Microhouse is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It combines elements of minimal techno, house, and glitch music to create a unique sound characterized by intricate rhythms, subtle melodies, and detailed production techniques. The genre originated in Germany and quickly gained popularity across Europe before making its way to the global music scene.
The term "microhouse" was coined by journalist Philip Sherburne in a 2001 article for The Wire magazine. He used it to describe a new wave of electronic music that focused on minimalism and precision. Microhouse artists aimed to strip down traditional house and techno sounds to their essential elements, creating tracks with sparse arrangements and an emphasis on repetition.
One of the key characteristics of microhouse is its use of microsampling. Artists would often sample tiny snippets of sound from various sources, such as vinyl records or field recordings, and manipulate them to create rhythmic patterns or atmospheric textures. This technique added a distinctive organic feel to the otherwise synthetic soundscapes.
Early pioneers of microhouse include German producers like Akufen, Isolée, and Luomo. Akufen's album "My Way" (2002) is considered one of the seminal releases in the genre. It features intricate chopped-up vocal samples layered over pulsating beats, creating a hypnotic and playful atmosphere.
As microhouse gained traction in Europe, it began to influence other genres and styles. Many artists started incorporating microhouse elements into their productions, blurring the boundaries between genres like minimal techno, deep house, and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music). Labels such as Kompakt in Germany played a crucial role in promoting microhouse artists and pushing the genre forward.
Over time, microhouse evolved into different subgenres like clicks-and-cuts or laptop folktronica. These variations explored further experimentation with glitchy sounds, unconventional song structures, or acoustic instruments blended with electronic elements.
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