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Deep House 101: 1985-1995

by Philip Sherburne

Deep House 101: 1985-1995

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Until recently, deep house occupied a small, cozy niche in dance music, but the long-underground sound has broken through in a big way in 2013. Disclosure and Duke Dumont have topped the U.K. charts with contemporary updates of the style, and acts like Hot Natured and the Crosstown Rebels crew have made inroads at American festivals where, just a year ago, main-stage EDM and dubstep were the only options. (Flo Rida, of all people, jacked the bassline from Infinity Ink's "Infinity," a Crosstown Rebels release, for his own "Can't Believe It.") Even Tiesto has gotten in on the act, launching a weekly show dedicated to deep house on his Sirius XM channel.

Deep house's resurgence is remarkable, in part, because the sound is so diametrically at odds with the qualities that have dominated mainstream dance music in recent years. It tends to be subtle, soulful and a little bit pensive; it emphasizes long, hypnotic grooves rather than hyperactive jump cuts. It's also remarkable simply because deep house is one of electronic dance music's oldest strains. You can trace its history all the way back to 1985 and Mr. Fingers' moody, minimalist "Mystery of Love." Across the next decade, the style flourished, as producers like Frankie Knuckles, Kerri Chandler, MK, Chez Damier and Mood II Swing pushed the sound, well, deeper and deeper. Explore the first decade of deep house with cuts from those artists as well as Inner City, Robert Owens, Black Science Orchestra, Ron Trent and more.

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