Thursday, July 22, 2010

Witch House

There's been a plethora of strange band names of late, with symbols replacing letters and so on. It's no coincidence, however: most of these artists are singing from a similar hymn sheet aesthetically. Names used to describe this burgeoning movement/genre/scene include 'haunted house' 'drag' and 'ghost drone', but 'witch house' seems to be the one that's sticking. The characteristics of the genre include 'chopped and screwed' hip-hop influences (an earlier form of hip hop that slowed down street-rap's flow to create a drugged-out, eerie sound); slowed down, ghostly vocal samples; a fascination with the occult and ritualism/symbolism (reflected in the use of upper/lower case punctuation, triangular symbols etc.), and the twisting inside-out of conventional pop songs.

From Joe Colly's Pitchfork article 'Ghosts in the Machine':

"Each artist has his own take: Balam Acab sounds almost like rudimentary dubstep, oOoOO's songs are ethereal and sample heavy, and White Ring are on the darker edge of synth-pop. But they share some common traits. "Drag" tracks are always beat-driven but molasses-paced-- the bass is prominent, but drowsy and languid. Vocals are there, but no one's singing upfront. (Typically, vocals are manipulated in some way and buried in the mix.) It's not necessarily tech-y music-- there's a human quality to these songs but it's ghostly and distorted, as if the tracks themselves are haunted."

An excellent introductory mix can be found at

These links are also essential: (DISARO Records)

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