Electro House

Benny Benassi

Electro house is a subgenre of house music influenced by 1980s music. The term has been used to describe the music of many of the world’s top DJs, such as David Guetta, deadmau5, Skrillex, and Tiësto. Electro house, sometimes resembling tech house (a hybrid of techno with house), typically retains elements of house music and can incorporate electro-influenced synths and samples.

It often has a ‘dirty’ bass sound created from saw waves with compression and distortion. The exact origins of the genre are uncertain; it has sometimes been seen as a fusion of electro and house; or a term using ‘electro’ as an adjective (meaning ‘futuristic’ or ‘hard’). French house, by artists such as Justice and especially Daft Punk, has also been considered a strong influence.

Use of the term dates to at least as far back as 1998, when it was used to refer to tracks with both electro and house influences by artists such as Afrika Bambaataa (‘Planet Rock ’98’) and Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins (‘It’s Tricky’). Earlier tracks by bands such as Basement Jaxx in 1997, Arrivers in 1996, and Sublime in 1993 have also been retroactively labelled as electro house. The 1992 chiptune video game soundtrack for ‘Streets of Rage 2,’ composed by Yuzo Koshiro, features tracks combining house music with ‘dirty’ electro and is considered ahead of its time. Mr. Oizo’s 1999 hit ‘Flat Beat’ has also been considered an early example of the genre, along with ‘Satisfaction’ in 2002 by Benny Benassi, who is seen as a forerunner and current standard-bearer for the genre. Other electro house producers who emerged in the early 2000s include David Guetta and Yasutaka Nakata.

Complextro (e.g. Skrillex), a sub genre within Electro House  is typified by glitchy, intricate bass-lines and synth leads created with many instruments in quick succession. The term, a portmanteau of the words ‘complex’ and ‘electro,’ was coined by Porter Robinson to describe the sound of his music. He has cited video game sounds, or chiptunes, as an influence on his style of music along with 1980s analog synth music.

Fidget house (e.g. Crookers), or ‘fidget,’ is ‘defined by snatched vocal snippets, pitch-bent dirty basslines and rave-style synth stabs over glitchy 4/4 beats.’ It contains influences from Baltimore club, bassline, Chicago house, Kuduro, rave, UK garage, US hip hop and world music. The term was coined by DJs/producers Jesse Rose and Switch, ‘as a joke, which has now gone a little too far.’

Dutch house (e.g. Tiësto, Afrojack), often nicknamed ‘dirty Dutch,’ a style of electro house that originated in the Netherlands, is primarily defined by complex rhythms made from Latin-influenced drum kits, a lower emphasis on basslines, and squeaky, high-pitched lead synths. Influences on the subgenre include Madchester, hip hop, Detroit techno, and other urban styles of music.

Moombahton (e.g. Diplo) is a mixture of Dutch house and reggaeton. Its identifying characteristics include a ‘thick, spread-out bass line; some dramatic builds; and a two-step pulse, with quick drum fills,’ but it has ‘no real rules beyond working within a 108 bpm range.’ A portmanteau of ‘moombah’ and ‘reggaeton,’ moombahton was created by DJ Dave Nada when he slowed down the tempo of the Afrojack remix of the Silvio Ecomo & Chuckie song ‘Moombah’ to please party-goers with tastes in reggaeton. Moombahcore (e.g. Knife party) is a style of moombahton with influences from dubstep and electro house outside of Dutch house. Characteristics of the genre include chopped vocals, dubstep-influenced bass sounds, and extensive build-ups.


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