10

“The funk is strong with this one.”

Star Wars + Daft Punk = “Darth Punk – The Funk Awakens“, an outstanding fusion of our favorite space opera and electronic dance music. This neon masterpiece is the work of Infectious Designer and it’s one of the most awesomely geeky music videos we’ve ever seen. There are super shiny helmets, glowing shoes, irresistible beats, lightsaber battles, and even a droid with a built-in cassette tape deck.

“One day Vader and Fett will recruit for the the dark side, disguised as an electronic music duo… they will be arresting ears and administering intergalactic rhythm and beats. The Rebels won’t stand a chance. This is their music video, featuring ‘Dj Gonk’.”

There’s also a Darth Punk Prequel:

And a behind-the-scenes video:

For more Darth Punk-related photos and videos check out the Infectious Designer Instagram feed and Facebook page.

[via GeekTyrant, Fashionably Geek, and Laughing Squid]

5

Frankie Knuckles, The Godfather of House, 1955-2014

A link round-up about the inventions and contributions of Frankie Knuckles, the out gay producer, remixer, and DJ who utterly transformed the landscape of dance music in the too few decades of his life!

Frankie Knuckles - House pioneer and DJ - dies aged 59

Knuckles, who is credited to have invented the house genre, begun his residency at the westside club [The Warehouse] in 1977 at the height of disco fever, but by 1980 a backlash had swept the craze away. He began playing obscure imports and re-editing oddball disco records for maximum dancefloor impact. The crowd, overwhelmingly black and gay, went nuts for the style which became known as “house” as the new underground style spread to clubs across the city. “As disco died, we started to play around with drum machines and re-edit old songs, to keep the crowd engaged, to make them hear classics in a different way,” Knuckles wrote for the Observer in 2007. “Other people who were perhaps more musically inclined than me, often because they were musicians in church bands, saw this as a new way of doing things and picked the ball up and ran with it.”

Knuckles’s and fellow pioneer Ron Hardy’s merging of Salsoul classics with mutant disco, electro and European synth-pop paved the way for the first tailor-made house tracks in 1984. Six years later, Knuckles proudly described his creation as “disco’s revenge”.

 Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton:

In Chicago, as the seventies became the eighties, if you were black and gay your church may well have been Frankie Knuckles’ Warehouse, a three-story factory building in the city’s desolate west side industrial zone.

Offering hope and salvation to those who had few other places to go, here you could forget your earthly troubles and escape to a better place. Like church, it promised freedom, and not even in the next life. In this club Frankie Knuckles took his congregations on journeys of redemption and discovery.

“In the early days between ‘77 and ‘81, the parties were very intense,” he remembers.  “Things were always intense - but the feeling that was going on then, I think, was very pure.  The energy, the feeling, the feedback you’d get from the room, from the people in the room, was very spiritual.

Frankie Knuckles, Disco’s Revenge, and Gay Black Music’s Triumph, by Rick Juzwlak:

Today, plenty of people listen to house music (whether via EDM or otherwise) without recognizing its roots as gay black music for gay black people. But that is what it is, and that it came to prominence at a time in which the gay community was being ravaged by AIDS, is a triumph. It’s but one of several examples of the gays knowing something it would take years for the rest of the world to discover. And it might not have happened without Frankie Knuckles, certainly not in the way it did. He was one of the handful of people who’ve been on this earth that we could point to and say, “There. That man changed culture.”

Further reading:

Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame: Frankie Knuckles:

A postcard from … Chicago, by Frankie Knuckles

The Warehouse: The Place House Music Got It’s Name, by Jacob Arnold

How Frankie Knuckles Saved Dance Music from the Disco Demolition Darkness, by Whet Moser