Wacky Musical Genres, from Witch House to Chopped and Screwed

Categories: WTF
Pitchfork reported yesterday that Deftones frontman Chino Moreno has released a new ep for his side project, cryptically named ††† (or, Crosses, if you want to say it out loud). The five-song release features Moreno's trademark echo-moans, which listeners usually hear soaring above the chugging, guitar fuzz of the Deftones. Though the guitars are still present on this release, the music is more sedate--a blend of '80s-era industrial music met with the palpitating, programmed drums of hip hop and the melancholy gothic pop of the Cure. But I'm not so concerned with what Moreno is working on these days as much as I'm intrigued   by Pitchfork's casual reference to the style of music this new EP represents--Witch House

At the risk of appearing clueless (God help me), I admit today was the first time I have ever heard reference made to this particular style of music.  Yes it's shameful for a music blogger to be so far out of the loop, but one has to wonder if these names are given to a band because of their ground breaking hybridization, or music writers are just looking for new ways to punch up their content. 

In any event we're all familiar with the standard genres falling under the pop-culture umbrella: punk, rap, electro, doom core, etc. But there are more than a few sub genres many of us would sheepishly claim knowledge of at a crowded party,  though we would ultimately have to admit ignorance to our inner most selves. 

So lest we musical ignoratti allow the haters to revel in our cluelessness via the comment page, we must arm ourselves with the knowledge of some lesser known genres. Here's a short list to get the ball rolling:

Witch House: As described above, the genre also includes the band White Ring. Have a listen:

Chopped and Screwed:
This style of remixing hip-hop songs was popular with the codeine-sipping DJs of the 1990s. It involves taking a song, slowing it down and mixing in skipped beats to induce a weightier, languid quality. No less a source than MTV News reported the genre was invented by Houston's DJ Screw in response to more frenetic Atlanta rappers. DJ Screw would make mix tapes of his altered creations known as screw tapes, which mimicked the heavy, molasses-like feel of opiate intoxication.

Chill Wave: My personal favorite of the genres listed here, this style incorporates '80s-influenced dance rhythms with ambient, yet catchy vocals. The classification reportedly gained traction courtesy of a blogger named Charles who writes for hipsterrunoff.com. Charles grouped a number of similar artists together and dubbed the summer of 2010 the "summer of Chillwave." Among the more prominent members of this "scene" is South Carolina recording artist Chazwick Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi. Say what you will about the restrictive nature of pigeonholing artists, but there is something about Toro's song "Talamak" that soothes the mind with the wistful promise made of the season.

Horrorcore: Take care not to confuse this style with Terror Core (big difference, apparently). Featuring roots stretching back to the late '80s, it features horror-film inspired rhymes mixed with  gangsta rap. Though this particular group of artists includes Detroit douchebags Insane Clown Posse, try not to judge the scene too harshly; the Geto Boys represent the genre's saving grace.

Gabber - A sub genre of hardcore techno, basically it's just more hardcore than the hadrcore. Rumored to have developed in Rotterdam during the 1990s, the word Gabber is Yiddish for "Mate." No doubt this music with its relentless throbbing drums was sonic fuel  for a marathon dance sessions and associated drug freakouts. Let DJ Cotts fill you in with some more details:

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Baby Pa
Baby Pa


Dude, there is fully a DJ Screw collection opening in the University of Houston library. The problem here is not krazy subgenres but the fact that you know nothing about anything.


Crosses isn't witch house, and to say so is lazy journalism. The only similarity is the cross imagery that has been around since Biblical times.


It's just writers trying to "punch up their content". 

Music dorks hang themselves up on increasingly silly sub-genres these days. I say that as a fellow music dork, myself. The only problem is that the music or sound isn't new, just the name. I'd read about "Witch House" on P-fork before, and I remember being similarly intrigued as you were, so I gave a song or two a listen. My reaction: oh...goth music, neat. When every sound under the sun has become available to all of us at the click of a button, via the internet, the only forms of pure "coolness", that feeling of something new and undiscovered, is in the realm of bullshit, manufactured art schema and the making up of vague, useless subgenre names. 

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