In the ever-evolving world of electronic music, new micro-genres are continually emerging, shaping scenes and sounds in exciting ways. One such micro-genre is Stutter House, also known as Tremor, Tremolo or Flutter House.
Unlike some other subgenres or scenes, Stutter House is based around a distinctive production effect: a pulsating or stuttering vocal, lead or synth pad. And its popularity is largely down to London-based producer Fred Again. The producer is no slouch, being mentored by electronic legend Brian Eno and producing for top-tier acts such as Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and FKA Twigs.
However, the Stutter House sound is so closely associated with Fred Again, that his name is as synonymous with the genre as T-Pain is with Auto-Tune.
The technology behind Stutter House is nothing groundbreaking, but its simplicity is part of the appeal. Plug-ins like Cableguys Shaperbox and Xfer Records LFO Tool have popularised the stuttering or tremolo effect, making it incredibly easy for producers to recreate. There are also numerous production tutorials that have appeared in recent months explaining how to achieve the effect.
An Emerging Sound
Stutter House is gaining momentum as a micro-genre, with tracks like ‘Quiver’ by SILK, released three months ago by EMI, amassing over 10 million streams across streaming platforms to date.
But while Stutter House is garnering attention, there is debate as to whether it constitutes a distinct genre.
Jack Bridges, Senior Label Relations Manager at SoundCloud says: “I personally don’t think it’s a genre in itself. It’s more a moment in a set that can create a build-up, a peak, a change in direction or energy. Two or three tracks in a row are too much for a listener. When you hear a Fred Again set, even he’s not playing track after track of this chopped-up vocal sound, it’s interspersed.”
Equally, while this particular production effect is not strictly anything new, playlists are popping up left and right. And the sound is already permeating other genres – specifically Drum & Bass, with tracks such as Moonboy with ‘Need U’.
If you’re not sure where to start with Stutter House, here are six tracks to get you started.
Fred Again – ‘Marea (we’ve lost dancing)’ feat. The Blessed Madonna
This is undoubtedly one of the tracks that began the Stutter/Tremolo House sound. Released on Atlantic in February 2021, Fred Again and The Blessed Madonna’s collaboration helped crystallise the sonics that would become so familiar. Pay attention to the lead synth, which gets its gentle, wistful character from having a soft attack and tremolo effect.
SILK – ‘Quiver’
Released in December 2022, SILK’s ‘Quiver’ takes the stutter/tremolo sound to its logical conclusion – at least within the London-centric context of the micro-genre. Tremolo (volume modulation) is applied to any track that will allow it. Lead vocals, backing vocals and the off-beat synth pad on the intro are all given the Stutter/Tremolo House treatment. The Musiio tags also pick up more energetic and frantic tags and a significantly higher tempo, suggesting an evolution in the sound.
BUNT – ‘Clouds’
German electronic act BUNT (real name Levi Wijk) describes his music as Folk House, but that’s not stopped his track ‘Clouds’ from landing on several Stutter House playlists. Released in January 2023 on Arista/Sony Music, both the original track and a sped-up version have enjoyed success. From 0:39, the true stutter/tremolo effect is audible, and lends the ethereal, uplifting quality recognised by the Musiio tagging AI.
Forester – ‘All I Need’
Californian duo Forester bring an EDM edge to Stutter House in their track ‘All I Need’. Released on Palm Tree Records (a joint venture with Sony Music) in September 2022, the track throws sampled vocals, distorted guitars and laser guns at the production. This is certainly inspired by the European Stutter House sound but has less ethereal tremolo/flutter and more muscular galloping and production polish. Ideal for air-punches, not spaced-out nodding.
The Chainsmokers & Ship Wrek – ‘The Fall’
The Chainsmokers have billions of streams under their belts with EDM hits like ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and Coldplay collaboration ‘Something Just Like This’. The New York pair have teamed up with LA duo Ship Wrek and made a Stutter House banger in the process. Released in June 2022, the production is significant on account of its fluttering vocal pad intro. The use of tremolo that ramps up and down in speed has become another commonly-used sonic trait in other tracks. (See also, ‘The Last Goodbye’ by ODESZA).
TOM SANTA – ‘We Don’t Ever Stop’
Melbourne native Tom Santa is pushing the style in another direction again. Even though the track has the archetypal vocal stuttering, his kick drum pattern triggers our Breakbeat genre tag. And while it’s very possible that the production of ‘We Don’t Ever Stop’ (released October 2022) is a callback to Bicep’s ‘Glue’ (2017), it could equally be a stepping stone towards Drum & Bass’ adoption of the tremolo/stutter sound. Either way, we’re interested to hear what this Australian producer does next.
To learn more about other Corners of SoundCloud, check back on our blog next month. To learn more about our Music Intelligence Reports and how AI can supercharge your music catalogue, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.