How Chicago house got its groove back

From The Chicago Reader:

Chicago house music is the sound of global pop today. In the 90s, though, it was on life support—until a new wave of producers, including Cajmere and DJ Sneak, got the city doing the Percolator.

Chicago house has been transformed by the globalization of electronic music in the digital age, but a mix from DJ Sneak still sounds familiar.

House music was as ubiquitous in late-80s Chicago as it is worldwide today. Local labels like Trax, DJ International, and Dance Mania were churning out 12-inches that detonated in local clubs as well as overseas. The now-defunct WBMX‘s Hot Mix 5, a group of DJ all-stars, launched the still-thriving careers of Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Ralphi Rosario, and Bad Boy Bill, among others. A party with any of those DJs—not to mention Frankie Knuckles (who arrived in 1977 from New York to spin full-time at the Warehouse, the club that gave house music its name and the place where his combination of disco classicism and drum-machine enhancements molded the music’s style) and Ron Hardy of the Music Box (dead of misadventure in 1992, and a fiercer, more expressionistic DJ than Knuckles)—could attract as many as 5,000 people.

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