Germany’s own Sidney Charles has been somewhat of a musical artist born too late for his times. Where many producers today are on the Progressive House, Electro, Bass Music or Trance route, he has opted to stay towards the grooving genre of Tech House. However, while many of his colleagues take on different aspects of the genre, such as the brooding Techno/Tech House hybrid of Stefano Noferini to the undeniable groove of UMEK, he has instead stuck to the ideals of the more iconic fore-founders of House music in general, such as Farley Jaymaster Funk and Marshall Jefferson. Even straying away from the more underground artists such as Sven Vath and Luciano, Sidney Charles seems to be on his own personal mission to showcase the older styles of house to the turbulent times of today. And it is clearly evident in the music that he produces. Opting towards simplicity, many of Charles productions include only the bare bones essentials in a track, and yet, still creates an unbelievable vibe that is insatiable to dance to.
Sensing this need to showcase the artists that made all of EDM possible, he decided to conduct an experiment. He has stated on his Facebook that “He is not a musician, nor a percussionist. He is a collector“. As stated above, he has extensively researched many of the ideals of House music 10-40 years ago. Realizing the mass confusion between genres today and the loss of the true message of House music beneath the waves of many (but not all) fans with some ideals such as Brostep, Hands-In-The-Air-Moments and Drop Craving Instincts, he decided to conduct a ‘house lesson’ to not only teach the full mechanics of a Classic House track, but also to showcase many older artists discussing their adventures in their careers. He utilizes this by sampling direct quotes from the highly popular documentary, Pump Up The Volume: The History Of Dance Music. Such people sampled include iconic artists such as Vince Lawrence, Jesse Saunders, Duane Buford, and Chip E. During the course of House Lesson, these artists talk about pleasing crowds, record deals, ‘Mr. Information’ and construction on Jesse Saunders‘s breakout track, On & On.
Not satisfied enough with only the quotes pulled, it seems as though Charles has perfectly emulated the sounds of the 1980’s through his construction of the track. The drums seem as though they come from a Roland TR-808 Drum Machine and the bassline possibly comes from a Roland TB 303 Bass Synthesizer. This piece is not complicated in the least, as all it featured is a kick drum, hi-hat, bassline, snare drum and other various subtleties. The main focus is on the quotes of the producers and while many artists worry that this constant barrage of spoken text might take away from the piece, it actually gives the piece new meaning (and even enhances the feel of the piece). The breakdown is nothing short of phenomenal, with only metronome clicks and an essential held high string note. As Vince Lawrence talks about his record deal and how he sold 1,000 copies of his collaboration with Jesse Saunders of On & On, Chip E talks about the construction of a House record, stating, “First thing you have to do, you have to start off with a strong kick drum.” More and more instruments are layered on with the careful instruction of Chip E as the piece fully comes in with ‘Chicago!’ being shouted amongst the textures.
Charles has stated that, “Everybody, who understands this love-binding kind of music, has to live the urban movement behind it, the culture that brings people of all kinds together“. And with this track, it can serve as a connecting footpath between the historic ideals of Chicago House to EDM listeners of the 21st century. Sidney Charles‘s single, House Lesson, is now available on Avotre on Beatport, so make sure you head on over and grab this fantastic track today.
Keep the music alive. -Q
Unsung Heroes is a weekly segment where we take a look back at an amazing production and bring it back into the light for older and newer fans alike. These tracks were often overlooked, overshadowed by a huge release or are just not that well known to the public here in America. Here, you can find all the hidden gems in many genres and find a new favorite track (or another tool/weapon for aspiring DJ’s).