Archive for February, 2013

Tribal House

Tribal house is a subgenre of house music, rising to popularity in the early 1990s in New York.  Tribal house is loosely defined by the additional of tribal or ethnic style samples or vocals, with features such as chanting or ululation.  A large usage of bongo drum samples and traditional wood or percussion instrument samples give the music its tribal feel, coupled with the use of tribal vocals give Tribal house its distinctive sound.

As with a lot of house genres, the big players of the house music scene dip into Tribal house from time to time, with artists such as Danny Tenaglia, Sandy Rivera, Peace Division and Junior Vasquez have all made Tribal house tracks in their time.

Tribal house in its current guise is very popular in the gay party scene.  This is heavily due to gay-oriented music labels such as Tribal America, Twisted and Star 69, who put on gay nights and festivals.

Presently, tribal house remixes played by DJs frequently are the ‘dub’ versions, remixes that use only minimal vocals from the original track, with the music often in a minor key to keep it sounding edgier and more tribal, unlike the major key that a more mainstream club remix might use.

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The UK Garage Genre – A General Overview

UK garage (also known as UKG) is a genre of electronic dance music originating from England in the early 1990s. UK garage is a descendant of house music which originated in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey and New York. The genre usually features a distinctive syncopated 4/4 percussive rhythm with ‘shuffling’ hi-hats and beat-skipping kick drums. Garage tracks also commonly feature ‘chopped up’ and time-shifted or pitch-shifted vocal samples complementing the underlying rhythmic structure. UK garage was largely subsumed into other styles of music and production in the mid-2000s, including dubstep, bassline and grime. The decline of UK garage during the mid-2000s saw the birth of UK funky, which is closely related.

UK garage has along underground following on pirate radio stations, especially in London during the mid 1990s, and there was large UK commercial success with UK garage with artists such as MJ Cole, So Solid Crew, The Artful Dodger, Delinquent and others.

UK Garage has a heavy MC scene, giving the speed of the genre (around 138-143 bpm) and the urban style of the music gives MCs a good vehicle to rhyme with and there are often commercial tracks with MCs recorded onto them such as MC Neat and Neutrino.

 

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The Industrial Genre – A General Overview

Industrial music is a style of experimental music that draws on transgressive and provocative themes. The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by the band Throbbing Gristle, and the creation of the slogan “industrial music for industrial people”. In general, the style is harsh and challenging. Allmusic defines industrial as the “most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music”; “initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments (tape music, musique concrète, white noise, synthesizers, sequencers, etc.) and punk provocation”.

The first industrial artists experimented with noise and aesthetically controversial topics, musically and visually, such as fascism, serial killers and the occult. Their production was not limited to music, but included mail artperformance artinstallation pieces and other art forms.

While the term was initially self-applied by a small coterie of groups and individuals associated with Industrial Records in the 1970s, it broadened to include artists influenced by the original movement or using an “industrial” aesthetic.

These artists expanded the genre by pushing it into noisier and more electronic directions. Over time, its influence spread into and blended with styles including ambient and rock, all of which now fall under the post-industrial music label. Electro-industrial music is a primary sub-genre that developed in the 1980s. The two other most notable hybrid genres are industrial rock and industrial metal, which include bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, both of which released platinum-selling albums in the 1990s. These three genres are often referred to as simply industrial.

 

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The Jungle Genre – A General Overview

Jungle is a genre of electronic music that incorporates influences from other genres, including breakbeat hardcore and reggae/dub/dancehall. The fast tempos (150 to 170 bpm) breakbeats, other heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples and synthesized effects makes up the easily recognizable form of jungle. Producers create the drum patterns featured; sometimes completely off-beat, by cutting apart breakbeats (most notably the Amen break). Long pitch-shifted snare rolls are also common in oldschool jungle.

Jungle producers incorporated classic Jamaican/Caribbean sound-system culture production-methods. The slow, deep basslines and simple melodies (reminiscent of those found in dub, reggae and dancehall) accentuated the overall production, giving jungle its “rolling” quality.

In the summer of 1992, a Thursday night club in London called “Rage” was changing format in response to the commercialization of the rave scene (see breakbeat hardcore). Resident DJs Fabio and Grooverider, amongst others, began to take the hardcore sound to a new level. The speed of the music increased from 120bpm to 145bpm, while more ragga and dancehall elements were brought in and techno, disco and house influences were decreased.

Eventually, the music became too fast and difficult to be mixed with more traditional rave music, creating a division with the other popular electronic genres. When Hardcore lost the four-on-the-floor beat and created percussive elements solely from “chopped up” breakbeats, people began to use the terms ‘jungle’, ‘junglist’ and ‘junglism’ to describe the music itself. This was reflected in track titles of the era, typically from late 1992 and early 1993.

The club ‘Rage’ finally shut its doors in 1993, but the new legion of “Junglists” had evolved, changing dancing styles for the faster music, enjoying the off-beat rhythms and with less reliance on the chemical stimulation of the rave era.


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Speedcore

Speedcore is a hybrid form of techno and hardcore that is characterised by a very high BPM and features violent or aggressive themes.  The genre rarely goes under 300 BPM, the speed of the beats being the very definition of the genre.

Speedcore has never gained any real popular following, being given a kind of cult status, but it is relatively popular in The Netherlands and Germany.

Speedcore contains very highly distorted bass hits and snares, with horror movie or similar samples being played in the background often time stretched to give a scream a more drawn out, sadistic feel.

 

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Electro House

Electro house is a subgenre of the ever umbrella term House music. It’s origins are largely accepted to have come from 1980s electro music. It only really gained popularity in the mid 2000s due to the increase in technology behind music production, giving a much more “modern” sound to electro.

Electro house contains heavy basslines, and catchy high synthesised riffs, but the electro genes are still heavily intertwined within the music, with the odd “boop bop” of the early 808 sound.

The more recent Electro house is the 4 on the floor 4 sister of Dubstep, with very heavy and dirty bass made with saw and sine waves. Early pioneers of Electro house were artists such as Basement Jaxx, Mr Oizo but retrospectively artists such as Sublime and Arrivers would now be referred to as Electro house producers, but as their tracks were released in the early 1990s they were simply considered House or Rave.

Today, the genre still gets mainstream attention with artists such as Skrillex and Knife Party showcasing Electro house style tracks with dubstep influences.

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Drumfunk

Drunkfunk is a subgenre of Drum and Bass which has many origins from all corners of the Drum and Bass spectrum.  Drumfunk takes influences from Rave, Jungle and early Drum and Bass to give a very distinct sound.  It has been around in one form or another since synthesizers were able to chop the standard loops into very small slices so complex drum and bass has been in existance since the mid 1990s, but only with the use of computers to aid production has drumfunk taken ahold.  Drumfunk is a popular subgenre of Drum and Bass all over the world

Drumfunk focuses on extremely complex drum patterns and simple bass, usually with little or no melody over the top of atmospheric ambient sound effects.  It also has very little vocals, and if there are some, it is usually spoken, traditionally taken from films.  All these combined give Drumfunk a very “pure” sound, it literally is Drums and Bass.

Pioneers and champions of Drumfunk are artists such as Seba, Fanu, ParadoxNucleus and Equinox.

On a personal note, Drumfunk is fucking awesome.

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Dubstep

Dubstep originates from London as an organic merging of Drum n Bass, Garage and Dub.  Originally as experimental B-sides of 2-step garage, but gained commercial momentum when the sound was championed by John Peel on BBC Radio 1 from 2003-2004.  Artists such as Photek, Wordsound Germany, Plasticman and Loefah were early pioneers of the genre, exploring how Dubstep can be presented.

Dubsteps format is syncopated with a large use of tuplets and shuffled rhythms, averaging to about 140BPM.  The signature of Dub – that being the hard and strong snare/clap is ever present in Dubstep, but with far less reverb usually.  Dubstep has a very dark and minor vibe, usually with minimal vocals, and if there are, usually spoken or rapped.

The most famous part of Dubstep is the bassline.  Due to the slow bass and snare hits, there is a lot of room in between for creativity in the bassline dubbed the “Wobble”  This is a bassline, usually a saw or sine being put through an oscillator and various other filters to give it a grimy and dark timbre.

Towards the end of the 2000s Dubstep was receiving worldwide play, and becoming endemic in pop songs.  With artists like Britney Spears, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg releasing singles and albums with a heavy Dubstep influence.  The height of Dubstep in its original form would be at the end of the 2000s with artists such as Magnetic Man, Nero and Skrillex.  The latter artists have sinced redevloped its sound and their signature productions are no longer considered Dubstep – in a severe pigeon holing context and is explored in Post-dubstep, Brostep and other sub genres.

 

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Hardstyle

Hardstyle originates from Holland in the late 1990s, and takes its influences from hard trance, gabber, and hard house.  These 3 styles blended together makes Hardstyles signature sound.

Hardstyle is recognised as having a highly compressed kick drum, and a reverse bass that is on the offbeat, approximately 140 BPM.  It also utilises short vocal (usually female) samples, and early forms of Hardstyle were very similar to techno.  During the mid 2000s it becale slightly more melodic using more trance-like riffs and synths.

The most famous part of Hardstyle is the way of dancing to it.  Becoming extremely popular in The Netherlands, its  almost like a shuffle, where the moves are done to the exact beat shown here:

 

 

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Acid House

Acid house is a derivative of house music that originates from Chicago in the mid 1980s.  It quickly spread into the UK and Europe, where it found a home alongside rave music towards the late 1980s.  Acid house’s signature sound is a repetitive early-trance style which came from Roland synthesizers, namely the 303, 606, 707, 808 and 909 models, and adding lyrics, usually spoken and taken from speeches such as “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.

There are 2 schools of thought as to how Acid house got its name.  The first is from the style of trip one would get by taking drugs like LSD or MDMA, which were commonplace in clubs at the time.  The second is when this first wave of plagiarism was a hot topic in the press and politics, especially in the UK.  The term “acid burning” is a slang term meaning “to steal.”

The first track to showcase this sound is understood to have been “Acid Trax” by Phuture, which was composed in 1985, but not officially released until 1987, but gained worldwide play by DJs in clubs for those 2 years.  The first actual “Acid house” track to be released was Sleezy D’s “I’ve Lost Control” which was out on vinyl in 1986.

In the UK, Acid house was a key factor in the “Second Summer of Love” in 1988-1989 due to the rise in popularity of psychedelic drugs and the psy-influenced music of Acid house, which saw a noticeable decline of football hooliganism and Acid house gave birth to the rave scene of the early 1990s.

Due to ignorance and possibly fear, the media, more specifically tabloids gave a lot of column inches to the acid house and rave scene, with a large emphasis on the drug use that was happening in the clubs.  The news articles were often composed using bad science and sensationalist headlines such as “10,000 DRUG CRAZED YOUTHS” – The Sun, 1988.  The resulting panic by tabloid readers resulted in a crackdown and Acid house was subsequently banned in shops, radio and TV, which was the beginning of the end for Acid house.  But the underground rave scene lived on.

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