Acid House Vs Deep House and How It All Started

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Acid House music is largely responsible for bringing House music into the consciousness of the mainstream mind.

If you enjoy a lot of the popular Deep House and Progressive House songs that receive attention and praise today, you owe some gratitude to the influence Acid House had on electronic music, especially from a historical perspective.

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Let’s dive in!

What Is Acid House and When Did It Start?

Glad you asked.  

Acid House first came onto the scene in Chicago, in the mid 80’s. Acid House is largely an experiment in electronic minimalism, and is characterized often by deep basslines and memorable synthesizer effects.  And it sounds a little something like this…

The thumbprint of Acid House is felt on all forms of electronic music today, but particularly it is felt within the music of artists operating within the Trip Hop, Breakbeat, and Trance genres.

So who invented it?  Although opinions on the earliest Acid House tracks vary, many consider Phuture’s “Acid Tracks” to be the first, which was concocted back in 1987.

Fans (and the artists themselves) typically symbolize their allegiance to the genre through the use of a simple, yellow, smiley face. This tradition is particularly common among British listeners.

Euphoria Level Red

Many say that the arrival of Acid House marked a new era of music altogether, where artists could fuse instruments and technology succinctly as they created. Acid House culture was a draw, often for those on the fringes of society.

The scene accepted all with open arms, regardless of race, ethnicity, social class, or religious preference. Many have compared it as a cultural phenomenon to that of the Summer Of Love, in the late 60’s.

acid house smiley

Acid House also introduced a new element to the craft of DJ’ing.

Many DJ’s during Acid House revolution reported tendencies to restrain the crowd, by somewhat subduing their delivery of music, due to the fact that the crowd’s euphoria was already brimming at level red.

How Did Acid House Get Its Name?

How Acid House received Acid in its name at the inception of the genre, is debated. Some claim that the genre got its name after the earliest Acid House tracks were initially debuted at nightclubs where the use of psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD were prevalent.

Others maintain that the genre was given the name “Acid House” as a derogatory jab, due to the fact that it frequently borrowed from other genres through the use of sampling, a feature of the genre which critics often point to as a sign of a lack of originality.

club shroom london


By the arrival of the late 80’s, Acid House music had spread like wildfire through the UK. Clubs in London like Club Shoom, were early pioneers in bringing Acid House music to Western Europe.

Soon, many clubs hopped on the bandwagon and premiered Acid House music to new audiences exclusively.

Much of the media attention concerning Acid House has rather unfairly obsessed over the genre’s, either true or untrue, affiliation with the psychedelic scene.

What Is Deep House Music?  

Deep House music also happened to arise in Chicago, at the same time as Acid House music. Larry Heard, a well known DJ from Chicago, is often credited as the father of Deep House music.

However, its influences are distinctly different from Acid House, and that is easily felt by listeners.

Deep House traditionally draws heavily from Jazz, Soul, Disco and even Gospel music, and essentially laid the groundwork for the eventual advent of Future House music.

Check out this utterly classic track with Mr. Fingers and “Can You Feel It”.

The lyrical nature of Deep House music is ambient, positive, and uplifting, although at times it can be dismal.

Perhaps, more than any other subgenre of House music, Deep House places the greatest value on lyricism. Often times, the hypnotic effects produced by talented female vocalists are heard in Deep House.

BPM of Deep House

Although an evolution of traditional House, and remaining under that genre umbrella, Deep House differs in that its BPM (Beats Per Minute) is much lower, typically registering at 120-125.

Deep House also draws a lot of its rhythmic inspiration from the Detroit Techno scene. Deep House is often characterized as being intensely atmospheric, as its warm melodies are frequently complimented by light-hearted base lines.

Listeners frequently claim that among all the subgenres of House music, Deep House is uniquely “tropical” in feel.

Some popular Deep House artists include: Steve Mill, Sebb Junior, and Jimpster among many others. Deep House purists have the tendency of being fiercely loyal to what is considered true Deep House, and what is not. This is often due to the rampant misuse of the “Deep House” term itself.

Fans of electronic music often use the term to describe songs that are melodic in some way. They are often wrong, confusing Deep House frequently with Trance, or even Chillstep.

Deeper and Deeper

Within the EDM category, many say that Deep House is currently the prevailing fad. In a similar way to how Dubstep lovers will discuss which song’s beat “dropped the hardest”, Deep House listeners claim some songs are noticeably “deeper” than others.

The subgenre shares some similarities with Trance music, in the melodic, atmospheric, and entrancing way comes across.

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