Tone Control’s Defining Deep House Moments – By The Insider

Wolf Music have licensed Tone Control`s 2008 stripped-back deep house classic, Illusion. Let’s face it, the OG is already more than pretty special. A foot stomping, hand clapping, somewhere in the AM shuffler, shot through with techno-toned thunder and lightning, and blessed by a way cool “church” vocal from James B Coleman – think Son House in love. Seemingly simple its arrangement is constantly shifting and subliminally building. The fine folks at Wolf have now, however, flipped this floor-filling treasure with a frankly brilliant remix from one of the track`s most famous fans, Theo Parrish. 

Retaining the vibe of the original – on the surface, minimal, but packed full of soul – Mr. Parrish adds racing percussive patterns above a funky broken beat. Stretching the song out down a kinda abstract jazz route. Teasing with flashes of short keyboard runs. The rhythm throwing about bass-heavy shapes, before dropping to a beatless Fender Rhodes solo. The second half of this sound sculpture then falls into an extended, bumping, free, passage, focussed on the quality piano playing. 

Making a direct comparison between the two versions, you can hear a distillation of all the things that have garnered Theo such devoted fans. A groove that`s super subtle, but at the same time immediate and completely irresistible – without ever resorting to an obvious 4 / 4. Sleek, sophisticated, unhurried, and uncompromising, the composition is as schooled in theory as it is in spirituality. I`ll `fess up here and admit that the problem I sometimes have with Theo`s stuff is that it can occasionally come across as a bit academic, though, I know, if I was high, out dancing at the disco, or even stoned and plugged into decent headphones, I`d feel very, very differently. This is modern dance music to truly get lost in, and that acknowledges and embraces its roots. It’s music that aims to educate as much as entertain. Theo`s remix is around 10 minutes long, but it could go on for 30 and no one would complain. 

By way of promo for this righteous release, The Insider pinned Tone Control down, and asked them for their defining deep house moments. 

Words and selections by Simon Finnegan and Marcus Harris. Idea instigated by The Insider.

Mr Fingers – Washing Machine / Can You Feel It / Beyond The Clouds – 1986

Mr Fingers - Washing Machine

Can You Feel It is a seminal slice of deep house from the originator, Larry Heard. It’s pure feeling. Washing Machine is dance floor magic for the late night when everyone is ready to go left, and Beyond The Clouds is cinematic, dark analogue future business. 36 years later, nothing has really topped this E.P.

Cassio Ware – Baby Love (Chord Mix) – 1992

Cassio Ware - Baby Love (Chord Mix)

One of many classic Blaze productions, this one has those Deep chords, chanting, hooky BV’s and a silky smooth lead vocal, that’s unmistakably Cassio Ware. Try not to singalong…

Moodymann – I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits – 1996

Moodymann - I Can’t Kick This Feelin When It Hits

This was the first Moodymann record that I got hold of, in 1997, appearing on his debut LP, on Planet E. Although it was released previously in ‘96 on his own KDJ imprint. It makes clever use of Chic’s I Want Your Love and turns it into an atmospheric roller…

Sueno Latino – Sueno Latino (Illusion First mix) – 1992

Sueno Latino - Sueno Latino (Illusion First mix)

I remember first hearing this in 1992 on a Laurent Garnier mix from Sankeys, and it blew my mind. Although it’s a Derrick May mix it uses heavily Manuel Gottshing’s E2-E4, which is also an amazing piece of long form music.

808 State – Pacific State – 1989


Seminal British dance music from 1989’s Quadra State E.P.

Kerri Chandler – Atmosphere – 1993

Kerri Chandler - Atmosphere

An all time Kaoz classic on Shelter records. This still pumps up any dance floor today. Think Kerri, think Atmosphere, Track 1.

Theo Parrish – Sweet Sticky – 1998

Theo Parrish - Sweet Sticky

From his LP, First Floor, on Peacefrog, this is a brilliant looping, hypnotic chugger with all the swing, rawness, funk and glitching you need… Vintage Theo.

Romanthony – Let Me Show You Love – 1994

Romanthony - Let Me Show You Love

Basically the “Prince” of the house music world, Romanthony went on to record with Daft Punk, on their hit, One More Time. But way before that he was making some of the most exciting and original music. This is from 1994 and follows a serious run of creativity with What Price Love on Vinylmania, and Falling From Grace on Azuli, and The Wanderer on his own Black Male Records, all released in 1993.

St Germain – Rose Rouge – 2000

St Germain - Rose Rouge

Jazz house on Blue Note – who would ever have thought it?! An absolute power groove from Ludovic Navarre, sampling Marlena Shaw. The Boulevard series of E.P.s that came before this LP, in the mid-90s were like little else at the time. This, his second album, from 2000, is  a classic.

Metro Area – Caught Up – 2001

Metro Area - Caught Up

Taken from Metro Area 3, released in 2001, and subsequently included on their debut LP in 2002, this was a big crossover at the time, and it’s easy to see why. The production is phenomenal. It sounds so good. It’s minimal, but so emotive and thoughtful. This is my favourite track from the album, although Miura is likely more popular on the dance floor.

Tone Control’s Illusion, will be reissued, along with Theo Parrish’s remix, by Wolf Music, tomorrow. 

Tone Control Illusion

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