Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Heart goes Boompty-Boomp: How to Play House (Sneaky Carter style)

And now for something completely different... as we know, it takes a few years for a good vintage to mature. I’ve been listening to this mix since the end of 2004 or thereabouts. I dug it out the other day at the insistence of my lady, and I was freshly amazed by how well it flows, despite having the aleatory looseness of a live set where the DJs have been on the sauce. And the mixing is so exciting: cuts, loops, layers, some FX, even the occasional flam – I love hearing mixing like this, and it’s getting to be a rarity. By comparison, the mixing of a lot of popular DJs seems stiff and timid. This is house at its most hedonistic and brazen, letting it all hang out (see pic). There’s also good reason to listen this given the resurgence of funk basslines and swinging percussion loops we’ve been witnessing recently at the moment – I think that everyone who was bored by Mara Trax’ RA podcast should listen to this: it’s the antidote to their dote. And the sax track around 24:00 is just fucking ridiculous. There’s a dodgy Brazilian track around the 42-45:00 mark, but the way they disrespectfully mix it out seems to be some kind of ‘speaking through the hands’ admission of this – but they follow it with this killer batteria track which is great… anyway, listen to this mix and judge for yourself. I think it’s a classic, especially the first half. I should also add as a postscript that this is also the 'unshaven' form of the hype sound at the moment, with all the things that some people find objectionable (screaming divas, wailing saxes, gospel-influenced melodies, camp, cheesy vibe) about house left there... I wonder who of you will hate it, and why. Constructive invective is, of course, welcome...

(thanks to Malingering on flickr for the pic)


  1. Sounds like I need to check this mix out! Thanks Pete.

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  3. Oops...didn't mean to delete, I just wanted to add some stuff

    Hmm, interesting. I play and produce boompty house and stumbled across this blog a few weeks back searching for Mountain People sets, which was kind of the 'gateway drug' into minimal and techno which I've really been a lot more into lately. House is kind of stuck in a rut these days, which is interesting because you say the same about minimal. Yet it's all fresh and exciting for me coming from that background.

    With that said, I think it's interesting reading your take on the Oslo phenomenon, as I agree it's been a little overrated. That's not to say I don't like it, I do, but as a producer too there can be a little bit of sour grapes when you see something so simple and underproduced picking up so much hype. My theory is for people purely into minimal, the Oslo stuff is a breath of fresh air because they don't have that background, kind of like how all minimal is a breath of fresh air to me these days. The Mara Trax EP in particular I think is pretty terrible, it's sloppy production and sounds like a trainwreck waiting to happen when you try and mix it, yet I hear it in all kinds of sets. the Johnny D stuff I really really dig so it's hard for me to say anything bad about it, but as a whole I think it's pretty underwhelming as house, but maybe slightly more innovative as minimal, if that makes any sense.

    Also, I've noticed with regards to mixing style, a lot of 'chicago style' (for lack of a better term) DJs mix in this way, almost unapologetically aggressive (though most are less sloppy than these two to be honest). Having just started spinning minimal I feel like this stuff lends itself so much better to that mixing style, three minute blends, fx, etc. Yet I feel a lot of the sets I've heard people play have been VERY conservative on the mixing, one Luciano set (who is allegedly *seems* like one of the sneak/carter type names in your scene) he played 12 tracks over the course of a two hour set. I'm not saying you have to be sloppy like Sneak but I think there's a middle ground of interesting and creative mixing that any dj worth his salt should be treading. maybe I'm just listening to the wrong djs so far?

    Anyway, sorry for this incoherent mess, I dig your blog a lot and it's put me onto some nice stuff. I may never go back to house again :)

    edit: just listened to the set, way sloppier than usual for these guys, sauce indeed! carter plays waaay too many r&b acapellas for my taste (then and now) but that's nothing compared to the drivel sneak has been playing recently :/

  4. Jesse,

    thanks for your productive and interesting comments - very appreciated. Do you have any links to any boompty sets you think are really outstanding?

    And as far as "a middle ground of interesting and creative mixing that any dj worth his salt should be treading," who would you (or any other readers) nominate?

    I heard Optimo play the other month, and I'm always impressed by their skills AND knowledge... but it's also a taste thing.

  5. sneak is's awesome to see you guys posting this mix. While I consider myself open-minded about mixing and producing, I find myself bored by mixes like sascha dive's podcast, especially if they are going to claim 'deepness'.

  6. I haven't listened to this set yet although i actually think i already have it and listened to it 2 years ago for quite some time but since pc asked for some more online sets, i'll refer to the sven weisemann RApodcast which i think is pretty wild. The vast difference between this 'live' set and the mara trax one, is pretty obvious. The discussion on the RA forum on the cast is interesting at times as well.

  7. Thanks for posting this set, I was pleasantly surprised when it started off with Lego - El Ritmo De Verdad, which is one of the first tunes that really got me into house. I haven't heard it in years so it was great to hear it again and it still sounds so good to me now. I used to be a big fan of this funky jackin house, still am after hearing this.

    As for the mixing, I like it a lot and it works really well for this hectic house music. However, I don't think it works too well for minimal, where streamlined mixing sounds better. Lots of minimal DJs do really long mixes between tracks but it's less noticeable because the elements coming in and going out are much more subdued than this kind of house, where you instantly hear a sax, drums or vocals coming in.

    Having said that, I read somewhere that Ricardo Villalobos' biggest influence in DJing is Derrick Carter, and you can hear it back in Ricardo's mixing style. Ricardo's mixing style is pretty hectic, and some people claim it's because he can't mix, but I think he mixes like this purposely. I've heard flawless sets from Villalobos so the man can definitely mix, I just think he makes it a bit hectic to keep the minimal sounds exciting.

    The beginning of this YouTube clip kinda shows what I'm talking about with the cutting, choppy stuff that Sneak and Carter also do.

    Just my input, I really like the blog btw, keep it up.

  8. in terms of mixing,my friends have given a 3 tiered "designation" to the Djs who totally kill it mix-wise and programming wise...

    Derrick Carter - GOD
    Derrick May - Allah
    D-Wynn - Jesus

    i personally have to agree as all three have completely flipped my wig all the way from Derrick Carter's "Self Imposed Exile" mixtape from 95 (which i have to say is probably the best example of how good he can be...and that was in 95!) all the way to Derrick May's "Mayday" mix...alot of the programming contained much older records than when it was released making the fact that it wasnt about new tracks being caned but more about the skill...which you cant deny if you have heard it. I have numerous mixes in my collection of that "Boompity" type House and i may not listen to that as my main preference but it has inspired me and there is never a time where i wouldnt play one of those mixes for anyone no matter what form they are in to.


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