hearing deep house was not in Chicago but Italy – on a La Spezia radio station. We didn’t change the dial for two weeks and the station became the soundtrack to a crazy summer, staying in a castle with a guy called Elvis who sunbathed in a leather waistcoat. (En route a hotel bed was destroyed in a fight with a 6’9” giant, Pearly and I slept tentless in a Swiss campsite, and some communists we stayed with outside Florence gave us reason to fear the local Carabinieri, but that’s another story.)

I only began paying real attention to deep house a few years later, however, in the mid-90s, when hanging out with people who’d routinely sift through new house imports, rather than just old funk/jazz records, in record stores (London Rock’s Mr George, Nuphonic’s “I can’t believe it’s not Butterfield”, and Apple Crumble’s “Don’t hold back, ‘cause it feels good to Ed” to name just three). Impressed by instrumental tracks by people like Kevin Yost, Aqua Bassino and Solaris Heights, I started checking out what was coming out on Guidance (Chicago), i! Records (New Jersey), Nuphonic (London), Paper Recordings (Manchester) and F Communications (Paris).

Like many genres, it’s hard to define ‘deep’ house – everyone has a slightly different notion of what it is, and you’re in great danger of using words like ‘wafting’ (sadly MySpace’s desperate attempt to reinvent itself obliterated that gem from Mr Bojankels’ page). It’s fair to say it has a more ambient feel with less obvious melodies and rarely reaches a climax, but attempting to find the dividing line with other subgenres is pretty pointless. The mixes below are mostly but by no means all deep house and they include some more soulful, disco or funkier tracks (as do a bunch of other similar mixes I’ve posted before).

Guidance RecordingsFirst is a mix of old and new, spanning about 25 years of house music, with a few other odds and ends thrown in. The oldest track is possibly the first house record I heard in a club (as the Chicago sound began to appear in between New York Hip Hop and DC Go Go back at the Mud Club) – Jack the Groove – a digital take on Cymande’s classic Bra break (heard in this mix). The Fresh and Low tracks are definitive deep house to my mind, possessing all the essential ingredients and lacking anything that would disqualify them (banging drums and everything else that makes most house music garbage not garage). The Kevin Yost track is also pretty damn close to the mark, whereas those from the Joey Negro stable (Akabu and Doug Biscuit) drift away from the genre. More distant still are Miyazawa’s Disorient track (Nu Jazz played at the wrong speed) and perhaps the best Jazzanova remix, What’s My Number (left off my earlier tribute to the German collective).

  1. Future James (Jack) – The Ballistic Brothers
  2. On My Way – Kevin Yost
  3. Le Patron Est Devenu Fou! – Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville)
  4. Stay The Night – Fresh and Low
  5. The Sky Is Not Crying – Tiny Trendies
  6. The Way We Swing – Crazy Penis
  7. Anjo’s Irmaos – Miyazawa
  8. Another Generation – Akabu
  9. Spread Love – Doug Biscuit
  10. Jack The Groove – Raze
  11. Wind On Water – Fresh and Low
  12. I Feel Good Things For You (Kevin Yost Remix) – Daddy’s Favourite
  13. What’s My Number (Jazzanova Remix) – Ian Pooley
  14. Astral Wave – Julius Papp
  15. Once Bitten – Amalgamation of Soundz
  16. Summer Bummer – Crazy Penis


Next is another found in the loft mix. The first track is a great rework of the old Santana track Singing Winds, Crying Beasts. Then there’s classics of the genre from Kevin Yost and Glenn Underground. The Nu Spirit Helsinki offerings are funkier and more percussive, while the Weekender tracks are again typical deep house. Lost in the Loft I put in an earlier mix but couldn’t resist including again despite its length.

  1. Latin Soul – Turnstyle Orchestra
  2. Natural High – Kevin Yost
  3. Fly With Me – Glenn Underground and Mikkiel
  4. Sunday Session – Weekender
  5. Take It Back – Nu Spirit Helsinki
  6. On The Beach – Marcel
  7. Kasio Funk – Nu Spirit Helsinki
  8. Lost In the Lost – Weekender


images-1The last two are reposted, but this time with some context. First is one of my favorite mixes. It starts with a Moodymann white label that samples Walter Murphy’s sublime discofied take on Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. This segues into some great French disco house by Alex Kid, an incredible vocal tune by Sheeley Nicole (has to be the only record combining swing and funky house) and a couple of Brasilian-influenced tracks. Also there is probably my favorite deep house record of all time – Starry Night, originally from the Night of A Thousand Drums EP but it also got a release of its own (and a follow up) – along with some great stuff from Nuphonic and Paper Recordings. Funnily enough, I once bumped into Dubtribe buying scooter parts at Cambridge Lambretta Workshop – almost certainly the first time those mechanics’d had customers called Sunshine and Moonbeam…

  1. Black Mahogani – Moodymann
  2. Castlesmadeofsand – Alex Kid
  3. Being Me – Sheeley Nicole
  4. Berimbau De Osahna – Easydelics
  5. Spring Again – Kevin Yost
  6. One Starry Night – Kevin Yost
  7. Solarism – Solaris Heights
  8. Into The Night – Soul Motive
  9. Baby We For Real – Crazy Penis
  10. El Regalo De Amor – Dubtribe
  11. Atmosphere – Soul Motive


images-2Finally, the mellowest of the three and my oldest deep house mix. It kicks off with a Kevin Yost track that got a lot of play in the late 90s – not just among deep house DJs –and has probably the most recognizable example of his signature guitar. There’s more from i! and F Communications and a great re-use of an old disco track (can’t remember the name) by Black Belt Roberts, which is better than the original, whatever McDisco says. The two Aqua Bassino tracks are from an EP called Wave; I wonder what Antonio Carlos Jobim would have thought.

  1. Two Wrongs Making A Right – Kevin Yost
  2. Unpredictable U – Kevin Yost
  3. I Can Feel Like That – Aqua Bassino
  4. Do You Dream? – Kevin Yost
  5. Living Room – Black Belt Roberts
  6. Peace Of Mind – Julius Papp and Dave Warrin
  7. Days Like These – Kevin Yost
  8. All Around Me – Aqua Bassino



~ by ricardosevere on 09/10/2013.

One Response to “Deep Background”

  1. […] everywhere, and by the 90’s we had hard house, progressive house, garage house, disco house, deep house, funky house, tech house, ambient house, jazzy house, hip house, Italo house, latin house, soulful […]

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