Juhana Tikkanen

Chances are, you’ve heard many of these sounds countless times. Whether it’s the garbled chatter snipped from Masters at Work’s ‘The Ha Dance’ or the distorted TR-808 kick of Musical Mob’s ‘Pulse X’, these samples and synthesizer bleeps make up the architecture of modern dance music and are littered throughout SoundCloud and YouTube, often well outside of the genres, they emerged from.

There have always been examples of samples jumping genre boundaries, but in the last few years many of these sounds have experienced heavy use outside of their original context. Many of the oldest examples featured here were almost exclusively used within their original scene for decades, but the effect of the internet has widened the appeal of genre hallmarks.

Simply exposing more people to different types of music has resulted the diversifying of sound palettes within genres and the creation of new ones. And the influence of Jersey Club, with its emphasis on chops and cuts over traditionally composed musical elements, has encouraged a trend in sparser, sample-heavy tracks in the 2010s.

The ‘Ha’ Chant / Crash

This ubiquitous voice loop is often referred to as “Ha”, a reference to its use in the classic house composition of “Dance Ha” by Kenny Gonzalez and Louis Vega, also Masters at Work. The scandium itself is an example of Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd (black) shouting artificial African words in the 1983 comedy Shopping Places, and has long been a mainstay in post-1990s trendy tunes and contemporary soundtracks ballrooms palette.

The Eski Click / Clink / Stomp

The angular, low-biting “Eski” Willy sounds (shortening the Eskimos because the sounds were so cold) have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, fueled by a new interest in dirt. Unable to be from an old Nintendo Ice game, samples can actually be found in the factory pre-installed banks of the popular E-mu series of audio modules.

The Bed Squeak

While it may be difficult to determine the exact origin of the everyday sound effects, the “ri-ri” raincoat – which sits alongside drip swatches, “cocky” singing and Rye Rye vocal cuts in just about every production of SoundCloud Jersey – is not the case.

Trillville’s “Some Cut”, a real dirty southern heater made by none other than Lil John, opens with a familiar loop for making babies.

The ‘Witch Doktor’ Woo / The Yell

This popular exclamation, often associated with Arman Van Helden’s “The Witch Doctor,” is actually the powerful voice of Loleatti Holloway in her hit “Crash Goes Love.” The cry drew Gelden (and countless others) from the mix of “Yell Apella”. Despite the widespread use of this sample, it is hardly the only Holloway experience when its voice is “borrowed.” The black box hit of the Italian Black House used Holloway’s “Love Sensitivity” chapel, not counting it, and to add insult to injury, a French model named Catherine Quinole was hired to synchronize it live. As the track was recorded internationally, Holloway felt cheated and forgotten.


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