Tech house

Tech house

Tech house, like progressive house, represents a fusion of house and techno. However, whereas progressive house tends to incorporate atmospheric, ethereal, almost ambient sounds and is often mixed to varying degrees with trance and progressive trance, tech-house tends to have more in common with soulful deep house, traditional Detroit-style techno, and contemporary minimal techno, with which it is often mixed in practice. As one reviewer for suggested, this style fuses "steady techno rhythms with the soul and accessibility of house." [Richard Diaz, Customer Review for Terry Francis's "Architecture"]


As a mixing style, tech-house often brings together deep or minimal house music, the soulful and jazzy end of techno, some minimal techno and microhouse (especially with a soulful feel, such as Luomo’s music), and very often some dub elements. There is some overlap with progressive house, which too can contain deep, soulful, dub, and techno elements; this is especially true since the turn of the millennium, as progressive-house mixes have themselves often become deeper and sometimes more minimal. However, the typical progressive-house mix--which might integrate some funky house, trance, and even some hard techno at times--has more energy than tech-house, which tends to have a more “laid-back” feel. Tech-house fans tend to appreciate subtlety, as well as the “middle ground” that adds a “splash of color to steel techno beats” and eschews the “banging” of house music for intricate rhythms. [Richard Diaz, Customer Review for Terry Francis's "Architecture"] Also in contrast to most progressive house, which tends to have a progression over the course of the mix ending in an ecstatic release of energy at the end, tech-house often aims at achieving an even “groove.” Although there might be dips and peaks in the energy level--any interesting mix will have them, after all--they will be more on the restrained side. As such, tech-house is found to be as enjoyable a "headphone experience" as it is a dancefloor one, a fact not lost on the creaters of such music - a classic release by the duo MRI on the Force Tracks label was their 12" titled "Nightclubbing at Home".

Musical structure

As a musical (as opposed to a mixing) style, tech-house uses the same basic structure as house; however, elements of the house 'sound' such as realistic jazz sounds (in deep house) and booming kick drums are replaced with elements from techno such as shorter, deeper, darker and often distorted kicks, smaller, quicker hi-hats, noisier snares and more synthetic or acid sounding synth melodies from the TB-303, including raw electronic noises from distorted sawtooth and square wave oscillators.

The well known tech-house producer, Jean F. Cochois, also known as The Timewriter, has often used jazzy, soulful vocals and elements, and equally as much raw electronic sounds in his music. However, a rich techno-like kick and bassline seems to be a consistency amongst tech house music.

The term tech house has proved controversial over the years as some say that the use of the expression has mutated to represent a very particular and narrow style of music (see above), rather than the broad-minded attitude and approach to DJing and production that the tech house scene once was during the mid-nineties. For this reason, certain artists such as Asad Rizvi no longer attach the term with their work, as they feel that popular perception of tech house is a vastly inaccurate representation of their work.


Main exponents of the genre include Mr C (who is said to have first coined the term), ACCESS 58, Eddie Richards, Terry Francis, Alien Funk Movement, Asad Rizvi (pre-2001), Ravi McArthur, Tom Gillieron, Gideon, Nathan Coles, Laurant Webb, David Coker, Justin Bailey, Nils Hess, Layo & Bushwacka!, Morgan Page, Jean F. Cochois aka The Timewriter, John Tejada, Scott Orlans, Terry Lee Brown, Dave Mothersole, Colin Dale, Tony Thomas, Alan Barratt, Lee Burridge, Relentless, Craig Richards, Aubrey, Mark Ambrose, The Royal Dance Project and Ian Pooley.


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