For well over a decade, tech house was commonly assumed to be a byword for uninspired, cookie-cutter dance music. Combining techno’s outer-space sensibility with the swung grooves of house, tech house became largely associated with big room commercial clubs, and the term was often casually used as a pejorative to describe any mid-tempo dance music thought to be in bad taste. But in recent years, that’s started to change.
A new generation of DJs have been rediscovering the ’90s productions that initially defined the tech house sound, tracks that are a million miles away from what the style transformed into as the 2000s progressed. Many modern listeners wouldn’t think to associate these timeless tracks with what tech house became, which begs the question: what happened? What was tech house in the first place? Where did it come from? Why did it change? And why is it back? In this video essay, the DJs and producers who built the culture, watched it decay and reemerge, set the record straight.