House Music & Spirituality Mix Pt.2
Unsurprisingly Frankie Knuckles appears on both this and the previous mix. His contribution to the genre as a whole, and as a proponent of the spiritual aspects of house music is impossible to deny. The mix opens with Knuckles Rain Falls (released in 1991, remixed by David Morales). Stylistically this feels like a real shift from something like Adeva's Musical Freedom (released only 18 months earlier). Smoother, more obviously gospel inspired, more "musical" than a lot of previous house. The track is more expansive and evolving than the existing canon.
Knuckles and Adeva also offer up Walkin' (released in 1995 on Virgin, this is the Grant Nelson Divine Gospel Mix) a few tracks later. Walkin' represents an interesting track especially as it's the first instance I've found of a track specifically using the word "Jesus" (certainly worthy of note if not for any other reason than that). It's interesting that it took nearly 11 years for house music to throw out something this overtly christian, but it seems fitting that two of the most solidly religious voices in house music (Knuckles and Adeva) were the ones to release this. And lest we forget, it was Frankie Knuckles who offered up the legendary line:
"House music is a church for the children fallen from grace"
The UK became distinctly more prevalent in the 1990s house scene, and the inclusion of SJC's Happy Day and Danny Rampling's Community Of The Spirit highlights the the growth of house music on this side of the pond. Indeed these may be two of my favorite examples in all of the canon of house music with some kind of religious leaning. Happy Day is straight up exuberant gospel, crying out for a better tomorrow and working together to achieve it. Rampling's contribution may be the highpoint of UK house music in the 1990s, combining innumerable tropes and themes into one incredibly effective piece of house music. We also get the UDP's Testify, which in comparison to Danny Rampling's tune feels incredibly clunky and obvious, but still a strong example of the same ideas.
Recently I talked about one of the thematic trends that appear in Chicago house music. The most readily identifiable themes is that of "belief", and interpretations of what that may mean in many situations (religious, romantic, dancefloor etc.) abound. This mix includes two of the strongest expressions of that theme that occurred in the 1990s. The Absolute's I Believe hits several of the theme's criteria in one fell swoop with references to "lifting up" "getting higher" and "believing". Jocelyn Brown also reinforces those ideas at the end of the mix with her collaboration with the Ministers De La Funk (a supergroup consisting of DJ Sneak, Morillo and "Choo Choo" Romero) also titled Believe.