Something happened. At some point, we lost our way. “Chicago House” to me was anything but what “Chicago House” now means in the wider world. I’m really not trying to sound naive here – until way too recently, I clung to the quaint notion that “Chicago House” was more a style than a genre. Technically adept, prone to introspective or even selfish DJ excursions and most importantly of all an absolute fucking disregard for anything having to do with “genre”… That’s what it meant to me. It meant Derrick Carter playing “Spastik” under “When Doves Cry”. Anyone could try it, but a Chicago DJ would make you love it. And it drives me absolutely insane to hear some Dude House kid talk about his fondness for “Inland Knights and other Chicago House-style artists”.
Seriously: fuck you.
How did we wind up here? At some point, when people were pushing, we took a breather from pushing back. Maybe we got tired, got bored or felt it was hopeless anyway. But enough people – I’m going to go with Justin Long, Traxx, Chez, Jamal Moss, Kate Simko… really, now that I think about it, dozens – kept on pushing. And now it’s changing again. “Chicago House” (which often sounded like what purists today would call “Techno”) and “Detroit” Techno (which often today sounds like what purists would call “House”), once blown apart so some motherfucker in a Miles Davis fedora could pretend he was into the really deep shit – he’s an artist, dontchaknow? – are drifting back together again, in large part thanks to people like the gunslingers mentioned above, and Robert Hood.
Even at his most abstract, his most, well, minimal, there’s something about Robert Hood that is too honestly soulful for the catch-all of his hometown, but too rough for the sleepy and the jacked-up purists of a Chicago House that never was and (despite their best efforts) never will be. Thanks to a relentless touring schedule and tracks like “Torque One” and “Movement” and of course the more obvious crossover material released under his Floorplan guise, Robert Hood is maybe now getting the recognition he deserves for an uncanny ability to bury a piece of his soul in machine music, instead of inspiring a generation of imitators that made music for three turntables rather than other human beings.
Motor: Nighttime World 3 is the continuation of a project begun back in 1995 and last visited some 12 years ago with Volumes 1 and 2 on Cheap Records and M-Plant, respectively. And there’s a point to it here aside from l’art pour l’art: inspired by the documentary Requiem for Detroit? by filmmaker Julian Temple (best known for his music documentaries, including Sex Pistols flicks The Great Rock’N’Roll Swindle and The Filth and the Fury), these two early samples from Motor veer from direct assault on the senses (“Torque One”) to something that is – if you’ll forgive me saying so – heartbreaking, an assault on the emotional core. I’m really not sure I’ve ever heard Techno that made me want to really tear up before, and if it was, it was from a cheap trick of synths and samples and cleverly-timed crashes rather than something like “Movement” that just pounded my heart down my throat.
I don’t know – go where your inspiration takes you, but amidst the deeper glory of “Torque One”, the chaotic gospel house of Floorplan and hammered fury of Omega and Internal Empire, there’s got to be a place in a world and on a dancefloor for “Movement”, even if all of the Chicago DJs are dead.