What is “deep house?” That's a difficult question to answer, and it depends who you're asking. These days, it's common to see the term bandied about with little rhyme or reason, adorning flyers for bottle-service club nights, or used to describe the pop-house crossover plied by hugely popular artists like Disclosure. For purists, “deep house” belongs to a specific sub-type of house music that incorporates influences from soul and jazz, adding heady, conceptual flair to music otherwise designed to move the body. These days, artists producing this kind of soulful, cerebral house music are much more rare than the widespread overuse of “deep house” would suggest, but they're out there, if you dig a little bit below the surface — like Joey Anderson, part of an extended family of New York artists that includes Levon Vincent, DJ Qu, Fred P, Jus-Ed, and more.
[jump] The magic of Joey Anderson's music lies in the fact that it exists in the space between house and techno, dancefloor music and home listening music, and what sounds familiar and what does not. In fact, unlike the deep house of yore, Anderson's tracks borrow little from soul or jazz. His productions possess the melodic grooves you typically expect to hear in house music (“deep” or otherwise), but the sound palette is totally different, closer to Detroit techno. The end result feels strange and uncanny, recognizable but distinct.
Anderson's DJ selections borrow from the same palette as his own productions: slower-tempo, psychedelic house and techno, woven together gently, with unfussed mixing, letting tracks unfurl and play out. Even among his contemporary deep house crew, Joey Anderson stands out — he's one of a kind. Additionally, We Are Monsters' resident DJs, Solar, Mozhgan, and Jason Greer, are some of the finest in the city, and will bring an assortment of cosmic disco, weird house, dirty electro, and more.
Other worthy parties this week
As You Like It presents Pachanga Boys (Extended Set) at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. $20-$25; mighty119.com
Although I've never been to Burning Man, I imagine it sounds a lot like Pachanga Boys' “Time.” Pachanga Boys are a duo made up of Cologne-based DJ and producer Superpitcher, long affiliated with Kompakt Records, and Rebolledo, the Mexico City weirdo who is a mainstay of Kompakt sub-label Cómeme. “Time” is undoubtedly the duo's best-known track, a 15-minute long epic built around a heart-breaking Sufjan Stevens sample. On paper, it seems absurd: Its emotiveness borders on the saccharine, and it changes little over the course of its quarter-hour length. And yet it works brilliantly, mainly because it is, in fact, so simple and earnest. This Saturday, the Pachanga Boys will be making their San Francisco debut, their first time playing in the city after years of hotly tipped appearances at Burning Man; locals Bells & Whistles support in the main room, while Rich Korach, Mark Slee, and Jimmy B hold down Mighty's side room.
1015 & SnowGlobe present Gesaffelstein at 1015 Folsom, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19. $30; 1015.com
Gesaffelstein is a curiosity. The French producer has been at it since 2008, when he released his first record, Vengeance Factory, a 4-track EP filled with gloriously retro heavy synth rhythms, not sounding too far off from the soundtrack to a classic Italian giallo horror film. He has since become enormously popular — this is actually his second gig at 1015, added after his first show last week completely sold out in advance. The secret to his success lies in the way he's incorporated the arms-in-the-air, big-room proto-EDM sound that was the trademark of his French countrymen Justice and others on Ed Banger Records, commonly (and misleadingly) known as “electro,” as in “electro house.” While a good deal of his tracks are unabashedly designed to make 21-year-old kids rave their faces off, they also feature nuance and rawness, too. Techno for the kids and for the codgers!
The Shuffle Co-Op presents John Barera and Maroje T at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20. $10-$15; feightsf.com
The Shuffle Co-Op has been throwing parties warehouse-style in Oakland for a little while now, focusing on artists who mine that territory where deep house becomes indistinguishable from psychedelic techno, but it's recently begun venturing across the Bay to F8. The co-op's latest party is a record-release party for its new affiliated label, Chem Club Records, headlined by Maroje T, the Brooklyn-based artist who produced its debut record. There's only a few minute-long snippets of the record available online, but judging from those, it's a treat, featuring spaced-out acid techno stabs (calling back to Laurent Garnier's classic “Acid Eiffel”) and a second tune with a breezy, effervescent mood. Steadily rising star John Barera offers up his remix on the record's flipside, and he's on DJ duty, too, bringing the warm, easy-going house vibes he's known for. Additionally, Shuffle Co-Op resident DJ Petko Nikolov will warm up the floor.
WERD. featuring Nick Monaco at Monarch, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. $5-$10; monarchsf.com
The extended, overlapping universes of Soul Clap (a DJ duo from Boston with an eponymous record label) and Wolf + Lamb (a DJ duo from Brooklyn with an eponymous record label), and their easy-going, funky house sounds are well on their way to becoming American dance music institutions. Nick Monaco, a member of this aforementioned extended family, is certainly the most “San Francisco” artist, lipstick and all, in the Soul Clap/W+L universe — no big surprise, because he's from San Francisco. Music-wise, Monaco makes groovy, pop-friendly house music with big, funky basslines, always accompanied by his crystalline falsetto vocals. In other words, it's the kind of funky dance music that someone might produce if they grew up worshipping Prince. (Monaco collaborated with Parliament on a Soul Clap record earlier this year, in fact.) A slew of WERD. resident DJs will also be on hand to warm up the floor.