Amongst my fondest memories of growing up, staying up late and participating in NYC’s house music culture are the most cherished. For me, the sense of togetherness and community immediately made me want to be a part of it and I very fervently served as an enthusiastic participant. Nor has the sound ever left my ears – I still keep up with it and try to be there live as much as possible. Various factors have dealt house a heavy blow lately especially in the last few years. However, in keeping with the almost mystical hold it has over me it is doubly refreshing to see what new groups continue to mine that classic style.
Dubbyjenkins certainly understands the importance of making the house experience an immersive one. For his House & Tech House 2021 he extends the playlist out for over a day. While many may see this as excessive, not me. House requires epic duration for it is a physical and an emotional experience, one that really needs to be surrendered to. Additionally, speaking as someone who once tried to make a fifty-minute playlist but ended up with a ten hour one instead, I get it. The joys of getting fully into a sound is undeniable, and his selection of some truly excellent artists alongside a handful of completely new ones is such bliss. I try to keep up with everything going on in music, especially house and tech house, but having this sort of wide-ranging library-like knowledge adds to its overall deftness, featuring a light touch.
One of the nice things about the mix is how it serves as a living, breathing document. By being updated weekly, Dubbyjenkins ensures that his music has a constant ebb and flow to it, the way good music should. Nor does he keep it predictable – alongside some nice deep cuts are some familiar favorites to those well-acquainted with the sound. The balance between these two competing interests makes it particularly bewildering. I know, from my own experience, how some of these playlists can be a bit of “crate digger versus crate digger” sort of battles. Conversely, sometimes the playlists simply cater too hard to the crowd. By finding the middle ground between these two extremes, he crafts something that has a stunning grandeur, truly epic in scale.
Throughout the entirety of the playlist, a certain sense of narrative runs through it. Right when it is going particularly hard, he incorporates a “cool off” or, as one of my DJ friends puts it, a “making nice” aspect where the audience catches its breath. Diplo, Disclosure, these are some of the larger names on the list but he also incorporates more than the present, he also captures some of the nostalgic effects that are currently underpinning much of what is going on in music in general. To that effect he brings a club mix of “Tom’s Diner”, reveling in the recent twist of 90s nostalgia.
I enjoyed this mix immensely. Anybody driving through the Golden State of California, seeing the vast swathes of open scrubland, the desert, the ocean, and the dense forests would have a hard time finding a better soundtrack to hours’ worth of exploration than this odyssey of a playlist, lovingly curated by Dubbyjenkins.