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8 dance music genres you didn’t know existed

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  • Louis Anderson-Rich
  • 2 January 2018

Music. It's pretty hard to quantify ain't it? But for some reason, humans just fucking love organisation. They love naming shit and grouping bits with other things they've named which are similar. And then, when something evolves from the thing they've named, they give it a new updated little name to create a new niche.

Sometimes they'll just put a bunch of already established names together to create one new name. I mean, let's be honest, you've definitely slowly rolled out the phrase "post-psychadelic-trip-hoppy-house?" when someone's asked you what your favourite DJ sounds like.

Humans just love to know things. So we label them.

Anyway, you're about to know a whole load more pointless and insanely niche genres. So, you’re welcome in advance.

Aggrotech/Hellektro

In one sentence: The music from the clubs in the Matrix

OK, but what is it actually? Basically, when normies think of industrial music, they probably think of Rammstein, right? Well, industrial has its origins in the club thanks to bands like Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly who took the burgeoning electro scene and made it sound like the inner workings of the Iron Giant's bowels.

The tune that sums the genre up:

What the heck, who listens to this? Cybergoths

Mainstreamability: Considering it's the perfect soundtrack to any movie about hackers/vampires/goths/satanists, actually pretty high - 7/10

Lento Violento

In one sentence: Slowed down Italian techno

Intriguing. But the essence of techno is speed, no? Look, you remember how slowmo house was a thing back in the early 2010s? Well techno had its very own version 10 years earlier when Italians were like "questo è troppo veloce!". That’s what Lento Violento is, an Italian phrase literally translating to ‘slow and violent’. Think booming 909 kick and classic rave riffs but slowed down to 100bpm and sometimes even 70bpm.

The tune that sums the genre up:

Who's vibing to this then? People who LOVE gabber but also LOVE ket I assume.

Mainstreamability: Honestly, I'm really into this and can legit imagine Andrew Weatherall playing it in one of his IDGAF moments - 8/10

Disco Polo

In one sentence: The music middle America thinks of when someone says Europe.

Sounds shit but please continue. So, the genre was originally called music pavement which admittedly isn't quite as catchy but reflects the roots of the music. In the early 80s, when Italo was kicking off and being a bit weird, Poland just went for and fused their traditional folk music with synths and drum machines to make what sounds like the backing track to every Borat skit.

The tunes that sum the genre up:

I can already guess, but who listens to this? Heaps and heaps and heaps of Polish people.

Mainstreamability: Being huge in one country doesn't necessarily count towards mainstreamability (just ask Robbie Williams), but at the same time this could be the next Italo - 5/10

Splittercore

In one sentence: 700bpm gabber

Excuse me? Oh, you heard correctly. Splittercore is named as such, I assume, because it not only has the ability to split heads but also split dimensions at warp speed. It is music made for people who find gabber too slow and it pushes it to the extremes in other areas too. Drums blur into a distorted mess, snippets of German's yelling glitch in and out. The genre is basically the equivalent of dance music’s black metal and appears to be kept alive by the depths of internet forums looking for ‘lolz’.

The tune that sums the genre up:

So, who in the fuck listens to this, dude: People that wear these recreationally.

Mainstreamability: 0/10

Clownstep

In one sentence: The in-joke that became drum 'n' bass' secret shame.

HAHAHA, wait. Should I be laughing? Dunno, do you love Ronald McDonald or do you hate It? Clownstep is considered a form of jump-up drum 'n' bass that started with Shimon & Andy C's 'Bodyrock' a tune with a beat and bassline that embodies the march of a big-footed clown. Quickly, however, clownstep became a byword for shit jump-up and even lead to d'n'b forum Dogs On Acid banning the word. So really it can apply to any d'n'b track but if you listen to a tune while watching this, and it comes together perfectly, it's guaranteed clownstep.

The tune that sums the genre up:

Who listens to this? Either everyone or no one I'm not sure anymore!

Mainstreambility: Hey, if Cirque Du Soleil announced a clownstep tour you'd still go see it, right? 6/10

Suomisoundi

In one sentence: Finnish psy trance

Sure, why not. Let's be clear: Yes, we are talking about the sub genre of a sub genre of a sub genre of a genre, so we have reached peak niche. No I don't want to get in a fight with anyone about what is psytrance and what isn't. Suomisaundi literally translates to "Finnish sound" but really it's Goa trance made by Finnish people. Having started in the early 90s, it grew rapidly in the early 2000s thanks to a more distinguished sound pushed by the likes of Tim Thick and his label Thixx'n'Dixx. The story kind of trails off there but apparently the Suomisaundi sound is rolling on as strong as ever.

A mix that sums the genre up.

Kuka viihtyy näihin inspiraattoreihin?? Scandinavians with dreads.

Mainstreamability: If Call Super can roll out Layo & Bushwacka with no one batting an eyelid, then he can probably chuck some Suomisaundi into a set every now and again - 6/10

Hardbag

In one sentence: A harder version of the problematically-titled handbag house fad

Eurgh, here we go, give it to me straight. Back in the early 90s, house had hit a point where it splintered. One of those directions was toward massive, vocal-and-piano-heavy bangers that, now, would just be considered old-skool house music (think Black Box 'Ride On Time'). The sound was considered more commercial and naturally got most of the stick with handbag house becoming a casually misogynistic phrase that furthered perpetuated the stereotype of 'soft, silly' music for 'soft, silly' people like women. Whether Hardbag reinforces or breaks down the handbag house stereotype, it definitely was a thing with Felix's 'Don't You Want Me' considered the beginning and the genre's pinnacle coming in the mid-90s. Moodier chords, hardcore-style drums and a little less soaring vocal characterise these tracks.

The tune that sums the genre up:

Is it problematic for me to even ask who listens to this? Kinda because the genre implies the music is listened to by women (handbag) but actually it's Brexit blokes in dress shirts and turned up loafers drinking pints of Carling.

Mainstreamability: In the scheme of the underground? It's a little too cheesy. In the scheme of a Wetherspoons on a Friday? 10000/10

Skweee

In one sentence: Music based on toys.

Na, come on. Fine, back to Scandinavia we go. Skwee is, at worst, simplistic, but, at its best, sexy as hell. It's a weird dichotomy of nerdy 8-bit videogame sounds playing Kashif-style boogie basslines. It sounds like artists giving a shit and not giving a shit at the same time. It could only have happened in the mid-00s when electronic music was undergoing a huge makeover. It's pretty cool.

Who listens to it though? These guys.

Mainstreamability: It already happened when Skweee crossed over to dubstep producers like Rustie, Zomby and Joker, and I predict a revival in the winter of 2019 - 8/10

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