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House Sub genres

Acid House: A Chicago recitative built around the Toland TB-303 bassline machine. Hard, uncompromising, tweaking samples produce a hypnotic effect.

Ambient House: Mixing the moody atmospheric sounds of New Age and ambient music with pulsating beats.

Deep House: A slower variant of house (around 120 BPM) with warm, sometimes hypnotic melodies that originated in San Francisco. Deep House commonly appeared as a genre in the early 90s, describing a more melodic, stylish sound with influences from soul, jazz and African beats, with many of the earlier tracks being sampled chords and beats. The jazzy sound became more apparent due to the favoured use of electronic pianos such as the Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Hammond B3 organ.  Examples of well-known Deep House artists and producers include Kerri Chandler, Joe Claussell, Mateo & Matos, Roland Clark and Ron Trent. Some of the early record labels included Henry Street, Nervous Records, King Street, etc.

Electro House: Sometimes resembles tech house, but often influenced by the “electro” sound of the early 1980’s, aka breakdancing music, via samples or just synthesizer usage.

Epic House: A variant of progressive house featuring lush synth-fills and dramatic (some might even say pretentious) beat breakdowns

Freestyle House: A latin variant of New York house usic, which began development in the early 1980’s by producers like John Jellybean Benitez. Seen by some as an evolution of electro funk.

Garage: This term has changed meaning several times over the years. The UK definition relates to New York’s version of deep house, originally named after a certain style of soulful disco played at the legendary club Paradise Garage (although the original Garage sound was much more of an eclectic mix of many different kinds of records). The UK version is pronounced “garaaj”. May also be called the Jersey Sound due to the close connection many of its artists and producers have with New Jersey, such as the legendary Shep Pettibone and Tony Humphries at Zanzibar in Newark, NJ. Not to be confused with speed garage or the British style currently called UKG pronounced “garridje”.

Gospel House: Gospel house can be considered one of the strongest of these sub-genres, mainly because of its links to soulful house – in that its direction is taken from the 70s and 80s soul, funk, disco and jazz club classics – but its vocal roots go further back, and re-join a strand of the origins of soul music – namely, what are termed as “Negro Spirituals”.Gospel house is essentially written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding life in spiritual or religious terms (predominantly Christian), as well as (in terms of the general music styles) to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. as the term suggests, is about giving praise and worship to God, Jesus Christ or The Holy Spirit.

Hip House: The simple fusion of rap rhymes with house beats. Mainly popular for a brief moment in the late 80’s. The Most famous record is from the Jungle Brothers’ and it called “Girl I’ll House You”.

Latin House: Borrows heavily from Salsa and Brazilian beats, most notably in “Brazil Over Zurich”. This style was perfected and proliferated by DJ Reyna in Chicago’s underground scene in the late 1990’s.

Pop House: The use of house production styles to make traditional pop artists more acceptable on the dancefloor. This has resulted in the pop house phenomenon which can be heard currently on almost every major radio station… from Britney Spears to Jay-Z.


Progressive House: Progressive house is typified by accelerating peaks and troughs throughout a track’s duration, and are, in general, less obvious than in hard house. Layering different sounds on top of each other and slowly bringing them in and out of the mix is a key idea behind the progressive movement. Some of this kind of music sounds like a cousin of trance music.

Pumpin’ House: Developed in the late 90’s and related to French house, Pumpin’ House also often samples disco, rock, jazz, and/or funk loops (sometimes creating dense layered textures) and usually makes extensive use of filters, but gains its appellation from its heavy use of compression, which makes tracks surge and pulse. It is characterized by intense, up-front drum programming, heavy funk influence, and highly emphasized basslines, often sampled from live players. Famous producers incluse Olav Basoski (Holland), Grant Nelson (UK), and Monkey Brs (US). Typical BPM range is 127-133.

Sexy House: Sexy house draws its sounds from soul and funk with a 4/4 beat, and is sometimes confused with an acid jazz sound. Sexy house doesn’t feature as much synthesizer sounds (but does occasionally use cheesy 1980’s synth samples) as other genres, but typically features horn sections, electric pianos, and congas, but it is less jazzy or downtempo as trip-hop. Typical BPM is 125-128. The melody of this style is inspired by the 1970’s black soul and funk, and it features strong bass drum sounds, with softer higher frequencies. It is found played in bars and restaurants.

Soulful House: As House Music became more popular around the world, it became associated with the more extreme forms such as Acid House, Euro Hard House and Rave, etc. The real House Music connoisseurs stayed firmly on the side of more soul- and jazz-enriched forms of the genre – for many and for a while this genre was tagged as Funky House, but again this term became somewhat abused due to the populist crossover with UK Garage and 2Step, and with the resulting popularity, the music became more commercial, cheesy and pop-oriented. Soulful House has a healthy underground scene, albeit split across the world with popular hot spots being Chicago, New York, London, Brazil, Melbourne and South Africa.   It remains fairly underground with a scene similar to the soul and jazz-funk scene in the 70s and 80s. Some of the popular artists at the forefront of soulful house are Masters at Work (Little Louie Vega & Kenny “Dope” Gonzales), Dennis Ferrer, Blaze, Barbara Tucker, Kenny Bobien, Stephanie Cooke (US) and in the UK, Joey Negro, Fanatix, The Layabouts, Deep City Soul, Aphrodisiax, Soul Renegades and Andy Ward among others continue to grow and develop the scene.

Tech House: Tech substitutes typical booming house kick drums with shorter, often distorted kicks, smaller hi-hats, and noisier snares. House’s funky jazz loops are replaced with techno-sounding synth lines.

Techno: Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988. The initial take on techno arose from the melding of popular electronic music by artists such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra with African American music including funk, electro, Chicago house and electric jazz. Added to this is the influence of futuristic and fictional themes that are relevant to life in American late capitalist society-particularly the book The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler. Pioneering producer Juan Atkins cites Toffler’s phrase “techno rebels” as inspiring him to use the word techno to describe the musical style he helped to create. This unique blend of influences aligns techno with the aesthetic referred to as afrofuturism. To producers such as Derrick May, the transference of spirit from the body to the machine is often a central preoccupation; essentially an expression of technological spirituality. In this manner: “techno dance music defeats what Adorno saw as the alienating effect of mechanisation on the modern consciousness”.

Tribal House: Tribal house is a fusion of various styles of dance music, and can range from uplifting and cheerful to dark and aggressive in mood – hence, there is a tendency to classify this style within the genre of “hard house”, because the drums are more dominant within musical pieces.Tribal house is a sub-genre of house music similar in structure to deep house, but providing elements of ethnic or “indigenous” musical percussions (most typically of African or South American origin, and thus reminiscient of “tribal” music within those contintents). Oddly, though, “tribal house” refers more to the fact that those characteristic beats are created digitally (drum machines, samplers) rather than live!

The beats still retain the staple 4/4 measure, but generally, instead of the standard kick and snare, more percussive sounds such as congas, bongos, shakers, cabasas, surdos and cuicas are used to create the “sound”. More recently, percussion from the Asian continent (such Indian tablas and Japanese taiko drums) are now being explored and utilised for greater expression.


Ultra House        Extremely fast house beats typically around 160 – 220 BPM, the same speed as “jungle” music.


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