Down Tempo

Intelligent Dance Music?

Posted on 17 May, 2007. Filed under: braindance, Dance music, DJ, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, glitch, IDM, intelligent dance music, minimal, Music, Music Genre, Techno | Tags: , , , , , |

Who coined the term “Intelligent Dance Music”?
(sidenote: and what do coins have to do with words?!)

Personally, I think it’s a bit of a misrepresentation of the style.

“Intelligent dance music (commonly known as IDM) is a genre of electronic music derived from dance music of the 1980s and early 1990s which puts an emphasis on novel processing and sequencing. Music referred to as IDM is generally abstract, and may range from soft ambient textures to more abrasive noise.”

What is the “intelligent” part referring to? I’ve seen one definition of it saying that it’s music that moves not only the body, but the mind too. I’ve also read within a sentence of that quote that IDM is “typically, very difficult to dance to”. So it doesn’t move the body, but it does the mind?

This style of music is often very difficult to process by mainstream listeners. I know the first time I heard Aphex Twin, I was kinda freaked out. And Bjork (both of whom were once or are placed within the genre of IDM).

Actually, I think I just answered my own question.
If we look back over the artists who were placed within the IDM genre, you see that alot of them pioneered new styles and/or techniques in the electronic field.

Also, the term ‘mainstream’ usually refers to something that appeals to the lowest common social denominator, so it makes sense that ‘mainstream’ listeners would find it difficult to listen to.

I liked this quote…

“A loaded term meant to distinguish electronic music of the ’90s and later that’s equally comfortable on the dancefloor as in the living room, IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) eventually acquired a good deal of negative publicity, not least among the legion of dance producers and fans whose exclusion from the community prompted the question of whether they produced stupid dance music.” — All Music Guide

Alot of the IDM I’ve heard over time has been quite ‘avant-garde’ – something new and a little… out there? Maybe the original IDM-ers used the term IDM as a protection when first releasing their music to the electronic massive.

“Man, that’s some warped, mixed up sheet right there.”
“Nah man, that’s Intelligent Dance Music.”
“Oh, then that was well wikkid brah!”

“As the idiom developed, the music became more and more about the novelty of certain sounds and treatments, ridiculously trivial aspects like tempo and choice of samples, and the public personae of the makers. It became a race to novelty. I find that kind of evolution beneath triviality. It is a decorative, not substantive, evolution.” — Journalist and Electrical Audio recording engineer Steve Albini

IDM has also been referred to as “Braindance”, and I think that kind of fits the style more. Or maybe “Brainseizure”.

But then again, it could just all be down to marketing.

“I hate IDM and its elitist champions. It makes the music sound so much more than it actually is. It’s a label invented by PR companies who need catchphrases. I like sounds, but hate what people attach to sounds.” — Kid 606

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )

Come to Aphex Twin!

Posted on 17 May, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, beats, breaks, chillout, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Down Tempo, downtempo, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, experimental, House, house music, IDM, industrial, Music, Music Genre, Psychedelic trance, psytechno, psytrance, rave, Techno | Tags: , , , , , |

Have you ever had one of those days, where everything that comes up on your playlist reminds you of one particular artist? Like…
“oh, that beat reminds me of artist X”.
“Hey that sound reminds me of artist X”.
“Wait, I’m sure artist X has a few tunes like that”.

Well, over this last weekend alot of the tunes I’ve been listening to seem to remind me of (that wacky Irish camper himself) Aphex Twin. Yet I haven’t listened to one actual Aphex Twin song in months!
Richard David James - Aphex Twin

What I have been listening to though is a variety of jungle, hardcore, drum’n’bass, ambient and psytrance. Could it really be that Aphex Twin sounds like all of these?

One of the artists I listened to was Boards of Canada. They have that kind of ambient, IDM, experimental feel to them. And they are all words that you can definately apply to Aphex Twin (Selected Ambient Works?).

I also listened to some of The Knife, that Swedish synthpop pair who have some pretty warped sounds, with hints of mainstreaminess. Hmm, also Aphex Twin-ey (Richard D. James?).

And finally, there was some good ol’ Infected Mushroom. To me, there are some very similar beats, rhythms and mix-ups between the two.

You know, I think I may even go so far as to say, a journey through Aphex Twin is a journey through a vast array of electronic music styles.

Track Details: Aphex Twin – Window Licker
Track Details: Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy
Track Details: The Knife – Like a Pen

If you like those, try: Aphex Twin – Digeridoo
Aphex Twin – Polynomial-C
Boards of Canada – Music is Math
Boards of Canada – Kid for Today
The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health
The Knife – Heartbeats

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Electronic Music Genre UPDATE 2 

Posted on 29 April, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, Breakbeat, Disco, Down Tempo, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, Hardcore, House |

Just quickly letting you know that I have updated a few of the ‘Electronic Music Genre‘ pages, namely Ambient, Breakbeat, Disco, Downtempo, Electro, Electronic Art Music, Hardcore and House.

Some of the information on these pages is very brief, but I will be updating everything continuously. In the mean time, continue to check out all the related blog posts.

The rest of the genres will be covered shortly, so don’t forget to check up regularly!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Leftfield – genre mashup

Posted on 25 March, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, beats, Dance music, Down Tempo, downtempo, dub, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, House, house music, Music, Music Genre, progressive, Techno |

During dinner a little while ago, I dragged out Leftfield‘s Leftism album. I love it. It particularly suits any down tempo kind of activity (eg. dinner, study, sleep, work).

Anyway, I was asked what genre it was. Well, at first I thought ‘down tempo/tech’. But then again, it’s kind of ‘dub-ey’. And is ‘down tempo’ even used any more? Isn’t it more ‘ambient’?

Well, here is how the style of Leftfield has been described:

“Electronica artists who were pioneers in the field of intelligent dance music and progressive house. Were the first to fuse house, dub and reggae. Their down tempo style inspired the genre recognised purely as ‘leftfield’ (also known as ‘chillout’).

The album Leftism is said to be a blend of dub, breakbeat, and techno especially called “UK-dub”.

Laaarvley! I realise it’s probably a bit of an ask (and a slack-arsed one at that) to have each artist fit nicely in to a specific genre, but what I WOULD like to have are set specs for the styles – something universal and consistent.

In the meantime, I guess I’m just going to have to sit back and enjoy. Oh, it’s a hard life…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

  • For all your electronic music qualms and queries!

    Come inside, have a look around!

    The aim of this space is to create a (relatively) comprehensive framework for electronic music - its development and evolution.

    I hope YOU will contribute with questions, random bits of info and opinions.

  • Stuck for a style? Let me know!
  • Have I missed something? Add it in!
  • Does my opinion seem completely warped? Flip it 'round!
  • Basically, in the words of a very wise and noble group of artists...

    "EVERY BODY DANCE NOW!!!"

  • Twitten’ On

  • Operation: Evolution of Electronic Music

  • Liked it here?
    Why not try sites on the blogroll...