How is house music not mainstream?
Genre Guide: What is House?
House: the origin
House music's disco borrowings are unmistakable, as it relies on the four-on-the-floor rhythm. In four-quarter time, the bass drum evenly emphasizes every beat. Compared to disco, house is even more bass-heavy. A good example of an early house song that follows exactly this pattern is "Beyond The Clouds" by house pioneer Mr. Fingers.
From cool to funky: a particularly diverse genre
An important difference between house and another “great” of electronic dance music, namely the genre of techno, is that house can sound similarly cold and industrial, but doesn't have to. The many different subgenres of house can be reduced, psychedelic or funky.
This diversity is expressed above all by their respective bpm number (beats per minute) as well as the instruments used or sampled in it. We'll introduce you to a few of the most important sub-genres below.
House today is not only something diverse, it is also something that connects. Those who dance to house in the club celebrate together, a kind of group feeling arises - not only among the dancers, but also between the “crowd” and the DJ. This can also be seen in the speech samples used in the house, such as "My house is your house and your house is mine".
Also not to be underestimated is the power of images and motifs with which House can be charged and thus become all the more firmly established in the media-cultural memory. Just think of the music video for "Call on Me" by Eric Prydz or "Around The World" by Daft Punk. And if you hear the driving progressive house beats of deadmau5, you immediately have images of its iconic mask in your head. In short: House is not always only acoustically, but often also audiovisually stuck in our heads.
As the name suggests, Minimal House is a very reduced form of house music. Their pace is around 115 to 130 bpm and is therefore neither particularly fast nor particularly slow. The sparse but punctuated use of rhythm elements is concise. Where other genres stack up layer by layer, Minimal House leaves it with very few, but meaningful elements.
French house is a distinct sub-genre of house for a number of reasons. On the one hand, because it is customary in French House to enhance both instruments and voices with special filters. Singing, for example, is distorted or has a “space” touch thanks to a vocoder. At the same time, instruments are often overdriven. For example, with electric guitars reaching unimagined highs and lows.
In addition, it is not uncommon to integrate elements from disco and funk. Handclaps, the integration of a dominant electric bass and speech samples are typical stylistic devices that bring French House closer to disco.
The first genre of house with mainstream success
French house is also a special house subgenre because it was one of the first genres that successfully brought house into the mainstream. And above all thanks to the French duo Daft Punk. "Around The World" and "Da Funk" from 1997 are today classics of the genre, which for the first time showed that house music is also popular with the general public. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, other French house tracks followed, such as "Flat Beat" by Mr. Oizo and "Call on Me" by Eric Prydz, which were also commercially successful.
Progressive House is characterized by its driving character. Progressive house DJs like to structure their songs in such a way that a drum loop forms the continuous basis, but this is enhanced with several elements (hi-hats, fading, scratching, synth sounds) during the runtime. In between there are often classic breakdowns and at the end a kind of “fading”, so to speak an outro.
One of the most famous and important progressive house artists is deadmau5. In one of his songs he achieved an interesting feat: “This Is Also The Hook” is a progressive house track, which explains very closely and with a twinkle in the eye how to set up such a track and what the DJ should pay attention to.
Tropical House is a comparatively young sub-genre of house music, but it is one of the most mass-compatible. The speed is rather leisurely at 100 to 125 bpm. What is striking about the Tropical House is the integration of instruments and sound elements that evoke a summery mood. Pan flute, saxophone, marimba and steel pan are accordingly often heard in tropical house songs. A surprising number of globally successful Tropical House artists come from German-speaking countries, such as Klangkarussell, Robin Schulz and Felix Jaehn.
In a certain way, Deep House emerged as a countermovement to “crammed” House Music, which aims to encourage wild dancing as loudly and as wildly as possible. It is one of the slowest subgenres of house music. It is not tied to a certain direction, it can be designed in the direction of soul, sound industrial or even seek proximity to the disco (one result of this is the nu-disco genre).
The most important thing about deep house: The listener should feel a feeling of weightlessness, as if he were literally "taking off". Deep House achieves this through cleverly placed breakdowns and pauses. The vocal part is comparatively important; Editing the voice is not mandatory, but it is often the case. Two typical contemporary deep house songs are, for example, “I Wanna Move With You” by CASSIMM and “Ready To Fly” by Jako Diaz.
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