Revisiting BBC's 'Pump Up The Volume' Documentary On Chicago House Music!

Leave it to the establishment behemoth BBC to provide the most insightful documentary into the Chicago House scene as the first third of a comprehensive house music documentary. That they did so fifteen years ago and little else has joined it in helping flesh out the story of just how the Chicago house music scene exploded in the mid-80's is a credit to the documentary's scope and breadth, yet, like all good things, it still manages to leave you wanting more.

All the hits are given their moment in the spotlight, "Your Love" by Jamie Principle, "Larry Hear's "Can You Feel It", "Time To Jack" by Chip E, "On and On" by Jesse Saunders, "Acid Trax" by Phuture, and Marshall Jefferson's landmark unofficial anthem of house music, "Move Your Body".

While Frankie Knuckles is mentioned, incredulously, there is no interview footage. While many of the other major players on the Chicago house scene appear here - including Trax Records honcho Larry Sherman, Steve "Silk" Hurley, Screamin' Rachel Cain, and Scott Smokin' Silz from WBMX's Hot Mix 5 -  Knuckles' absence in this project is glaring, but it doesn't keep it from being an infectious trip down memory lane for those who were there.

As someone who arrived in town just in time to partake in house music's hallowed heyday in the Windy City, looking back on it now, it was a musical movement that shared a lot with Britain and NYC's embrace of early punk. The same DIY aesthetic that led Johnny Rotten to try his hand at being a rock singer was the same that led the likes of Jamie Principle, Chip E, and Marshall Jefferson to create their own house classics in their bedrooms with intuitive use of whatever inexpensive synths, drum machines and samplers they could get their hands on.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

No comments:

Post a Comment