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"Witch House" is a musical trend of the late '00s and early '10s which typically incorporates elements of hip-hop, dubstep, electro, IDM, Gothic, shoegaze, and ritual ambient/ethereal/noise/drone music, often with a slow tempo and a lo-fi aesthetic meant to evoke a dark, sinister, or occult mood. Common typographical features of artist and track names include triangles (▲,▼,∆), crosses (†), and other geometric shapes.
Influences include gothic bands from the 1980's, e.g. Cocteau Twins, Throbbing Gristle // Psychic TV, the Cure, and Dead Can Dance, as well as the Twin Peaks TV series, New Age, the decelerated beats of DJ Screw (PBUH). Overlapping terms include haunted house, screwgaze, crunkgaze, chillgaze (crunk shoegaze), darkwave, occult house (okkvlt), trianglecore, post-whatever, next wave, broken-clash, death disco, post-pop, ghost drone, avant hard, zombie rave, ghost step and drag… Term "Drag" can also be understood as a stretching technique similar to chopped and screwed and glitch techniques. It is interesting to notice that "Witch House—Drag" relation is somewhat similar to "Hip Hop—Rap" relation. The term "Witch House" was coined and popularized in 2009 by Johnathan Coward of SHAMS and Travis Egedy of Pictureplane.
Labels Tri Angle (Alec Koone Balam Acab and Christopher D. Greenspan OoOoO) established by Robin Carolan (of the popular 20JFG music blog) and Robert Disaro's (of //Tense//) imprint Disaro Records are recognized as flagships of the Witch House "movement". This movement is often associated with parallel emergence of Chillwave (Glo-fi) with which it shares the aesthetic tactics of survival in hyper-mediated late capitalist society. These tactics are "taken" from electroclash revolutions and "mutated" (Look: Brent Luvaas "Re-Producing Pop "). Maybe, for these reasons Witch House is sometimes interested in other interpretations of New Wave music and in appropriation of goth, industrial, minimal synth, krautrock and cold wave aspects of the 80s with were omitted by electroclash or forgotten in the era of indietronica. In the same manner chillwave uses new romantics, funk or latin disco… Both genres celebrate external aspects of past, in these case VHS and audio cassette technologies of the 90s (same as synths and commodores of the 80s in electroclash) Important point of Witch House is the relationship to MTV culture and Dirty South rap music which is solved through certain semi-ironic idea of unity and integration of culture represented by "▲" symbol. Band "Salem" is a popular pioneer though their music is not the typical example of this genre's sound.
Between the emergence of new wave (80s), electroclash (90s), new rave (00s) and drag (early 10s) romantic eras there were more than a handful of failed attempts at gothic revival – freak folk, new rave , blog house, fidget, and indie eras happened, only to burn out from misdirection of cause from wide and aggressive acquisition of associated acts (Crystal Castles, ad nausea) and media outlets by majorly funded corporate media outlets (FOX // NEWS CORPORATION acquisition of Myspace.com). Witch house was created trying to integrate all these phenomena (with a notion of protection and self-preservation by use of ascii art ((▲,▼,∆), crosses (†)) that makes associated acts hard to google or become the epidemic of mass consumption through any other means than blogging or social networking) , this self-aware idea of integration juxtaposed to a self-aware shallowness of the electroclash movement; Irony and witches were born. Making novelty the main principle of structure building. These new structures of communication through aesthetic platforms (deconstruction, irony, serenity, appropriation, mutation, eclecticism, revaluation, patchwork…) are one possible way of achieving avant-garde -ism in todays society, which is a troubled issue. In that light Witch House is a "popular culture brother" of contemporary art forms such as "new aestheticism", "relational aesthetics" and "documentary style" . The electroclash generation was raised on pop and techno, the witch house generation is raised on pop and glitch (and electroclash), the first brought us 80s the second brought us 80s, 90s and 00s…and who knows what will be the outfit of future generations (the structures and patterns of classification are becoming weirdly huge and varied).
It has been established from recent blogs and music journals that there is no one founder or originator of the witch house, and that witch house is another way of saying "dark electronic music" of various styles and tempos, and that no one artist can be pegged with it's origin though it can be widely debated that Club Rhinoceropolis (A Warehouse in Denver in which Pictureplane, and Modern Witch preform at regularly) is the ark amongst the venues and night clubs to bare the birth of the witch house and new romantic // gothic era revival in N. America. Other popular witch havens include Club Medusa Lounge in LA and Pendu events amongst various venues in Brooklyn and New York City.
At present the witch house movement appears to be here to stay, reaching major and indie media attention on a semi-regular basis. Dressed in the form of the apocalypse, witch house seems to be aiming at becoming a megalith of cultural identification for the 10s.
Witch House in the media:
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