Rush Hour Store

From Wednesday till Sunday, we have guest DJs from all over the world spinning records at the store. Come down, hang out. Everybody is welcome. Broadcast via facebook.com/rushhourstore

WEDNESDAY (7-9pm)
трип gathering
w/ Nina Kraviz & Deniro

THURSDAY (10am-9pm)
Worldwide FM +
Dopewax Records label showcase (7-9pm)

FRIDAY (5-9pm)
Vega Records label showwcase +
Patuá Discos +
ESP Institute

SATURDAY (7-9pm)
Knekelhuis label takeover w/ Das Ding (live), De Ambassade & parrish smith dj set.

SUNDAY (5-9pm)
Sounds Familiar takeover

 

 

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In anticipation of RH’s 20th anniversary celebration during Amsterdam Dance Event with Chez Damier among others, we are sharing a short interview with the artist on our website. This article is originally published in the fifth House Of Music magazine. Out now, you can grab your copy at your favorite record store worldwide.

Chez Damier by Marie Staggat

Anthony Pearson, better known as Chez Damier, came to Amsterdam for a DJ gig around the release of Ron Trent’s 6LP label boxset. We took the chance to catch up with the pioneering Prescription co-founder. After a long hiatus, he’s back in full force working on a variety of music projects. What is he up to these days? We met him just before his show to find out.

Chez Damier was a close witness to the birth of house and techno music. In 1993, he founded Prescription records with Ron Trent, the label that defined the 1990s deep house sound. Around 2010, new releases appeared on Mojuba records. Not only was one of house music’s greats on his return, he was also mentoring a new generation of artists.

Chez Damier kept his role during this interview. Meeting in the lobby of his hotel just before dinner, he answered a few questions, but most importantly, he gave me good advice. “Focus on what you need, not on what you want”, is a good one for me to remember. The smiling Chicagoan doesn’t seem to have lost any of his energy, and he continues to value working with people, up to the present day. He seems to be a character whose life experiences refined him and made him deliberate, without losing his naive and playful spirit of collaboration with others. It also appears since the start that he has valued having fun the most – more than anything else. “Ron Trent and I always had so much laughter. That gave me the spark to try things out and make tracks with him”, he says.

chez damier by Marie Staggat

Balance Alliance

After Ron and Chez parted ways, Damier took Balance records. It was like a divorce, Damier says. “We had to divide everything. It was like: ‘OK, you take Prescription and I’ll take Balance.'” He revived Balance years later, in 2009. As he already did in the past, he broke out of the Chicago circles, becoming a trusted mentor for young European producers this time. He released a triple-vinyl retrospective by Parisian house producer Brawther on his label, and the debut album of Brawther’s fellow Parisian Hugo LX. With Zurich-based Demetrio Giannice, Damier also worked under the Adventures In Barcelona moniker.

The Extravert

Damier’s role as a catalyzer goes back to the late 80s, where he established a fresh scene of music fiends in Detroit. The Music Institute became an important place in the development of techno music. KMS studio opened around the same time, the million dollar studio where Chez became manager and where he created most of the tracks together with Ron Trent. “To me, the period with Ron was very much about sound experimentation. Prescription was about trying things out and having fun”, he says. “We were exploring loads of the hardware that was available in Saunderson’s studio. To me, it was really about having fun. That gave me the spark. Of course we were talking about spirituality, but once we hit the studio it was all about finding ways to build a great track. From the day we met it was just amazing. We have the same kind of humor, this connection between us has never changed.”

Chez Damier was the extravert, Ron the introvert. This made them complementary. “The productions we made in the early KMS days were different from Ron’s solo stuff today”, Damier points out. One of the reasons leading to Ron and Chez splitting their artistic collaboration was a difference in their approach. “Ron had his style and I had my style. But after a while, I couldn’t get my creative kick out of it anymore and therefore I decided to move on.” However, Ron and Chez are still in touch. “We had our difficulties, but we also share the same kind of humor. To me, that’s what it was all build upon, just the laughter.” It’s been over two decades since Ron and Chez parted ways and both have grown in different directions. “Of course I would like to work with Ron again. But we would have to take it from today’s experiences , we shouldn’t continue from where we left off. Ron’s experiences are different from mine and it shaped us along the way. If we would regroup, we’d need to have conversations about what that means.”

The Spark

Chez Damier felt what he started in music wasn’t completed and he returned with the idea to operate less in the foreground. His current musical life suits him better than ever, because he’s in a position to share musical inspiration with others again. Then he starts asking me the questions. About my occupation and dreams and what I do in order to establish them. Chatting in the big hotel lobby, it was time for a cigarette break. Standing by the table in the middle of the smoking room, Chez Damier starts to give advice after being genuinely interested in me. After noticing that I transmformed from his interviewer into his apprentice, he asks me: “What do you see? Turn around and what do you see now? Well, it’s at least both your visions. And that’s what matters.”

 

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rhm After the first stops in Europe, Rush Hour continue their 20th anniversary tour in the USA with shows in New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago. More dates will be announced soon!

USA DATES

(tickets)

28-09 | Boston – Hunee & Antal
29-09 | NYC – Hunee, Antal & Dream 2 Science Live
30-09 | WASHINGTON – Antal + Ron Trent
06-10 | CHICAGO – Hunee, Antal & Ron Trent
07-10 | L.A. – Hunee & Antal

MORE 20th ANNIVERSARY DATES

(tickets)

16-09 | Rotterdam – Antal, Soichi Terada (live) NL
19-10 | Amsterdam – Chez Damier, Antal, Soichi Terada, Tom Trago
24-11 | London – Antal, Joy Orbison, Vincent Floyd, Mark Ernestus & more

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Out Now! A new House Of Music zine! Yes yes… The 5th already, now available for free at your fave record store worldwide.

For this new edition, we had the opportunity to learn more about record digging in Tokyo w/ Chee Shimizu and Dubby. About DYI studio mentality w/ Tapes, and South African kwaito, pantsula, bubblegum w/ DJ Okapi. We spoke with Knekelhuis about good contemporary music and we got the chance to catch up with house legend Chez Damier. And more… It was special and good fun! Hopefully you’ll enjoy the read!

 

HOUSE OF MUSIC #5

DJ Okapi
Chez Damier
Ben & Sadar’s
Chee Shimizu & Dubby
Knekelhuis
& much more…

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Rush Hour 20 years tour Australia
After stops in Europe and the USA, Rush Hour continue their 20th anniversary tour in Australia with shows in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and at Strawberry Fields.

AUSTRALIA DATES

Sydney | 16 Nov
Rush Hour 20 Year Anniversary w Antal, Hunee & Soichi Terada

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The essential UK Techno/Electronics duo returns after decades! “ New Aural Discourse” holds four fresh, futuristic and far-sighted British takes on Detroit techno by arguably one of British 1990’s electronic music’s best-kept secrets.

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“New Aural Discourse” is N.A.D.’s comeback release after over 25 years. Initially, the duo Tony Thorpe and Mustafa Ali released one album, “The Dawn Of A New Age” which was on sale for little more than a week before it vanished from record store shelves. The ablum was recorded in only a week, inspired by two of Ali’s greatest passions: science fiction and his Islamic faith. Decades after it was created, N.A.D’s forgotten debut album became something of a ‘must-have’ for electronic music collectors.

“New Aural Discourse” is the perfect alias for N.A.D.’s new release. It follows “The Dawn Of A New Age”, featuring four energetic tracks that transcend the duo’s original ideas and sound.

Tracklist:
1 Ontologic
2 A Sense Of Finitude
3 Transmatting
4 Code

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This player previews V/a – Pantsula! – The rise of Electronic Dance Music in South Africa, 1988-90

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Late 80s South African dance floor winners only! Selected by DJ Okapi and Antal, the compilation holds tracks by Jivaro, The Hard Workers, Ayobayo Band, S.Y.B. & many more. This is the sharp electronic music that fuelled the local Pantsula dances during the 80s and 90s . A must have for fans of Bubblegum and Kwaito music.

The 12 tracks selected for Pantsula! come from a very unique, very different time and place. They represent the birth of electronic dance music in South Africa, through the songs of one particular independent label from the time: Music Team. The sound represents the culmination of the bubblegum era, when South Africa’s disco artists outgrew their American influences and forged an increasingly electronic and ‘local’ pop sound.

Evolving over time since long before the 80s, the distinctly South African subculture of Pantsula is more closely associated with an attitude, a style and a signature dance, rather than any specific sound. In the late 1980s and early 90s, Pantsula was also the name given to a new type of dance music taking over the streets of South Africa, influenced by earlier bubblegum and the rise of Shangaan Disco, but with a far broader appeal and a harder, purely electronic sound.

Tracklist
1. The Equals – New Lover
2. Jazino – Ushelakanjani
3. Jivaro – What Next
4. S.Y.B – Jika Magogo
5. Scotch Band – Watsotasama
6. Kakappa – Sisonke
7. Spirro – Ma Hero (Dub Mix)
8. The Hard Workers – Ayoba-yo
9. Ayobayo Band – Sorry Bra
10. Rush feat. Linda Ziqubu – Sobohla Manyosi
11. Chaka – Via Tembisa
12. La Viva – Go Siami

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The fifth House Of Music magazine is due out in the following weeks, which awakens memories of some of the articles in last year’s edition. For the occasion of returning to Paris this weekend for the celebration of RH’s 20th anniversary at the beautiful Macki Music festival, we think it’s fair to share a great Parisian story online from last year.

photo: Bernie van VlijmenE&S HEADQUARTERS, PHOTO BERNIE VAN VLIJMEN

After over 40 years, the DJ industry has become worth billions – but that little lightweight known as the DJR400 is still a boutique rotary mixer, handmade for a bunch of audiophiles and purists. In the previous House Of Music, we spoke with Floating Points about his Isonoe rotary mixer. Now it’s time to properly highlight E&S, the company that re-introduced this type of mixer for the market. Their rotary box is supported by the likes of Theo Parrish, Kerri Chandler and Joe Claussell, among many others.

The Electronique Spectacle DJR series was carefully designed by DJ Deep and engineer Jerôme Barbé at the start of the century, and has been hand-produced by Barbé and his two co-workers ever since. “With E&S, I am happy to go against the flow of society, because everything is disposable. I like to build things that are designed to last”, Barbé says in his studio.

October 2015 was a warm month in Paris. We arrived at audio engineer’s Jerôme Barbé studio in our summery outfits. Excited as we were, we didn’t know what to expect at the place where the magic happens – the magic that inspired the revival of the rotary DJ-mixer over a decade ago.

“Desole, je ne parle pas anglais. Mais oui, Jerôme est ici, entrez,” we heard through the intercom. The gate opened and we entered a beautiful residence with a cute courtyard. We expected to encounter a sonically optimized work environment, possible a vast space with excellent acoustics. On the contrary: we found two men working in a small barn, stuffed with all kinds of objects. Wires, scrubs, metal, machines and more machines. Barbé co-worker, who answered the door, went back to his desk to solder components.

IMG_5436JERÔME BARBÉ IN HIS STUDIO. PHOTO: BERNIE VAN VLIJMEN

E&S is not used to receiving visitors, and their studio is situated in a quiet residential area. When E&S are in touch with their customers, it’s either via email or on the phone. As we looked around, we scrutinised every corner of the studio – a studio that totally serves and breathes analog equipment, run by a few of the best French men in electrical audio engineering. There’s only one hidden spot in the studio, and that’s where Barbé has hidden his Moog synth.

The engineer
Despite Jerôme Barbé’s full-time occupation, the audio-engineer doesn’t have much experience with clubbing. He would rather go out for a good concert. “I listen to classical music on my DJR, to all kinds of things. For me, she’s not limited to one style”, he says.

Barbé loves music, but he isn’t a musician. He’s a listener, with a disposition of character to construct and deconstruct. He started building machines at a young age, which encouraged him to learn from the best in all sorts of fields. It really started for him when he was only 10 years old, building synthesizers, trying things out. “Back then I loved bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. When I got my first synthesizer – the Korg MS20 – I didn’t play it, but took it apart it to see what was in there. Then I knew I really had a thing for electrical engineering,” he recalls.

The self-taught engineer trained himself to become one of the best men in his field, after working on all sorts of projects. “Together with Jean Louis Dierstein I worked for Moog as a certified technician, fixing synthesizers and sequencers for customers”,Barbé starts. “Just the two of us, because Moog had only only two people working in the French warranty devision.” At that time, Barbé mostly repaired synths, but he also worked for hurdy-gurdy player Pierre Charial. After he got bored of repairing stuff, he started building his own machines and that’s when a French legend came into play. “In the early days of MIDI technology, I created MIDI-kits for old synthesizers. I even worked for Jean-Michel Jarre back then, that was really something special…”

photo: Bernie van VlijmenSTORAGE. PHOTO: BERNIE VAN VLIJMEN

A revival
The E&S company was founded when slider mixers were already dominating the DJ booth for years, and the classic rotaries had vanished into oblivion. Some DJs and audiophiles weren’t happy with the new DJ standard, because they came from a different background and aesthetic. One of them was French DJ and audiophile Cyril Etienne des Rosaies aka DJ Deep. He asked Jerôme Barbé to fix his classic Urei 1260 DJ mixer and was happily surprised with the result. Barbé explains: “I came with the idea to take it from the Urei technology and build a similar mixer from scratch. The first mixer we’ve built looks like the classic Urei mixer, but I changed a few things that I didn’t like. I gave it a VU-meter instead of cue, for example.”

After over more than a year of tweaking and numerous listening sessions with Des Rosaies and others, Barbé nailed the sound esthetic that was the standard for the classic mixers. The two finished their first mixer, the DJR100, which was almost a copy of the classic Urei 1620. After that, E&S continued with a model that had never been made before : a rotary for portable use. “A mixer is like a musical instrument. Some DJs are attached to theirs, like musicians to their guitar. With the DJR400 they don’t have to adapt to different set-ups each night, because they plug and play their own mixer. In short, the DJR400 arose after levelling with many heads in the field. DJ Deep initiated the conception of his prototype, Kerri Chandler came with the idea of a portable machine and the idea for intergrating isolators came from Joe Claussell.”

The DJR400 turned out to be the most popular – Kerri Chandler, Danny Krivit, Joe Claussell and Dimitri From Paris became the hand-made mixer’s ambassadors and the machine received acclaim from DJs and audiophiles alike. Thanks to the buzz that DJ Deep created, E&S had the opportunity to grow.

Jerôme Barbé gives us a little tour in his studio. It’s an exciting place, with lots of fascinating stuff kicking around in there. Barbé’s co-worker is welding pieces together behind his desk. “The handmade principle is not particularly about crafting the whole mixer ourselves. We order components too, such as the chips. It’s about the way the machine is put together – that’s pure alchemy”, Barbé emphasizes.

photo: Bernie van VlijmenTHE MACHINE. PHOTO: BERNIE VAN VLIJMEN

The machine
In conversation with the Main Man, we finally had the occasion to bust some mixer-myths. To start off with the weight… A mixer is basically an amplifier and we tend to think that the weighty amplifiers are the best. In the early days, the legendary classic Bozak rotary was a heavy, extremely powerful mixer, with discrete class-A components. Although the DJR 400 is lightweight and contains integrated circuits, it’s still sound. Barbé explains how.

Before E&S, Barbé had also worked with class-A technology. The Parisien analog gear obsessive Philippe Zdar (Cassius) asked Barbé to build a custom class-A mixer. “I made a specific design with a tone control like the classic Bozak had. There is a clear difference between the two technologies. The discrete transistors are class A components and the chips are class A/B. The class A components are more linear, they reduce sound distortion”, he explains. “I’m using class A/B components. Sound is all about distortion and bandwith. With class A components your reach is bigger, it’s possible to go from +24 to -24 volts. However, with class A/B components, they go from +19 to -19.” He continues: “My mixers are made out of lightweight aluminium and they’re thinner. And like the Urei 1260, the DJR works with chips instead of discrete circuits, which reduces weight.”

Another popular question concerning rotaries: What’s the use of an analog mixer when you play digital ? “This doesn’t really concern the mixer”, Barbé says. “The conversion takes place outside the mixer. So the mixer doesn’t interfere with the sound, it’s the CD player that does. Upstream in the production process, the sound has already been digitally inflicted. The output depends on the vinyl press or the mastering of the CD. There’s no absolute answer to this question. There are converters from 200 e to 20.000, so that the mp3 itself is also not the issue. It all depends on the different elements involved.”

Custom made
E&S’ acclaim has grown over the years. They’ve got more and more rave reviews and more and more orders, but they still produce only three machines a week. E&S is substantial in the minds of audio freaks, and the DJR400 has cemented its place in audio history. And although the company could probably have a much bigger position in the billion dollar DJ industry, it’s still housed in a barn. It was time to ask Jerôme Barbé how he keeps up with the demand – and about his infamous waiting list… “Nonsense”, Barbé replies. “I dont know who wrote on which blog that you have to wait two years to have one. It’s completely false. One year ago it would have taken six weeks. Now that I have extra work force, it can be between one or two months. But if we go faster, we have to rush and that would damage the quality of the product, and also the image of the brand.”

So Barbé sticks to his original ways, offering tailor-made machines for all kinds of artists and customers, with a great sense of detail and responsibility for what he produces. “When a machine is well-calibrated, it can be mass-produced as a model. Sure. The thing with E&S, is that I produce disparate designs, and that doesn’t allow me to produce 100 machines at once.”

The studio has a large amount of shelves with little buckets for different components – one especially for Joe Claussell. “Joe Claussell had the most challenging request for E&S. He wanted me to merge two 400’s, which I’d never done before. To be honest, I still ask myself what he wanted this for. He probably didn’t have enough isolators.”

Good ol’
Jerôme Barbé is happy with the way things are. Orders drop in through email or on the phone and everything is self-financed with the customer’s deposit. When a machine is finished, it’s boxed and shipped to the customer by the same responsible team that built it. During work, he listens to music on a low cost set up – and that’s perfectly fine for him. Every once in a while a customer pops in to pay their respects. “I prefer to produce less and to be fully engaged with my customers. When you produce more, you have less attention for each individual assignment. And then the returns come. Each machine is produced with a lot of care. I prefer to work like this, instead of having 50 percent of the machines come back for repairs. My job is not to mass produce – I don’t know how to do it”, he concludes.

Back to work
We have to go, time’s up – Jerôme Barbé is a busy man. However, he can still find a moment to talk about E&S, their service and the principle of mass-production. And then – we guess – he has found his mission statement : “With E&S, I am happy to go against the flow of society, because everything is disposable. I just like to build things that last. Modernity offers us beautiful things, but most are really ephemeral.”

Words: Souleiman Bouri & Mijke Hurkx

THE ROTARY MIXER – AN INTRODUCTION:

The first mixer to ever be made available for the DJ market was a rotary mixer – a mixer with only rotary knobs. The first models – the Bozak CMA-10-2DL and a little later the Urei 1620 – were specifically designed for big, analog sound systems. Heavy, expensive and powerful, these were made with the best components in order to generate the best sound. Hand-made and solid as a rock, the makers’ goal was to reproduce the audio as realistically as possible. The mixers were developed in an era when clubbing was still an emerging phenomenon. Only a few big clubs existed, and those clubs had excellent sound systems, thanks to the high quality club equipment available during this period. Bozak’s mixer could be found in Nicky Siano’s Gallery in Studio 54, and after that in the Paradise Garage. This type of mixer slowly disappeared in the 80s, because of the growing number of clubs around the world, and there were simply not enough hands to produce the number of mixers that were needed. As a result, new models were developed and the DJ mixer became available for a larger market. This new generation of mixers was industrially produced and instead of rotary knobs, they had sliders. Slider mixers were mass-produced, rather than hand-made and rather than designed to be the best, were built to serve the emerging DJ-market. Years later, E&S built a machine in line with the originals, inspiring the birth of a new generation of rotaries.

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This player previews Ben & Sadar’s – We Are Righteous People (RH-STORE JAMS010). Sadar Bahar & Ben ‘Cosmic Force’ team up and come correct with these two direct disco jams!

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The two tracker accidentally arose after Sadar Bahar discovered Ben’s Utrecht based studio (housing 60 synths!). Ben was charmed by the electronic elements in Sadar’s funk and Sadar loved Ben’s ideas. Nuff said, a new NL based project was born. Nothing sampled for these tracks… only stabbing guitar, bass, sax and pounding drum programming for dance floor heat!

Tracklist
1. We Are Righteous People
2. Bouncing Atoms

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This player previews Senyaka – Bayanyonyoba (RH RSS 23):

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South African house and synth-funk from the kwaito era by the legendary Senyaka Kekana. The unexpected deep house jam “Bayanyonyoba (1993)” and the illustrious soul song “Don’t Judge Me Bad (1987)” are big RH favorites. Original copies are absolutely impossible to find, now released on 12inch format for the first time…

Esa Williams - “I had the pleasure of performing alongside Senyaka at the Alexander Theatre, Johannesburg back in 2012 which would have probably been his last most iconic gig before his passing in 2015. These two tracks really showcase the sounds of South Africa around the early to late 80’s, the influences from American synth pop and House that would then lead later into many of these records being played at the wrong speed which ultimately became the original Kwaito sound from South Africa.”

Kwaito is not just a form of house music, it’s also about the way South Africans dress, talk and dance. The lifestyle took shape in Soweto and gained popularity throughout the cities and townships of South Africa during the nineties. In the backdrop of a transforming South Africa, this slow, loud and striking form of house music emerged just before Nelson Mandela took office as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Kwaai meaning hot, kicking – kwaito is a style in which the sung, rapped and shouted lyrics played a prominent part to mobilise the youth and push for change.

The late Senyaka’s 1987 album Fuquza (Dance) was years ahead of its time and gave rise to his reputation as a forerunner of the kwaito sound. The album includes “Don’t Judge Me Bad” as well as “African Rap” and “Go Away”. Later, in 1993, with South Africa on the cusp of democracy and the kwaito movement about to explode into the mainstream, Senyaka cemented his position with the release of his landmark album Ma-Gents, which included the song “Bayanyonyoba”.

Regarded as one of the first African rappers, this pioneering artist was best known for his eccentric, controversial lyrics – delivered with a bold and at times funny approach that endeared him to many fans. Outside music, Senyaka also grew in popularity thanks to his roles as an actor, including in the popular homegrown film Moruti wa Tsotsi and the television comedy Ashifa Shabba.

The emblematic artist successfully reinvented himself during his career, which led to divergent works. Senyaka’s versatile character shines through in this release as well. “Bayanyonyoba” is a soulful, loud but dreamy South African house gem, whilst “Don’t Judge Me Bad” is a more introverted electronic soul song.

Tracklist
1. Bayanyonyoba
2. Don’t Judge Me Bad

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This player previews Vincent Floyd – Hard To Love (RHM 020), due for release in Spring. A stunning Chicago deep house song by the dreamy, lovelorn Vincent Floyd, recorded in the early nineties. Previously unreleased, mastered from the original DAT tapes.

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Tracklist:
1. Vincent Floyd – Hard To Love
2. Vincent Floyd – Hard To Love (Instr.)

Catch Vincent Floyd at the RH weekender – rare chance to see him play a live show, first time in the Netherlands.

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