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Why 'naughty tech-house' is the greatest dance music sub-genre ever

It's not a movement, it's an atmosphere

  • Seb Wheeler
  • 21 March 2017

Naughty tech-house is a feeling. It’s what screws your face up in mock disgust when a dangerous bassline belts out the system. It’s what makes you get another round of doubles in when you should have been ordering an Uber. It’s what reminds you how life-affirming this whole whirlwind of a culture can be. It’s the lubricant of the sesh and, undeniably, the greatest dance music sub-genre of all time.

No one listens to naughty tech-house on their own or, indeed, out of official sesh hours. That’s the beauty of it: it’s communal music made for DJs who rely on rude tracks to send dancefloors into a frothy frenzy and for afterparty heads who know that the key to a good crack-on is hours upon hours of certified musical sleaze. We all know you’re not going anywhere once you hear the warm, devilish embrace of Cuartero’s ‘Nosy Neighbours’.

So what defines this lascivious sound? Bass, and preposterous portions of it. Hints of melody, though nothing that’ll slide over the fine line into deep or prog-house. Tough, pacy percussion, designed to keep the mind awake and the body dancing. And beautiful repetition that’ll hypnotise you into spending hours, if not days, locked in glorious hedonism.

It’s a blueprint that transcends traditional dance music demarcation. All tribes arrive at naughty tech-house: the OG house heads who recognise it as a direct descendant of classics like Mr Fingers’ ‘The Juice’; the technorati who would never openly admit to loving its cheeky swagger; the bass music purists who are drawn to its garage-esque swing like moths to a flame; and the swathes of 20-something first timers turned on by this music that just feels so fucking good. Even seasoned cynics melt in the presence of contemporary naughty tech-house greats such as Berlin threesome ItaloJohnson, whose white label series is more mischievous than a spider monkey in a false moustache.

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