Fred Jorio (aka Lectroluv) put out a ton of great stuff in the 90s - with the Junior Vasquez mix of Dream Drums probably being the most widely played. Under the alias Ofunwa, Emanuele Luzzi served up the Nylon Mix of People Don't Believe. This track has just the right balance of tribal elements against a deep house bassline. The vocal refrain is on point too. All in all, an understated classic from the golden era.
Hold Still is one of several standout productions from Svek Records - a pioneering Swedish label known for their downbeat tech-house sound. Mr. James Barth is an alias of Cari Lekebusch, an esteemed Swedish DJ and producer (check out his SoundCloud). Hold Still is the penultimate chillout cut, built around the funky riff heard in Grace Jones' Everybody Hold Still (1982) - You can hear the sample here. Lekebusch threw in some clever vocoder vocals and polished up the production to create a classic. If you like this sound, be sure to familiarize yourself with other Svek Records releases (like this and this).
Label: Radio Rhythm Records / Sm:)e Communications
It's not that uncommon for tracks originating on smaller labels or by less prominent artists to generate confusion about the actual release name or artist when they later attract more attention. Some examples of this confusion have been profiled here and here. One stellar track with a complicated back story is Central Pro NYC, attributed to Violet. Violet was the moniker of UK-based Nick Phillips and Sarpong Adjaye. Here's Nick Phillip's website - you can see and hear a lot of the really cool work he's done, much of it inspired by Ghanaian rhythms.
Apparently the original tracklisting on Sm:)e Communications mixed up Central Pro NYC with another track, Burn The Elastic. Shortly after, a Kurtis Mantronik mix of the track was featured on Sasha and Digweed's Northern Exposure 2 (Eastcoast) where it was, not surprisingly, labeled Burn The Elastic. So strangely, the track that me and a million other people knew as Burn The Elastic is really Central Pro. Personally I've never heard the true Burn The Elastic as I don't own the original release and can't find it online. I consider them one and the same until proven otherwise.
What I do know is that Central Pro (aka Burn The Elastic) is a really awesome track - It's a cleverly sculptured break track with a ton of funky layers. The bassline is what really kills it and solidifies its status as a classic. Breakbeat isn't for everyone, but this release would be hard to hate. The original:
And below is the Violet vs. Mantronik mix from Northern Exposure that I uploaded to Soundcloud. A little bit different, still awesome.
Italo house never conquered the world but the movement produced a sizable number of great dance tracks in the 80s and early 90s. Few names in Italo house are bigger than super producer and label owner Gianfranco Bortolotti - the main man behind the popular group Cappella. I'll be profiling some of their other hits in the future like Helyom Halib and Move It Up, but U Got 2 Know would be my favorite.
U Got 2 Know has the uniquely Italo house vibe that combines the rhythm of Hi-NRG with uplifting (female-led) vocal samples. Specifically, U Got 2 Know reinvents the distinctive riff of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Happy House (1980) and samples Xaviera Gold's vocal in Ralphi Rosario's You Used to Hold Me(1987) [profiled by me here]. Some are quick to lump 90s Italo house with the Eurotrash techno brush, but I love this track and have no qualms playing it whenever and wherever! It also served as the intro for the Houston Rockets NBA team in 1994 and 1995.
I think this is the first Deep Dish track I've profiled, but for sure won't be the last. Deep Dish is the DC-based duo of Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi. In case you don't know them, these dudes have been prolific producers since the 90s having remixed literally hundreds and hundreds of songs for a wide assortment of artists. On this particular track, Danny Tenaglia actually remixes one of their productions with great success. High Frequency (Danny's Ballroom Edit) has a laid back after-hours vibe - at the 5:30 mark, the organ chords drop for a chilled out house music experience. A quality track no doubt.
This site profiles my favorite classic house tracks. Most selections are from the 80s and 90s with a strong - but not exclusive - deep house, progressive and old school Chicago influence. I could never really warm up to acid house, overly ambient tracks, or anything that bumps >135bpm. Many have asked, but there's no consensus definition of classic house music...however Ishkur has an excellent guide to electronica music that can serve as a primer for anyone interested. Some of the videos get pulled due to copyright issues - just search on YouTube since most stuff gets re-upped anyway.