The Verge – Disco / Funky / House

Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the verge of a breakthrough. Following up on last week’s exploration of rising dubstep stars, this week’s topic is emerging sounds in house music.

Hercules and Love Affair released one of the most exciting albums of 2008, a journey back in time to the coke-fueled sounds that lit up Studio 54, Paradise Garage and Crisco Disco. DJ Andy Butler’s disco-house project utilized a live band that included Andrew Raposo on bass, Morgan Wiley on keyboards, and Nomi Ruiz on vocals. Post-tour, the trio has continued making music as Jessica 6, covering similar sonic territory; they classify their sound as “contortionist jazz exotica,” a tongue-in-cheek name for their sultry, soulful disco. Jessica 6 opens for electroqueer act Dangerous Muse on April 2nd at the U Street Music Hall. The video for their lead single, “Fun Girl,” gives you an idea what to expect from the group.

While the most talked about EDM sound coming from across the pond may be dubstep, a more dancefloor-friendly style deserves your attention: UK funky. This brand of house music substitutes the typical snare sounds of house for African and Latin percussion, adds in a touch of R&B vocals, and keeps the rhythm brisk enough for a cardio workout. You’ve probably heard some funky mixed into house and electro sets, from Crazy Cousinz’ “Do You Mind” to Geeneus’ remix of “Show Me Love.” UK funky lends itself to the hip roll rather than the fist pump, a welcome development in clubs everywhere. “Give It Up” by DJ MA1 (featuring Sim Simi) is a perfect example of a UK funky banger, and it first appeared on Geeneus’ Volumes One, a great introduction to the genre. Check it:

Staying in the UK, a house music producer in the dubstep stronghold of Bristol fights an uphill battle for exposure. Julio Bashmore is doing just that, DJing and producing a mix of deep house that includes elements of disco, dubstep, and funky. Called “the next Joy Orbison” – as if Joy Orbison’s time has already come and gone – Julio Bashmore combines the disparate strands of UK EDM into a signature sound that is enigmatic and experimental.

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