13 September 2016: JJC Mixtape Archive 3 – 4 x Floor

4 x Floor
November 2008

The four-on-the-floor drum machines of house and techno bored me when I was a teenager because I was a drummer and those patterns were no more interesting than the ticking of a clock or the back-and-forth of a metronome’s pendulum. But later in Philadelphia the disco records I dug up with the freestyle and electro rap I was after won me over with their slick and sometimes funky use of synthesizers (especially vocoders), and before I knew it I’d spent a year and a half and listening to a lot of records with metronomic boom-chick disco drum patterns, some of the best of which inadvertently became the first records lumped into the nascent “house” genre in Chicago record stores in the ’80s.

And then I don’t know what happened. Maybe because some house records use the TR-808 instead of the 909 or other drums, I started digging for those. Maybe because the Strictly Rhythm label with the brick wall background just looks cool (and the tunes are consistently decent, with some real standouts). Maybe because we’d already dug all the electro out of the dollar bins at the record store near my house. For whatever combination of reasons, I started enjoying house and techno, somewhat to my surprise. So I made a mixtape about my newfound tolerance for and embrace of four-on-the-floor drum patterns and even included an original composition. I also spent a fair amount of time learning how to make the gold letters on the cover because I liked the cover of Mad Rad’s “White Gold” album.

These days I have to remind myself not to get locked into a four-on-the-floor groove. Sure, the Jungle Brothers counsel house music all night long, but that advice excludes most of their own music, so I try not to follow it too closely. On the 4 x Floor mixtape, though, the beats are mainly of the down- variety, so settle in for 29 minutes of bump bump bump bump.