February 9, 2008

The 10 Commandments Of Grindhouse...

by Chris Randall

So, there are at least seven distinct forms of house music that I can discern. Unfortunately, none of them does what I want right now, so I've taken it upon myself to invent a new sub-genre, which we will call Grindhouse. The problem with making your own genre is that it isn't actually a genre until more than one artist does it. As long as it's just one person or group, it is only "quirky" or "eccentric," or the worst of all, "unclassifiable."

Like any sub-genre, our new style needs a set of rules, so a particular song or artist can be classified as such. In that light, I propose the following Ten Commandments Of Grindhouse, a paradigm set for our new genre. I intend this genre to be entirely open source, so the Commandments may be altered as a result of discussion, here or elsewhere. But we have to start somewhere, right? In that light, here's what I submit:

1: Thou Shalt Have A Monster Foot. Of course, the root of all house music is a 909 kick in a four-on-the-floor pattern. Grindhouse, since it is a sub-set of house, will have the same. However, our foot will be large. It should dominate the track entirely. In that light, the foot should have a healthy dose of plate reverb. But it needs to start life as a 909-flavored kick; that really goes without saying.

2: Thou Shalt Eschew Chord Progressions. Pick a fucking note and hammer that shit in to the ground. Chord progressions are for trance, and we hates trance.

3: Thou Shalt Lovingly Embrace Distortion. Grindhouse should be HARD. Think of it as powernoise with a more defined beat and, like, music and stuff. The square wave is your friend.

4: Thou Shalt Beat An MC About The Head And Shoulders With A Blunt Object. We are of the opinion that two things are true: a DJ knows how to spin records and the crowd knows how to dance. We don't need some meth-addled MC Cul-De-Sac up on the stage shouting at people, and asking for rewinds, and all that bullshit.

5: Thou Shalt Move At A Punk-Rock Clip. Grindhouse, because it is an aggressive form of house, shall be on the speedy side. Your happy place is between 140 and 150. You dip below 138 at your peril.

6: Thou Shalt Smash Thy VCR. Movie samples are so 1989. They shall be avoided like the plague that they are.

7: Thou Shalt Place Thy Bass In The Driver Seat. In Grindhouse, our bassline and our melody are the same motherfucking thing. Stack for attack.

8: Thou Shalt Glitch Thy Percussion. If it isn't a foot, it gets all fucked up. Get your favorite beat mangler and put it on every track.

9: Thou Shalt Restrain Thyself From 16-measure Snare Rolls. Grindhouse has sudden transitions. If someone wants gradual dynamics so they know when to spin their glowsticks and raise their arms, might we point them towards Ibeza?

10: Thou Shalt Break It Down. The breakdowns in Grindhouse, an essentially pad-free environment, shall be rhythmic in nature, with the glitchy beats.

There we have it. I'm essentially describing a punkier, glitchier form of house that is hard as hell. The next step is for the Analog Industries community to discuss and fine-tune our ruleset, and then make and release a comp. Obviously, a little audio example would help, so here 'tis, an intro and a couple go-rounds of a main section. In it, the major points above are described, I think. Discuss.

EDIT: I've made changes to the MP3 to take in to account the incredibly helpful suggestions offered forth. Here 'tis. I made the lead/bass more grindish, less ravish, and the offending 909 hat has been bit-reduced in to submission.

Note that, despite evidence to the contrary, I wasn't saying "hey, here's a grandiose idea that will change the face of electronic music." Rather, it was an attempt at ironic humor. I guess I should have put the sarcasm tags around the whole post. My thinking was that most electronic music genres spring from thin air, via someone coming up with an interesting idea that is somewhat outside a genre, and about 500 other producers trying to cash in on the sound. I thought it would be funny to create a ready-made genre, with malice aforethought. Perhaps I should have said that in the beginning of the post, as exactly two responders have got the joke. I have to say that, for most of you, subtlety is not your strong suit.



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Feb.09.2008 @ 6:42 PM
You pretty much just described the hard-techno (hardcore techno, tekno) of the Rave era circa early 90's, minus the glitch of the 21st century.

The army boot wearing post-punk anarchist hippy kind of slammin beats.

Spiral Tribe..

link [en.wikipedia.or...]">link [en.wikipedia.or...]


Feb.09.2008 @ 7:00 PM
I fully expect to get smacked, as the closest I get to making music is reading this blog and playing Guitar Hero. As an end consumer, I have to ask what the difference is between this and what you have been doing with Micronaut for the last decade. It sounds like Micronaut to me. :)

Feb.09.2008 @ 7:22 PM
Chris Randall
It's not. ;-) Obviously, there's a lot of variation in the Micronaut stuff. Only about a third of the tracks are even four-on-the-floor, let alone this amped up.

And no, I haven't described the hardcore techno of the rave era. Ours will have swing and none of that fake-ass smily face bullshit. The first motherfucker that shows up with a pacifier in his mouth gets this shit kicked out of him, and that's a fact.



Feb.09.2008 @ 7:49 PM
your description sounds to me like bassline minus all the stoopid lyrics.

Feb.09.2008 @ 7:55 PM
D' MacKinnon
Snare rolls....everytime I hear them in a track I can't help but giggle. Some things should be left in the 90's.

Feb.09.2008 @ 8:14 PM
to me that sounds like the hipster glam house Justice type stuff that people are into these days. really commercial. honestly though.. it's ALL techno.

please destroy that 909 hat/ride/cymbal etc.


Feb.09.2008 @ 8:23 PM
This is a genre I can get behind. When does the legitimizing "This is Grindhouse" compilation come out? Also, a sub-label will need to be started so that there is a signature imprint for the records (wait, phase out CDs, but then introduce vinyl? That's sure to get some press). Can you define the aesthetic a bit better so that I can chose an appropriate moniker?

Now where was that distorted square wave lead preset I found the other day....


Feb.09.2008 @ 8:29 PM
I'm with the rest of the crowd, that there is just old fashioned techno.

Feb.09.2008 @ 9:00 PM
Takes me back to Area or Danceteria circa 1986, and please take that as a compliment.

Feb.09.2008 @ 9:29 PM
Hello - My first post!

I think you are describing either Motor or Terrance Fixmer (sp?)

Have you heard them? Like them?



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