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Acid house is a sub-genre of house music that emphasizes a repetitive, hypnotic and trance-like style, with samples or spoken lines usually used rather than sung lyrics. Acid house’s core electronic squelch sounds were developed by mid-1980s DJs from Chicago who experimented with the Roland TB-303 electronic synthesizer-sequencer. Acid house spread to the United Kingdom, Australia, and continental Europe, where it was played by DJ’s in the early rave scene. By the late 1980s, copycat tracks and acid house remixes brought the style into the mainstream, where it had some influence on pop and dance styles.

Nicknamed “the sound of acid”, acid house was different than the emerging styles of deep house or vocal house in that it was starkly minimal, being very light or absent of instrumentation and generally harder or trancier sounding than these. This bifurcation marked an early separation in house music that directly correlated to the origin of hard dance and trance and which developed in conjunction with the more underground and specialized rave scene. The starkness of the style was as a result of the discovery of the strange sounds that the Roland 303 bass line synthesizer produced when tweaked and the straight 4|4 rhythm which though shared by much of house and techno music was programmed into much harder and more pounding rhythms than pop or electro. Both of these elements are present in most of the tracks considered core to the sound of acid house. Roland’s other famous sound, the Roland TR-909 drum machine is nearly as common. Acid house’s influence on dance music is tangible considering the sheer number of electronic music tracks referencing acid house through the use of its sounds, including trance, Goa Trance, psytrance, breakbeat, big beat, techno, trip-hop and house music.

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