Acid house

Acid house

Infobox Music genre
name=Acid house
cultural_origins=1980s, United States, United Kingdom
Drum machine
Roland TB-303
Roland TR-808
popularity= late 1980s and early 1990s United States, United Kingdom. Resurgence in mid-2000s.
derivatives=Breakbeat hardcore
subgenrelist=Styles of house music
other_topics=Styles of house music

Acid house is a sub-genre of house music that emphasizes a repetitive, hypnotic and trance-like style, with samples or spoken lines usually used rather than sung lyrics. Acid house's core electronic squelch sounds were developed by mid-1980s DJs from Chicago who experimented with the Roland TB-303 electronic synthesizer-sequencer. Acid house spread to the United Kingdom, Australia, and continental Europe, where it was played by DJ's in the early rave scene. By the late 1980s, copycat tracks and acid house remixes brought the style into the mainstream, where it had some influence on pop and dance styles.

Nicknamed "the sound of acid" [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =70
isbn= 0819564982
] , acid house was different than the emerging styles of deep house or vocal house in that it was starkly minimal, being very light or absent of instrumentation and generally harder or trancier sounding than these.Fact|date=July 2008 This bifurcation marked an early separation in house music that directly correlated to the origin of hard dance and trance and which developed in conjunction with the more underground and specialized rave scene. Fact|date=July 2008 The starkness of the style was a result of the discovery of the strange sounds that the Roland 303 bass line synthesizer produced when tweaked and the straight 4|4 rhythm which though shared by much of house and techno music was programmed into much harder and more pounding rhythms than pop or electro. Fact|date=July 2008 Both of these elements are present in most of the tracks considered core to the sound of acid house. Fact|date=July 2008 Roland's other famous sound, the Roland TR-909 drum machine is nearly as common. Acid house's influence on dance music is tangible considering the sheer number of electronic music tracks referencing acid house through the use of its sounds, including trance, Goa Trance, psytrance, breakbeat, big beat, techno, trip-hop and house music. [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =76–77
isbn= 0819564982
] __TOC__


Origins in Chicago

The first acid house records were produced in Chicago, Illinois. Phuture, a group founded by Nathan "DJ Pierre" Jones, Earl "Spanky" Smith Jr., and Herbert "Herb J" Jackson, is credited with having been the first to use the TB-303 in the house music context (the instrument appeared as early as 1983 in disco via Alexander Robotnick). [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =32
isbn= 0819564982
] The group's 12-minute "Acid Tracks" was recorded to tape and was played by DJ Ron Hardy at the Music Box, where Hardy was resident DJ. Hardy once played it four times over the course of an evening until the crowd responded favorably.

Chicago's house music scene was suffering from a massive crack down of parties and events by the police. Sales of house records were dwindling and by 1988, the genre was selling less than a tenth as many records as at the height of the style's popularity. [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages = 34
isbn= 0819564982
] However, house and especially acid house was beginning to experience a massive surge in popularity in Britain.

The London house-music scene

London's club Shoom, circa 1987, was one of the first clubs to introduce acid house to the clubbing public of England. It was opened by Danny Rampling and his wife. The club was extremely exclusive and featured thick fog, a dreamy atmosphere and acid house. [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =60
isbn= 0819564982
] This period began what some call the Second Summer of Love, a movement credited with a reduction in football hooliganism: instead of fights, football fans were listening to music, taking ecstasy, and joining the other club attendees in a peaceful movement often paralleled to the Summer of Love in San Francisco in the 1960s. [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =64
isbn= 0819564982
] However, the Second Summer of Love is generally considered much less politicized than its namesake, and is often seen as hedonistic and self-indulgent.Fact|date=July 2008

Another club called Trip was opened by Nick Holloway in 1988 and was geared directly towards the acid house music scene. It known for its intensity and stayed open until 3 AM. The patrons would spill into the streets chanting and drew the police on regular occasions. The reputation that occurrences like this created along with the UK's strong anti-club laws started to make it increasingly difficult to offer events in the conventional club atmosphere. Considered illegal in London during the late 80s, after-hour clubbing was against the law. However, this did not stop the club-goers from continuing after-hours dancing. Police would raid the after-hour parties, so the groups began to assemble inside warehouses and other inconspicuous venues in secret, hence also marking the first developments of the rave. [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =62
isbn= 0819564982
] Raves were well attended at this time and consisted of single events or moving series of parties thrown by production companies or unlicensed clubs. Two well known groups at this point were the famous "RiP" or Revolution in Progress, known for the dark atmosphere and hard music at their events which were usually thrown in warehouses [cite book
last =Shapiro
first =Peter
title =Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
publisher =Caipirinha Productions Inc.
pages =62
isbn= 0819564982
] and Sunrise who held particularly massive outdoor events.

The Sunrise group threw several large acid house raves in England which gathered serious press attention. In 1988 they threw "Burn It Up," 1989 brought "Early Summer Madness," "Midsummer Night's Dream," and "Back to the Future." They advertised huge sound systems, fairground rides, foreign DJs, and other attractions. Many articles were written sensationalizing these parties and the results of them, focusing especially on the drug use and out-of-control nature that the media perceived. [cite web
title=Sunrise Profile
publisher= []
quote=Youngsters were so high on Ecstacy and cannabis they ripped the birds’ heads off;

In September 1989, Sunrise held the largest Acid House rave ever, just outside Reigate in Surrey. In the fields adjacent to the school playing fields at Hartswood (between Woodhatch and Sidlow Bridge), the rave took place and lasted from 10pm on the Saturday night until late into Sunday night. It was estimated that nearly 20,000 attended during the weekend, and car queues stretched 4 miles, from the top of Reigate Hill to the Hartswood fields. It was widely covered by the press and television, and remains the largest rave ever, notable for the fact that it is the only time in British history that the police have retreated on mainland soil.Fact|date=July 2008

Media attention

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, news media and tabloids devoted an increasing amount of coverage to the hedonistic acid house/rave scene, focusing on its association with psychedelic drugs and club drugs. The sensationalist nature of the coverage may have contributed to the banning of acid house during its heyday from radio, television, and retail outlets in the United Kingdom. The moral panic of the press began in 1988, when the UK tabloid The Sun, which only weeks earlier had promoted Acid House as "cool and groovy" while running an offer on Acid Smiley Face T-Shirts, abruptly turned on the scene. On October 19th, the tabloid ran with the headline "Evils of Ecstasy," linking the Acid House scene with the new and relatively unknown drug. The resultant panic incited by the tabloids eventually led to a crackdown on clubs and venues that played Acid House and had a profound negative impact on the scene. [cite web |url= |title=Rave's relationship to the Media |accessdate=2007-10-23 |format= |work=Fantazia Rave Archive ]

UK acid house and rave fans used the yellow smiley face symbol simply as an emblem of the music and scene, a "vapid, anonymous smile" that portrayed the "simplest and gentlest of the Eighties’ youth manifestations" that was non-aggressive, "except in terms of decibels" at the high-volume DJ parties. ["The Independent", March 3, 1990: “Acid House, whose emblem is a vapid, anonymous smile, is the simplest and gentlest of the Eighties’ youth manifestations … non-aggressive (except in terms of decibels).”] Some acid house fans used a smiley face with a blood streak on it, which "Watchmen" comics creator Alan Moore asserts was based on Dave Gibbons' artwork for the series. [cite web
title=The Alan Moore interview
publisher= [ Blather]
author=Dave Walsh
quote=There were big coincidences happening around the work ["sic"] and then all of a sudden the central image of it has been nicked on all these acid house t-shirts everywhere.

Within just a few years, acid house had gained a considerable fan base, and the influence of the music reached beyond the club and warehouse environment. It also influenced UK pop music during these formative years, emerging in a somewhat sanitized version in songs like Bananarama's "Tripping on Your Love" (1991) and Samantha Fox's "Love House" (1989). Acid house influences also appear in the 1988 hit by S'Express, "Theme from S'Express" and in remixes of pop songs on 12" singles by various mainstream acts.

Musically, acid house started to move away from its almost total reliance on the TB-303, but continued to use repeated sound sequences that were shifted and warped by electronic modulation.

Influence of house music

Acid house remained active after the first wave and has experienced waves of popularity. Richie Hawtin, Moby, Massive Attack all released tunes in the early 1990s featuring the Roland TB-303. Josh Wink released "Higher State of Consciousness" in 1995, just another peak in acid house's continuous up-and-down cycle in over 20 years of popularity and performance. As computer programs such as ReBirth and VSTi (Virtual Studio Technology Instrument) versions of the essential Roland TB-303 were developed, the sound began to appear in many different styles of music. Roland released the MC-303 Groovebox in the mid 1990s, which featured samples of the original TB-303.

DJ's and producers using tracks or sounds from acid house that appeared in the 1990s and 2000s include Chris Liberator, 808 State, DJ Pierre, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Terry Mullen, Luke Vibert, Aphex Twin, and many others including artists far outside the acid house genre such as Madonna, the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, and The Prodigy.

Etymology of the term

There are conflicting accounts about how the term "acid" came to be used to describe this style of house music. British performer and musician Genesis P-Orridge from the experimental music collective Psychic TV has claimed that he invented the term "acid house".Fact|date=October 2007 However, this claim is disputed by Fred Giannelli, another member of Psychic TV. [Giannelli, Fred, in an [ interview] (archived from in July 2007) for the Family Ov Psychick Individuals (FOPI) Psychic TV fan club in June 2000.] Even P-Orridge himself has given a different account of his introduction to the genre: In an interview in the 1999 documentary "Better Living Through Circuitry", he states that when he asked a Chicago record store clerk for the weirdest records on hand, he was pointed to the "acid" section. P-Orridge claims that he merely listened to them to try to figure out what made them psychedelic, and concluded that the tempo was the key element.

The reference to "acid" may also be a celebratory reference to psychedelic drugs in general, such as LSD, as well as a popular mid-1980s club drug Ecstasy (MDMA). ["The Oxford Dictionary of New Words" (Knowles, Elizabeth [ed] , Elliott, Elizabeth [ed] ). Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-19-863152-9. — "The word acid here is probably taken from the record Acid Trax by Phuture (in Chicago slang, acid burning is a term for stealing and this type of music relies heavily on sampling, or stealing from other tracks); a popular theory that it is a reference to the drug LSD is denied by its followers (but compare acid rock, a sixties psychedelic rock craze, which certainly was)."]

Other accounts of the etymology of the term are not based on the LSD or psychedelic connotations. One such account is that before DJ Pierre's "Acid Trax" (an early example of the genre and credited to his group Phuture) was given a title for commercial release, it was played at a nightclub by DJ Ron Hardy, where it was called "Ron Hardy's Acid Track" (or "Ron Hardy's Acid Trax"). After the release of Phuture's song, and the term Acid House came into common parlance. [Cheeseman, Phil. " [ The History Of House] ". ] Philippe Renaud, a journalist for "La Presse" in Montreal, states that the term "Acid house" was "Coined in Chicago in 1987 to describe the sound of the Roland 303 bass machine." Renaud states that acid house music "made its first significant recording appearance on Phuture's Acid Trax (DJ Pierre) in that year." [ [ Philippe Renaud: Look it up in the dictionary—An alphabetical guide to electronic music] ] Electronic music historian Dan Sicko also advances this theory in his book "Techno Rebels", stating acid house is "named for its psychedelic sounds," particularly that of the Roland TB-303. [citation|last=Sicko|first=Dan|title=Techno Rebels|publication-year=1999|publisher=Billboard Books|pages=104|isbn=0-8230-8428-0]

The theory that "acid" was a derogatory reference towards the use of samples in acid house music was repeated in the press and in the British House of Commons. [ [ Quoted in the British House of Commons "Hansard"] , 9 March 1990, column 1111—the term acid house party derives from Chicago slang describing the theft and subsequent mixing of recording tracks played at warehouse parties. But because of its association with drug LSD or acid, the promoters prefer to use descriptions such as all-night party."] In this theory, the term "acid" came from the slang term "acid burning", which the Oxford Dictionary of New Words calls "a term for stealing." Since acid house makes substantial use of sampling, this can be deemed "stealing from other tracks." [Rushkoff, Douglas (1994, 2nd ed. 2002). "Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Cyberspace". ISBN 1-903083-24-9& House DJs would sample pieces of music that were called bites so (others spell it "bytes", to indicate that these are digital samples that can be measured in terms of RAM size). Especially evocative bites were called acid bites." Thus, music of the house, made up of these acid bites, became known as acid house. When] One of the problems with this theory is that although early house music producers did use samples, most acid house music was fully original compositions made using sequencers and synthesizers.

In 1991, UK Libertarian advocate Paul Staines claimed that he coined the non-drug-oriented explanation (equating "acid burning" with stealing) to discourage the government from adopting anti-rave party legislation. Staines stated that he spread this misinformation because he believed that the British public would deem the use of drugs at rave parties to be unacceptable, and would therefore support legislation against rave parties. [Staines, Paul (1991). "Acid House Parties Against the Lifestyle Police and the Safety Nazis" article in " [ Political Notes] " (ISSN 0267-7059), [ issue 55] (ISBN 1-85637-039-9). Also quoted in Saunders, Nicholas with Doblin, Rick (July 1, 1996). "Ecstasy: Dance, Trance & Transformation", Quick American Publishing Company. ISBN 0-932551-20-3.] [Garratt, Sheryl (May 6, 1999). "Adventures in Wonderland: Decade of Club Culture". Headline Book Publishing Ltd. (UK). ISBN 0-7472-5846-5.]

Once the term "acid house" became more widely used, participants at acid house-themed events in the UK and Ibiza made the psychedelic drug connotations a reality by using club drugs such as ecstasy. [DeRogatis, Jim (December 1, 2003). " [ Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock] ", 436. Google Print. ISBN 0-634-05548-8 (accessed June 9, 2005). Also available in print from Hal Leonard.] [Donnally, Trish. (October 17, 1988). Article published in the "San Francisco Chronicle" and distributed via the "Los Angeles Times" Syndicate to other newspapers and published under various headlines—"British youths, mostly younger than 20, are flocking to members-only nightclubs, taking a cheap tab of LSD ($5) or the much more expensive designer drug Ecstasy ($30) and then dancing all night long, sometimes - with the aid of amyl nitrate "poppers" — until 10 the next morning."] The association of acid house, MDMA, and smiley faces was observed in New York City by late 1988. [citation
title=At some Manhattan nightclubs, 'X' marks the 'inner circle's' perfect drug
newspaper=San Diego Union
This article was distributed by the New York Times News Service and published under various headlines in several U.S. newspapers. "Most striking is the parallel rise at some nightclubs of a new kind of music called "acid house," which is a stripped-down, highly percussive disco sound — punctuated by television jingles, spoken non sequiturs and high-pitched beeps — whose overall effect is psychedelic. "The music and the drug were made for each other," said a 22-year-old disc jockey from Hawaii wearing a T-shirt that reads A (plus) E (equals) (Smiley Face) — read as a "Acid House Plus Ecstasy Equals Happiness."
] This coincided with an increasing level of scrutiny and sensationalism in the mainstream press, [Takiff, Jonathan. (December 14, 1988). "Philadelphia Daily News"—BBC banned all records that mentioned acid] although conflicting accounts about the degree of connection between acid house music and drugs continued to surface. [Leary, Mike. (November 24, 1988). "Philadelphia Inquirer".]

Notable acid house artists

* PhutureChicago-based group of acid-house pioneers, formed in 1985 and best known for its classic 1987 single "Acid Tracks," which is considered to be the 12-inch single that gave birth to the acid house movement.
* DJ Pierre, a member of Phuture, released various solo acid house tracks and remixes
* Armando — Chicago acid house musician, for "Land of Confusion" and many other seminal tracks
* Mr. Lee - another Chicago house musician who released several acid house tracks in 1988
* Fast Eddie - another Chicago house musician, for "Acid Thunder"
* Adonis - another Chicago house musician, for "We're Rockin Down The House"
* Bam Bam - another Chicago house musician, for "Where Is Your Child" and "Give It To Me"
* Lil Louis - another Chicago house musician, for "Frequency"
* 808 State - a Manchester, UK-based group of house/techno musicians, formed in 1988. Their first album, "Newbuild", was acid house, and occasional acid house influences appear in later tracks.
* A Guy Called Gerald - 808 State cofounder, for the single "Voodoo Ray"
* The KLF - for "What Time Is Love?" and their self-described "stadium house" sound, which mixes acid house with hip-hop, pop, and stadium rock/chant influences
* The Shamen - Psychedelic techno act formed as a rock band in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1986. One of the first groups to bring acid house and techno into the pop mainstream.
* Psychic TV, released early albums of acid house music in 1988 as fake compilations.
* S'Express - Brought acid house to number one in the United Kingdom
* Baby Ford - English producer Peter Frank Adshead. 1988 release "Oochy Koochy" and first album, "Fordtrax" influenced by acid house.
* D Mob - Best known for 1988 UK #3 hit "We Call It Acieed"
* Maurice - Chicago house musician best known for the 1988–1989 hit "This Is Acid".

See also

* Second Summer of Love
* Lords of Acid
* Sunrise/Back to the Future
* Genesis '88
* Madchester
* Free party
* Acid techno
* Rave
* List of electronic music genres

External links

* [] , acid house fan site
* [ Jahsonic's History of Acid House]
* [ History of House] Article covering the history of house, touching on Acid House
* [] , featuring sections on acid house, old skool and electro
* [ Discussion of Race and Music with specific references to Acid House]
* [ Entertainment & Sports Law Journal Vol 1. No. 3] contains a comparative review of 11 books covering the acid house and early rave scenes
* [ An early acid house rave] - Video displaying some dancing, mixing and raving at a 1989 outdoor party in the UK (YouTube link)
* [ Acid history] Short multimedia history of early steps in acid house.


;Additional references
* Collin, Matthew; Godfrey, John. (1st edition, April 1997; 2nd edition, November 15, 1998). "Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House". Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1-85242-377-3 (1st edition); ISBN 1-85242-604-7 (2nd edition).
* Bussmann, Jane. (1998) "Once in a Lifetime: The Crazy Days of Acid House and Afterwards". London: Virgin. ISBN 0-7535-0260-7.
* Shapiro, Peter (ed.), "et al." (October 15, 2000). "Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound". Charles Rivers Publishing Co. ISBN 1-891024-06-X.
* [ A bibliography of acid house references in 1988–1989 periodicals]

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