WARMER MIXTAPES #1082 | by Ben Gomori
I decided to focus on the Classic French House for my mixtape - one of the sounds the first really fascinated me when I was starting to discover Underground Dance Music. Seek them out - I hope you like them...
1. Daft Punk | Musique
This is where it all started for me. I was 12 when I heard Da Funk and went out and bought the single. I'd never heard anything like it. But the B-side Musique captured my imagination just as much. I'd been listening to House for a few years, but I'd never heard anything that was as rough around the edges and full of Funk as this. It had all been a lot more polished up to this point. Not that I knew it at the time, but this was the track that really introduced me to the joy of filtering. And that squealing synth riff, those hooky vocoders... It all just sounded so incredibly fresh. And it still does.
2. Trankilou | Champagne
Trankilou was a brief side project of Pépé Bradock and the guy who would go on to become Ark. I discovered this on Daft Punk's 1997 Essential Mix, which was an absolute revelation for me. Again, I didn't really know what I was experiencing here (I was 13!), but that mix was the first place I ever heard the likes of Moodymann, Dance Mania guys like DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, Jammin' Gerald, Paris Mitchell and Cajmere. This track was one of my faves, full of hard-hitting, Funk, loads of old samples and bugged out effects... To this day I still don't really understand what's going on in it or how many samples they've used or how I would ever be able to produce something that's so freeform and all over the place as this. From the Escalope De Dingue EP, which is the only pricey-ish Discogs purchase I've ever made!
3. St. Germain | Walk So Lonely
Both of St Germain's full artist albums were a big part of my teenage years. He soundtracked plenty of smoke-ups! This smokey number is from his collection of earlier works, From Detroit To St Germain - when he was more House focused and less on that Nu Jazz/Lounge thang. It's the perfect blend between his two worlds I guess. The Blues vocal and guitar licks are seriously addictive, and work like a charm alongside the Old Skool drums and chunky bass. I bought this compilation for like £3 in Fopp in Cambridge. Bargain.
4. Jess & Crabbe | The Big Booya
These guys were hot for a minute. They took that Filter House sound and added a bit of a Basement Jaxx style Punky approach to it. This track takes a Notorious B.I.G. sample and teams it up with a supremely joyous Disco loop to great effect. Shouldn't work, but it does. The Yard Rock mix on the otherside is killer too - driven by distorted bass and screeching lead lines with a real killer jack to it. I've also got a bootleg of Masters At Work feat. India's To Be In Love over the top of it which is a tasty one.
5. Etienne De Crécy | Am I Wrong
Before Etienne De Crécy went all fierce Electro and had his Cube, he made some really superb House and Downtempo stuff. This is from his excellent Tempovision album, a real Funky and cool peak time anthem. The Acidic lead line that comes in during the massive breakdown was a taste of things to come from him I guess. I love the chords on this - they're so fresh. The vocal is succinct but really powerful.
6. Cheek | Venus (Sunshine People) (DJ Gregory Remix)
This was the second release on Versatile, the legendary French label that brough through the likes of I:Cube and DJ Gregory and was founded by Gilb'r. Cheek was one of his aliases. It's based around a rousing sample from Funk group Brass Construction's Happy People, and is an incessantly looping affair that oozes Funk from every pore. When you've got a groove that good, you don't really need to do much with it to make a great track. This one's got summer written all over it. I played it out recently and it still sounds great. Sizeable kicks.
7. Cassius | Foxxy
Another loopy Disco beaut. I used to think the vocal was saying Daft Punk when I was younger. I love the way it starts with those tense, shimmering loops and builds through tough grooves and infectious keys to a thumping, horn and bass laden classic that's not a million miles from Gusto's Disco's Revenge. The album that this is taken from, 1999, is a classic. Boom Bass from Cassius was a pivotal part of the French Hip-Hop scene wen it started to breakthrough, producing for MC Solaar and others. The other half of the group, Phillippe Zdar, has worked as a producer on some high profile artists in recent years - including co-writing/producing Why I Love You by Jay-Z & Kanye West from Watch The Throne.
8. Roy Davis Jr | Rock Shock (Thomas Bangalter's Start-Stop Mix)
Had to put a track from Thomas Bangalter's short-lived but absolutely stunning Roulé imprint in this list. I was fascinated with the label, each release bringing something whose style seemed completely new and revelatory to me. Things don't get any funkier than this beaut. That squlechy synthed P-Funk sample is just too much, looped to perfection with those super-cool vocoder snatches. Old Daft Punk vocoder vox are much cool than their current style. This is a right bitch to mix and it doesn't really do anything, but as I said before, when you've got a loop that hot...
9. Le Knight Club | Holiday On Ice
Likewise I had to put something from Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo's Crydamoure label in here! For hardcore Daft Punk fans, Roulé and Crydamoure really represent a huge amount of why we hold them in such high esteem. Crydamoure lasted longer than Roulé, putting out enough music to populate two compilations and focusing much more on a Disco-heavy theme for the most part. There are tons to choose from really, but this one from Le Knight Club - Guy-Man and Eric Chedeville - stands out for how fresh it still sounds. They pre-dated the whole Nu Disco sound by the best part of a decade here. Not that they were the only ones doing so by any means, but I just adore this record. Such cute melodies and cool bass.
10. Prassay | Krvsin
DJ Gregory's biggest hit, I reckon. It's got this huge lead/bass melody which manages to be very uplifting without being crass, and the dramatic string stabs make for a really juicy breakdown. Great beats too. There's not enough House that sounds like this these days.