The Foundations of House Project aims to:

Explore, examine, and document ideas of religion and spirituality in house music.

The story of house music is often hidden and marginalised as an irrelevant fragment of the greater narrative of popular music. But house music's signs and signifiers, as well as it's musical/stylistic elements, are deeply engrained into contemporary popular music from many different genres. Taking it's cue from disco, it is often seen as a purely musical development, when in actuality the seeds of house music were sown with Stonewall and the liberation movement. And is arguably the original derivation of electronic dance music, pre-dating Detroit's techno scene.

Within the music are many different themes, but often there is contained a strong vein of religious or spiritual sentiment. This may in some ways be attributed to the progression of gospel to soul to disco to house. But in others the religious reference is incredibly strong in ways that would seem surprising were these ideas not so consistently interwoven throughout the fabric of house music over the past three decades. This project has identified 6 themes that are common within much of house music's catalogue. They are detailed below.

  • Biblical References, Prayers and Creation Myths —  the use of bible quotations, scripture, prayers, preacher monologues, and creation myths within house music. Most obvious in Chicago house in the late 1980s.
  • Civil Rights, Emancipation and Freedom — there's often an attempt to graft or emulate elements of the civil rights struggle onto the music. Dr Martin Luther King is often quoted or even directly sampled, hopes of freedom from oppression, and breaking metaphorical chains/stigma appear often.

  • Community and Collectivism — much of the music talks of coming together as a community to create a more accepting society. The idea that, through music, a group of people can become a community and understand one another.

  • Utopia, Acceptance, and A Brighter Tomorrow — in a continuation and extension of the previous two themes, this sees a community striving together for a better tomorrow, and creating a utopian future through freedom and acceptance.

  • The Soul, The Feeling and Soulfulness — the most nebulous theme here, but also very common. The idea that house is something "in your soul", does something to you, or that it's a feeling that's ineffable or inscrutable by it's very nature. 

  • Belief, Affirmations and Struggle — common to many house music tracks is an expression of hope through belief. Whether this is a belief in a spiritual/religious figure, in the power of music, a romantic partner, or something else is often left ambiguous.