Tech House is the elephant in eMusic’s shrinking room

Allow me to shred any rock cred I may have had with a bloated list of house and techno. I don’t gather anyone here is a fan, but I could use suggestions for how to pitch this monstrosity to those who do like it.  You see, all it’ll take is a few dozen deep-pocketed club DJs to join and replace the revenue of unsubscribers, and then the labels with music we do care about will come crawling back.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

While there’s several genres of more interest to list, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed.  I’ve documented around 300 house and techno labels, excluding other electronic subgenres, and fatigue from typing so much prevents me from saying whether that’s even half of them.  Based on a previous sample, house music labels make up just under 15% of those remaining on eMusic, and with each cull that ratio increases, as I don’t know of any house labels that have left.  Bow down to the true king of the new eMusic, karaoke yak herder v/a compilations:  Thy master is house.  

On the plus side, they tend to be updating in 2019, they have large catalogs often with hundreds of titles, and they are often of excellent value, with most EPs going for 99 cents, many over an hour long.  On the negative side, I haven’t had the slightest interest in oonce techno since the early-to-mid 1990s, so I’m the wrong ambassador.What I do like from techno and house music just goes to show I haven’t hit a dancefloor in over a decade (see the accompanying 10-album list for specific recs).  

Labels that I actually recommend for someone with the slightest curiosity about strictly techno and house EDM are Amselcom, Bastard Boogie Tunes/Союз Мьюзик, Jellyfish, King Deluxe, Mixpak, and Multi Culti.

Arrhythmia, AudD, Balkanbeats, Chrom, Knekelhuis, Romeda, Scuba, What Now Becomes, Gentle Soul, Harthouse, Infinite Machine, Konsep, Mind Field, New York Haunted, Nitegrooves, Rockets & Ponies, Round in Motion, Shango, and Oyhopper sum up where I’ve downloaded or wishlisted anything dancey.

Pschent, Scissor & Thread dabble in house that’s sure to be better simply for making it onto labels with other kinds of music.

Adriatiko, Aerotropic, Atum, Balkan, Bleep Bloop, Brixton Hill, Blueprint, Dirt Crew, dtpt, Dystopian, Nervous Horizon, Nocta Numerica, O*RS, Phantasy, Planet Dog, Planete Rouge, Psihometron, Revox, Sacramental, Singularity, Souvenir, Sugar Recordings, SWEET beat, 2020Vision, Astropilot, Audaz, Avian, Beat & Path, Black Hole Recordings, Blaq, Body Motion, Cheshire, Circuit, Cosmic Disco, Deeptone, Delsin, dirtybird, Downwards, Entropy, Flash, Hot Elephant, House Café, Hub Records, Idle Hands, Jack to Phono, Jazz & Milk, Kundry, Label, Lauter Unfug, Lazy Days, Leuchtturm, Little Struggling Ant, Local Talk, Logos, M-Plant, Make Mistakes, Modal, More, N I G H T N O I S E, Nulu, 1080p, Parabola, PencilBoy, Plastic City, POST POST, Ready Mix, Redukt Digital, Russian Techno, Shipwrec, Slow Motion, Soulful Horizons, Space of Variants, Spring Theory, TARO, Transatlantyk, Uncanny Valley, Um Passo, Urban Recording, Valcrond Video, Vizeeble Entertainment, We Are Young, voxnox,  round out the tiers where I’d consider downloading something, if I had unlimited credit.

For hardcore techno and rave music, I’m not opposed to the earsplitting pulses on the following, as they at least distinguish themselves.  So go ahead and rave ’til dawn like it’s 1992 with Digital Hardcore, Peace Off, Ruffneck, Battle Audio, The Third Movement, Dark Productions Inc., ILISHO, Peacock, and RaveUp.  I should be able to find a dedicated subreddit to post those without getting the boot.  

The vast majority of tech house labels I’ve recorded out of commitment to note all with “significant” catalogs remaining, but I’ve called them a “low priority” for exploration.  That’s a nice way of saying that I’ll never get around to sampling these b/c it’s outright drudgery with almost no hope for rewards or happy surprises.  This is already too long, so I’ll exclude them entirely.  Anyone who doesn’t find this list inclusive enough can find several times more labels by searching my page for techno or house.  The main draw has got to be the 99-cent price point on thousands of EP singles I fail to distinguish from each other.  Apologies for any snark; that’d be the exhaustion typing.

Again, note that general electronica, downtempo, IDM, drum & bass/jungle, dub, dubstep, trance, and definitely ambient have all been excluded, as this is clearly unwieldy without them.  I’ll get to those in due time.  Might have to draft a post in the comments editing out anything negative here to post in other subreddits…just focus on the 99-cent bargains.


  • edited October 2019
    I think for me, techno (&related) might be the genre area with the biggest drop off in listening reward between excellent and merely OK examples. There are other genres where B-list stuff is still entertaining, but in this particular area for me it’s like a trip to the dentist even though I like good instances.
  • @Germanprof
    A keen observation I'm inclined to agree with, though there's still the possibility of different aesthetics finding very different albums excellent.  When techno is just mediocre, it is a much bigger, less appealing lump all right.
  • "like a trip to the dentist..." wow, what a metaphor. My public library (Houston) is missing a lot of classic recordings, but will nonetheless buy the "lullaby rock" version of them. 

    At one point, the library system did not have any Pink Floyd music CDs, but had 10 recordings of the Lullaby Rock version of Pink Floyd. 

    Read them and weep folks -- Okay, maybe Pink Floyd is more compatible with this style (and I can see occasionally dabbling in weird renditions) but there are also Lullaby versions of Metallica, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin.  I guess the karaoke trend is no less insidious. 
  • edited October 2019
    Definitely heard a defanged Metallica and Nirvana song in a grocery store before...scary stuff.  Like the mirror image of "hooked on classics" trying to bring the composers up to 1970s disco age, those who just want to make a buck while getting into libraries and elevators are determined to see that distinctive music regresses to the mean.

    And again, I tell people that inviting me to a bar or coffee shop is like me inviting someone to the least I get something out of a trip to the dentist, but since I don't drink and have never had a cup of coffee, bad music is all that's likely to come of the other two.  I'll take the pain and tangible benefits with it, please.
  • But if you want to try a fascinating, softer version of Metallica do try the early albums of Apocalyptica. A four cello, classically trained band from Finland.
  • edited October 2019

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