Dance music fallacy #036: house artists don’t make good albums – and if they do, you’ve already heard them.
Back in 2013, we pulled together a list of the most underrated techno albums of the last 25 years – and there turned out to be so many we had to publish a sequel. Hardly surprising, really: techno’s meditative bent and way with a high-concept has, broadly speaking, made it a particular friend to the album format.
Not so with house albums. From the early years onwards, house producers have, for the most part, aimed pointedly at the floor. Some of that is arguably structural: looser and lither than their techno counterparts, house records tend to be less well suited to the blinds-down-headphones-on listening experience. But it’s also a mark of a sound that, across continents and scenes, has typically been meted out in 12″ micro-doses. When an exceptional house artist album arrives, it inevitably zooms to the top of the barrel with bends-inducing speed, leaving a trail of okay-to-weak LPs in its wake.
Lesser-known gems are, however, very much out there. We’ve checked our respective record shelves, surveyed heads (Jerome Derradji and Mr Beatnick among them), and pulled together a list of excellent – and, in some cases, out-and-out classic – house albums you’re unlikely to have encountered, at least from start-to-finish. Most are from the 1990s, but beyond that it’s a broad and vibrant congregation. Be upstanding for, amongst others: Warp-sanctioned obscurities; forgotten filter house; diva house in exclesis; and a first-wave standout that never quite made it to shore.