The label of tech-house is a load of bollocks...

It looks like Mixmag are at it again, and what better way to stir the proverbial fire in the proverbial bellies of a significant portion of the dance music worlds people than to say some seemingly miss-informed things about tech-house music. Here's my sort of rant on it in response...
  
The boundaries of a so called tech house genre are so damn broad. In fact the last time I checked there are sounds from many genres that fall under the tech-house label as many producers have tried to shoe horn their particular offerings into a genre that particular influential individuals might habitually exclusively peruse in all the new release download sections. Producers doing so called tech house remixes is not a recent thing and is nothing new.

Over the years whilst sifting through the new releases sections of the various digital down load sites (even as far back as when I used to regularly buy vinyl) you could find many things under the tech-house genre from Tribal, funky, deep, and minimal. It even got to the point that I couldn't find the particular type of tech house I was looking for whilst scowering the tech house section, at which point I began to stick more to browsing the Techno and minimal sections. In fact at one point I didn't even know what the f*ck tech house was supposed to be anymore because there was so much stuff that seemingly fell under the tech house category whilst browsing its new release sections. There were also plenty of peak time big tunes that could be found under tech house too, things very much along the lines of Peace Divisions - System (which is sort a bit electro too), or the warm up like antics of early Milton Jackson, which I would say fits my perception of tech house choons beyond all the less tech sounding funky stuff that was forever slowing down the process of getting to the meat of what I was looking for. People have different perceptions of what tech house is. Producers are also people. (although surely if its funky house you should put it in the funky house section?) 

Maybe its only recently that certain influential individuals with a limited knowledge of what falls under tech house over the past 12 years or so have lashed out to have defined something that sounds a lot more like what you might find in the techno section via the more downbeat uniform sounding stuff or even certain parts of the more upbeat sounding minimal section. At one point I even gave up browsing the Tech-house new release sections for being hit with a tonne of stuff that I thought should have specifically been in other genre sections. You can find a lot of excellent tech house that isn't even labeled up as tech house if you've actually had experience of looking for it yourself in all the various new release outlets.

Personally I don't like the commercialization of tech house. But the Mixmag story could mean a type of death for the so claimed re-emergence of a so called "tech-house" genre. Why? Because the attention could potentially give it commercial attention. Also the so called genre of "tech house" was said to be dead loooong ago by all the dance music big-wigs in all in its more broader inclusions of sounds the first time it came round and sort of made a blip on the scene. But the people who digged it pretty much ignored what was being said for it to simmer away quite nicely in the background as it continued to evolve into many other strains whilst all the commercialized genres of dance music killed themselves going boom and eventually bust to then stay bust as far a scenster cred was concerned. Tech-house reaching the commercial domain could mean the complete death of it in terms of none mainstream scenster cred, but I doubt it would get there to begin with, or at least certain perceptions of it.


examples of stuff that don't fit where I found them:

Dan Berkson - the dan berkson Ep - says its tribal house but I reckon it sounds more like deep hypnotic Tech house.

Trentemoller - Rykketid - Says its straight up house, but I reckon its certainly more tech leaning if not more subtle glitchy electro.

Jay-Z - Bigger boot - are you sure thats tech house??! (although it is kind of)

Afrosential - Ustutu Juma - a seductively hypnotic deep tribal house track, its definitely not tech to my mind although it is deep and hypnotic. But at the same time wouldn't be out of place in a tech house set if contextually placed well. 

Here's a bit of a curve ball, when thinking about how it sounds, where would you put Rui da Silva's track - touch me despite it having reached the commercial domain to still hold bags of cred amongst scensters? 


D 'n' B already mainstream charted in the UK over 7 years ago

Technically D 'n' B already went big in the UK commercial wise (as in D'n'B albums that charted in the commercial mainstream charts outside of the EDM world), but it was very short lived and its sound was just unrepresentative of the broad spectrum of what the D'n'B genre was. The sound was like a kind of high octane wheasing firework that forever went up fused with rock which could be found at nearly every big dance and rock festival. After a while it got boring for lack of variation in its commercial form and the ladies weren't really taking to it like the guys were. Notice how D'n'B is still bubbling away in all its other forms undeterred? That's partly why dubstep had to be nurtured (since it was already happening) and took over the D'n'B chart space. But now all commercial chart dubstep sounds the same. You think dubstep is new? Skrillex is dubstep? Wrong, Mary-Anne Hobs had been constantly and enthusiastically pushing it for years on her radio show over in the UK in all its more varied forms when many just wouldn't touch it, now its all over the mainstream charts with a lot of its followers believing it came out of the US.

Think of the of the original definition of house music. (for all those who can remember that far back or were educated through other early DJ's before getting into the scene). A lot of it was all happy-happy (or just cheesy if not happy-happy) sounding stuff that wasn't too dissimilar to disco music and funky house (before it was called funky house) as other styles of house music came into existence and became popular (people wanting to avoid funky house before it was called funky house). Even the definition of what base house music is has changed. Originally Tech house sounded far less techy than it does today, it just sounded techier than early house music/funky house music, in fact it wasn't very techy at all by today's standards. It was also coming out of the US. If you ask original old school vinyl pushing DJ's what tech house is they will have a completely different perception as to what tech-house is today in all its more modern techno influenced broadness over the past decade and half or so. Keep in mind that disco was something of the 70's. house music was born out of disco, and there are certainly some very disco sounding house tracks although you might not recognise it as disco! I don't really buy or play many funky house records although that was once the definition of what pure house music is. The UK had the rave scene which changed the sound of house music again as UK producers influenced by the rave scene started to produce house music too. There was the rest of Europe putting out their takes on house music which started to meld with UK styles, and for a while you even had to distinguish as to whether it was US house or not. At one point certain facets of US house started to be called garage music (essentially deeper repetitive groove based disco/funky house) which isn't the same as the later invention of UK two step garage (which was a pre-cursor to dubstep, UK garage eventually got slated for being a bit too girly in how it evolved, and it did in fact mainly have a female following to eventually sound very feminine although maybe not the intention).



Why do I use the term EDM despite being a long time dance music fan, my linguistic logical side beat my nonsensical nostalgic arguing self in this instance...

EDM, the acronym for Electronic Dance Music. Regardless of whether a music is commercial or none commercial. How has your favorite type of dance music been made? What was it created on? What was it mastered on? What are software synth modules and the sounds they make? Oh, you're talking old skool? Before your music was cut to vinyl... consider what an analog synth is and the sounds it makes despite containing the word analog in it? What is a digital synth? What is a physical rack sampler or push button sequencer? What is a drum machine? Is cubase still not a piece of software that runs on an electronic computer? How are all these sounds and instruments produced as they are and regardless of whether they're intentionally made to sound more electronic or not?