Dancing? On a weeknight? Who would have thought? Well, as it turns out, one of the best places in San Francisco to catch house music is weekly Wednesday night affair Housepitality at F8. For more than two years, the crew behind it has provided a wild environment regularly featuring some of the biggest acts in underground dance music, and, along the way, they've created a worthy foil to the larger weekend scene. Tonight the party welcomes Detroit hip-hop/house producer Andrés, the man behind "New for U," the sample-heavy cut widely considered by dancefloors and critics to be the defining house track of 2012.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the lines dividing hip-hop and underground house weren't so clear. DJs in the '80s and '90s used to jump between the two styles, playing off the shared creative element of sampling in both. In fact, many of the tracks from the so-called "golden era" of hip-hop often featured the work of contemporary house heavyweights, such as David Morales' hypnotic dub of Black Sheep's "Strobelight Honey" or Todd Terry's work with the Jungle Brothers.
While much of the hip-hop/house crossover of the past was happening in New York and Chicago, in Andrés' case it was all about Detroit. Moving to the Motor City from California in the late '80s, he quickly found himself immersed in the local music scene. Working at the beloved Buy-Rite Music, he was introduced to many of Detroit's leading musical figures. But it was the influence of James Dewitt Yancey (better known as J. Dilla) that had the most lasting impact on his sound. The late high-priest of experimental hip-hop had a sense of rhythmic timing and a considered approach to sampling that can easily be heard in much of Andrés' discography. That's in no small part due to Dilla's role as a DJ with Slum Village, the hip-hop group that Yancey helped form in the late '90s.
Simultaneously, Andrés also managed to hook up with Kenny Dixon Jr., the mercurial sample-chopping house producer better known as Moodymann. Working under his wing, Andrés began crossing his stylistic wires, and ultimately released a series of 12-inch singles via Dixon's KDJ and Mahogani Music imprints. Many of these are now rightly considered classics, with tracks like "313 Love," "Seasons So Long," and "Moments in Life" reconfiguring overlooked vinyl records into uptempo dance music via the low bit-rate fuzz of old-school sampler technology. Andrés still remained mostly a cult figure, but that changed significantly last year with the release of "New for U." The track hit it huge in clubs, with a subdued mixture of crisp disco rhythm and lush orchestration.
In an interview with Fact magazine, he said, "I learned how to scratch before I learnt how to mix, and being a percussionist I take great pride in my scratching, I tell people I'm a hip-hop DJ but I don't just play hip-hop." And that's a statement that should make this seasoned veteran's set this evening all the more interesting.
Wednesday, April 10. 9 p.m. $5-$10