What is Glitch Hop?
I’ll be honest I don’t think there is a correct answer to this question nor is there for any genre of music. At the end of the day music is music despite the label or genre. There have been many names for “Glitch Hop” such as lazer bass, crunk bass, etc… The question you probably want to know is what defines a track as glitch hop.
The beauty of Glitch Hop is that it’s not really a genre with specific rules or BPM. I like to consider Glitch Hop the type of music that incorporates glitchy effects like beat repeaters and sweeps. The tempo of the music doesn’t really matter at all. The genre of Glitch is where it falls into because of this. When Hip-Hop/Crunk samples are added with all these effects the result is… Glitch Hop! Yup that’s basically it.
Glitch Hop has really started to take off within the past year or two. The Glitch Hop Forum has appeared and helps unite the community of fans, producers, and Djs. Glitch.fm was started and specializes in this sound. Acts like Pretty Lights and The Glitch Mob are headlining festivals all around the world.
I don’t think it has been documented where the term was actually phrased but it most likely has ties to Prefuse 73, Dabrye, Funkstorung, or edIT. Glitch and IDM had been around a good while before Glitch Hop started to appear. It was around 2001 where the sound really started to take shape with the early works of Prefuse 73 on Warp Records. 2004 was when things really took off when Conartist turned into edIT and released Crying Over Pros For No Reason.
Another thing that is worth mentioning about Glitch Hop is that it’s for the most part it’s played Live. This means that most people who play this music use controllers and actually manipulate and create these sounds on the fly. Essentially technology has allowed us to use all sorts of fun toys to create these live glitch remixes. There are many producers and DJs who actually create songs as they play with extended amounts of loops they’ve created before hand. There’s more of a performance element when it comes to glitch hop.
I’ve asked some people who play a major role directly or indirectly with the sound of Glitch / Glitch Hop what they thought Glitch Hop is. These are direct replies when I asked them “What is Glitch Hop”
“It’s bigger than just a music genre it’s an artform, yourself as the beat maker is turning digital sound techniques such as clicks / bleeps / bit crush reduction and many more methods into music.”
- Mussck(Pioneer in the Glitch sound)
“To me Glitch Hop is just another term for the latest form of evolved hip hop. Glitch Hop seems to be regionalized to the west coast of North America, and it is also quite popular in Australia. Other geographical locations have their own take on the sound. In England & LA they call it Wonky, In Scandinavia they call it Skweee, etc. Really it’s all just music, by labeling it we make it more accessible to those who don’t know about it. If a new artist emerges with a new sound that doesn’t quite fit in any existing (sub) genre, a journalist will come up with a name for it in their attempt to describe it. This is the same way the term Glitch Hop came about, as well as most genre titles from Rock to Dubstep.”
- Dewey Db(Founder of Glitch Hop Forum)
“Glitch hop get its roots from hip hop, obviously looking at its name. It’s a kid or a man- not a rap star or his ego- doing whatever the fuck they want with a what-would-be hip-hop beat. It’s taking the swagger of a rap beat and glitching / stuttering / repeating the shit out of it in an intelligent OR unintelligent way. It’s taking hiphop vocals and mashing them through a blender. It’s NOT tailoring a specific beat for kanye or jayZ, rather to embrace a dancefloor, impress your friends, or just for your own 2010 glitchy satisfaction. And oh yeah, it’s also about the bass. :)”
- Freddy Todd(Up and coming Glitch Hop Producer)
“‘glitch hop’ seems to be the most common name for a genre of music which involves electronic production, loud synthetic bass, a hiphop/crunk feel and often (but not necessarily) includes edgy music production techniques which are normally heard in IDM.
although predominantly heard at festivals and underground parties on the west coast of North America it has been gaining popularity in Europe, Australia and Asia lately.”
- ill gates(Master Glitch Hop Producer)
“Glitch is taking what most people would consider an error or a mistake and working it into something great sounding. Like distortion is to an electric guitar, glitch is to electronic production.”
- Kraddy(Master Glitch Hop Producer / Former member of The Glitch Mob)
“In a very narrow sense, the term “glitch-hop” could be interpreted as ‘mid-tempo, twisted hip-hop beat with distorted, heavy bass and acapellas’, but I rather see it as a tentative name which somehow stuck and is now wide-spread (relatively at least). It is rather directed outwards to encompass various music styles sometimes also referred to as: acquacrunk, turbo crunk, lazer bass, future blap, future beatz, street bass, heavy bass, wonky, hyphy, usually falling within the broader categories of IDM, EDM and recently, quite often flirting with dubstep”
- Docktor Krank(Runs highly respected Glitch Hop Blog)
“Glitch-Hop is like Hip Hop stuck into a blender whipped and then poured over layers of Bass lasagna and topped with a good heaping of Rave Synth Sauce and some 8-bit samples of Chucky Cheese Parmesan”
- Mochipet(Producer / Founder of Daly City Records)
“Glitch hop is hip hop based IDM, music heavy with bass and rich in provocative melodic contortions, chopped up samples and artfully designed combinations of ancient drum beats and futuristic sounds. Largely rejecting traditional instrumentation for erroneously produced noises not found in nature, glitch hop is the brash back-talking ethos of HELL YES, I’m pushing buttons- and look what it does to my dance floor. It is the musical representation of the post-modern void of a world in which we live that could end any second with the press of another kind of button. Glitch hop symbolizes the failure of technology and the debunking of the myth of progress. Progress will not save us- but dancing just might.”
- Shilo(Runs one of the most well known Glitch Hop/West Coast blogs on the web)
“I think glitch-hop in the most basic sense is just a geeky take on hip hop… splash some slowed down IDM patterns on some bass and add some weird sounds that someone might bob their head to and you’ve pretty much there.”
- Sugarpill(Up and coming Glitch Hop Producer)
“It’s slutty imo” “Well I’m drunk at some ho’s house. Write that down” “Glitch hop is about banging groupies till sunrise”
- Ben Samples(Up and coming Crunk Producer)
“I think Glitch-Hop is definitely more than just “bass” music by the very fact that it’s prefaced by the term “Glitch.” To me this genre has taken influence from a sort of “Glitch Design Philosphy,” which I interpret to be the act of exploiting any technology available for artistic gain; usually in ways different from the intended use of a particular technology being used. By virtue of the fact that this genre is explicitly influenced by Hip-Hop music, it is then only natural that it is also bass music.
For example, today I was browsing some tutorials from Tom Cosm that one of our bloggers, Binary Ally, had posted about how to make really fast rhythmically-sequenced pseudo-random fx automations. Even though Tom was accomplishing this through Ableton, I would say the techniques he used were clearly hacks in the sense that he exploited several routing/chaining features in a highly inventive way. He didn’t just go in and automate everything by hand, which would have probably taken on the order of days to accomplish, but instead accomplished this similar effect on the order of minutes. It’s truly boundary pushing stuff.”
- Scott Novich (Great Scott)(Founder of Glitch.fm)
Here are some clear examples of what Glitch Hop sounds like. BOOM!