Secondary Research

History of House

House music, with its roots in Chicago, emerged in the late 1970s, pioneered by primarily black, predominantly gay DJs. Frederick Dunson, who worked and danced at the Warehouse and served as executive director of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation, highlighted the challenges faced by minorities in gaining entry to clubs during this period.

“I was living on the west side of Chicago, in a working-class neighbourhood. Some people would say it was ghetto, but you know, it was what we knew. The reason that the underground clubs evolved was because most of the gay clubs gave most of the minorities a really hard time in getting in. And so as a result of that, people just said, "Oh, well, we can do our own thing and start doing underground parties." So it was a solution to a problem that wasn't getting better.” (soucre)

Frankie Knuckles, a seminal figure in the genre's early years, recalled encountering the term "house music" in the early 1980s, recognizing it as the music played at the clubs he frequented. Knuckles, often referred to as the "Godfather of House Music," played a pivotal role in shaping the scene. The Warehouse, where the genre originated, lent its name to the style.

Techniques used

Sampling in house music often involves taking a segment of existing music, commonly referred to as a loop, and manipulating it by adjusting its pitch and tempo. This manipulated loop can then be used as is, repeating throughout the track, or it can be further altered by chopping it into smaller pieces to create a new arrangement. An excellent illustration of this technique can be found in the track "Somebody to Love" by Boogie Pimps, which showcases both the chopped and looped approaches to sampling within the context of house music production.

During my research, I came across a fascinating resource known as DJ Citizen Labs. This website offers a vast collection of music that has fallen into the public domain, providing producers with an extensive library of samples to work with. What sets DJ Citizen Labs apart is its built-in tools, including sequencers, samplers, and drum machines, tailored specifically for crafting hip hop beats. This platform offers a unique opportunity for experimentation and creative exploration within the realm of music production.

In addition to exploring sampling techniques, I'm also eager to experiment with vocal synthesisers. While these synthesisers typically produce a distinctively digital sound, they possess the remarkable ability to convey a wide range of emotions. Despite their technological nature, vocal synths offer a versatile tool for adding depth and character to musical compositions, and I'm excited to see how they can enhance the sonic landscape of my work.

House music has deep roots in hardware-based production techniques, particularly during its early days. Artists and producers in the 1980s and 1990s relied heavily on analogue drum machines and synthesizers, such as the Roland TR-808 and TB-303, to create the distinctive sounds of the genre. The use of these hardware instruments, with their unique sonic characteristics and limitations, helped shape the iconic "acid house" sound characterized by squelchy basslines, hypnotic rhythms, and energetic melodies. Today, while much of house music production has transitioned to software-based tools, the influence of these hardware instruments continues to resonate in the genre's sonic palette and production aesthetics.

Different Genres

Acid House

Acid House emerged in the late 1980s as a new youth culture centred around dance music, clubs, and the drug Ecstasy. It was influenced by a group of DJs who visited Ibiza and experienced its vibrant dance scene. Upon returning to London, they aimed to recreate the atmosphere they enjoyed abroad, leading to the birth of Acid House.

Acid House music is distinct due to its heavy reliance on technology, especially the Roland TB-303, which produced its signature bass lines. The music is characterized by repetitive rhythms and minimal lyrics, focusing on creating an immersive dance experience. This style of music allowed listeners to escape from reality and lose themselves in the rhythm and atmosphere of the clubs.

Detroit Techno

Detroit techno emerged in the early 1980s, spearheaded by artists like Juan Atkins. Atkins, alongside Rick Davis, formed Cybotron in 1981, blending austere European techno-pop influences from Kraftwerk with the street-level funk of Detroit. This fusion created a unique sound that resonated globally and laid the groundwork for the techno genre. By 1985, Atkins had established Metroplex Records, which became a cornerstone for the burgeoning techno movement.

Detroit techno is characterized by its innovative use of technology and funk. Atkins defines it as a combination of these elements; influenced by the futuristic themes and forward-thinking insights of science fiction and studies like Alvin Toffler's Future Shock. Unlike other electronic music genres, such as Chicago house, Detroit techno is distinguished by its emphasis on insight and visionary thinking.

Lofi Hip-Hop

Lofi hip-hop, characterized by its laid-back, nostalgic sound, has become a beloved subgenre within the broader hip-hop landscape. It emerged in the early 2000s and gained prominence through online platforms like Soundcloud. The genre is often associated with relaxed beats, soulful samples, and a chill, contemplative vibe. Lofi hip-hop serves as the perfect soundtrack for late-night study sessions, relaxation, or introspection.

Nujabes, also known as Jun Seba, played a pivotal role in shaping lofi hip-hop. His unique blend of jazz, soul, and hip-hop created a mesmerizing sound that defied genre boundaries. Nujabes was a master of sampling. He curated and manipulated samples from jazz records, creating intricate and emotive beats. His use of vinyl crackle, warm piano chords, and soulful melodies became hallmarks of the lofi sound.

Chicago House

Chicago house music originated in the early 1980s and is closely associated with The Warehouse, a renowned Chicago nightclub where DJ Frankie Knuckles innovatively mixed old disco classics, Eurobeat pop, and synthesized beats. House music first gained widespread attention in the summer of 1986, becoming a sensation in European clubs before it fully took root in the United States. Key tracks like Farley "Jackmaster" Funk's "Love Can't Turn Around," Raze's "Jack The Groove," and Steve "Silk" Hurley's "Jack Your Body" popularized the term "jacking," which described the energetic dance style synonymous with house music.

The techniques used in Chicago house involve creative mixing and sampling. DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Farley "Jackmaster" Funk used extended mixes, re-edits, and dub versions to keep dance floors moving. Knuckles, for example, would blend soulful vocals from artists like Loleatta Holloway with synthesized beats and effects, creating a seamless and uplifting musical journey. Walter Gibbons' innovative approach to remixing, including his work on "Set It Off," also heavily influenced Chicago house, emphasizing the importance of the DJ as both performer and producer.

French House

In the mid-1990s, French House had begun shifting the electronic music landscape. Also known as Filter House, this genre revitalized the dance music scene. A group of Parisian producers who sought to break the mold. Inspired by disco and funk from the 70s and 80s, and the chicago producers that came before them.

French House relies heavily on sampling. Producers extract snippets from funk, disco, and soul records, breathing new life into classic grooves. Filters play a pivotal role. Sweeping effects create tension and release, drawing listeners into the groove. But above all, French House prioritizes rhythm. Each track compels dancers to move, capturing the essence of the genre.

Producers choose memorable segments from vintage tracks. These samples resonate with soul and rhythm. Once selected, samples undergo manipulation. Time-stretching, pitch-shifting, and looping integrate them into more modern compositions. They're layered with synthesized basslines, drum machine rhythms, and effects such as phase, flange and bitcrush. The central theme is recontextualization. By embedding classic grooves into contemporary tunes, French House bridges generational gaps, paying homage to the past while captivating new audiences of the time.


History of House

Different Genres

Acid House

Detroit Techno

Lofi Hip-hop

Chicago House

French house