Tropical House Essentials
Tropical house isn’t so much a genre as a form of musical wish fulfillment—an attempt to bring a sense of beachside idyll dreamily to life. The pairing of house rhythms with balmy atmospheres dates to the '80s, when the after-hours scene in Ibiza birthed Balearic beat, an eclectic fusion of dance grooves and ethereal melodies. But contemporary tropical house arose in the early 2010s as a response to electronic music’s festival culture: The lazy tempos and wistful marimba melodies were the yang to big-room EDM’s hard-charging yin. Tropical house (sometimes known as “melodic house”) evolved as artists like Klingande, Lost Frequencies, and Felix Jaehn began layering acoustic instruments over laidback house beats, and it got a major push when Norway’s Kygo replaced an ailing Avicii on the main stage at Belgium’s Tomorrowland in 2014. From there, tropical accents became commonplace in pop and EDM, equally likely to be heard in the songs of Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, or Armin van Buuren.