Electronic Music Genres

Dance the new Pop?

Posted on 26 January, 2009. Filed under: Dance music, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, electropop, Music, Music Genre, synthpop |

Today I listened to Triple J’s Hottest 100 – basically an Australian radio show where they play the top 10 “alternative”  songs of the previous year as voted by the public.

Previously, the top 100 was predominately rock and alternative – it was the staple alternative to mainstream commercial radio.

This year, not only were a large number of songs in the top 100 pop, but a large portion of them were electropop or some variation of electro/hip-hop.

For examply, artists that featured (sometimes multiple times) in the top 25 included Cut Copy (electropop), The Presets (technopop), Pnau (electronic/pop), The Herd (electro/hip hop).

Why does there appear to be such an increase in the mainstream/commercial appearance of electronic artists? Have artists like Pendulum and Fat Boy Slim crossed a divide?

Or has the separation between the worlds of commercial and electronic music just been a figment of my imagination? Maybe I’m harboring some sort of elitist ideals when it comes to electronic music and the commercial tainting of it.

Hmmmm – maybe I need to work on that…

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Dance Music Streams

Posted on 17 August, 2008. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, chillout, Dance music, Disco, DJ, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electro House, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, eurodance, funky house, Goa, Goa trance, Hardcore, hardcore music, hardcore techno, Hardstyle, House, house music, lounge, minimal, minimal electronica, minimal house, Music, Music Genre, progressive, Progressive House, Psychedelic trance, psytrance, Trance, tribal house, Uncategorized, vocal trance |

Listening to radio streams of the latest music is a great way to discover new songs and artists. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a little difficult to figure out the name of a song in a big stream, particularly when there is no compere involved.

Well, to solve that problem, I recently came across a site that streams radio stations from around the world AND provides a full listing of all the tracks – it’s called 3FL Radio.

The section I am most interested in at the moment is the list of Digitally Imported streams. Digitally Imported is a site that streams electronic dance radio music from around the world. It has different streams for different styles, which makes it great for both getting to know a style and for listening to what’s currently happening with a particular style. Some of their streams include:

  • Breaks
  • Chillout
  • DJ Mixes
  • Drum and Bass
  • Electro House
  • Eurodance
  • Funky House
  • Goa Psy Trance
  • Hardcore
  • Hard Dance
  • Hardstyle
  • House
  • Lounge
  • Minimal
  • Progressive
  • Trance
  • Tribal House
  • Vocal Trance
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Educational Remix

Posted on 13 May, 2008. Filed under: chillout, Dance music, dub, Dubstep, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, hard trance, house music, Music, Music Genre, rave, remix, Techno, Trance, Uncategorized |

Understanding the unique components of a style of electronic or dance music can be pretty hard, especially if you aren’t familiar with many (or any) other styles of electronic music.

For me, one of the easiest ways to figure out what makes a particular style is by comparison. I listen to a song I know well (particularly something not electronic or dancey) then listen to a remixed version of it.

For example, one non-dance song I was really into in the mid-90’s was a song by Arkarna, called ‘The Future’s Overrated’. Due to my lack of fundage at the time, all I could afford was the single. A few singles of this song came out, each with a few different remixes – my favourite being Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix.

Around this time, I wasn’t particularly familiar with many styles of electronic music. I knew basic tech and listened to the more commercial stuff like Snap, C&C Music Factory, The Prodigy etc etc. I hadn’t come across much progressive electro trance stuff. This remix was a great intro. It helped pique my interest in those styles and was the start of my journey in to chill-out and trance.

Knowing the original version helped highlight the slower, more atmospheric sound of trance, as well as the synthetic beat/tune sounds and resonating, floatey vocals. *sigh* Beeeeyaddaful…

Track details: Arkarna – The Future’s Overrated (Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix)

Also have a listen to:
Justin Timberlake – My Love (RYF Dubstep Remix)
Beverly Hills Cop – Axel F (Hard Trance Remix)

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The GodMOTHER of drum & bass?

Posted on 22 May, 2007. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, Hardcore, jungle, Music, Techno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

You know, the more you delve in to the history of different electronic genres, the more suprises you’re likely to find. I love it!

As with most things, electronic music genres are dominated by male artists. I can think of only 4 female’s right off the top of my head, and only 1 of those is probably known throughout the majority of dance music circles (excluding hip hop, rap etc, not that I’d class those as dance).

But I would just like to make special mention here of one. One that has had much more of an impact on electronic music (particularly jungle, drum’n’bass, breaks) than most realise.

The thing with DJs is that they can be hard to keep track of. Particularly in jungle and drum’n’bass, few DJs use their real names. And if they happen to partner up with someone else or enter a new genre, they’ll use a new name (check out the AKA’s for Roni Size and Dillinja, for example).

ANYWAY! The person I want to mention is none other than DJ Rap (aka. Charissa Saverio). If I could be anyone, this is who I’d pick.DJ Rap
Not only is she beautiful (so much so she was approached by CK), but she’s also a fantastic muso, is quite intelligent (almost became a lawyer) AND can sing!

Under her own name (well, the DJ Rap name) she’s produced lots of fantastic music. But under OTHER names, she has produced some tunes that have come to represent a genre and an era.

Anyone who’s had any contact with jungle or oldskool will recognise the tune ‘Spiritual Aura’ (if the name doesn’t ring a bell, the tune certainly will). Remember ‘Tibetan Jungle’? ‘Digable Bass’?

All of these songs are seminal works within their genre, all produced under DJ Rap or the artist name of Engineers Without Fears, of which DJ Rap was half of.

Who was the other half? Well, it was another top talent in their field, Aston Harvey (half of what is otherwise known as The Freestylers).

So next time you’re listening to a track, and something about it reminds you of some other artist, take a squiz at who actually wrote it, and you might just discover yet another alter ego for your hero.

Track Details: Engineers without Fears – Spiritual Aura

If you like that, have a listen to: DJ Rap – Tibetan Jungle
Also try: DJ Rap – Good to be Alive

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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

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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

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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!

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Wisp-ey atmospheres

Posted on 24 April, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, Music, remix, Techno | Tags: , , , , |

Even when I need to relax, I don’t like listening to ‘technically boring’ songs. By that I mean, songs where very little happens, there are very few layers, there are no rhythmic changes etc etc.

But every brain needs a little down time. Or, in my case, something to distract it enough to be able to wind down and rock it gently in to (hopefully) some form of temporary oblivion.

A song that does this really well for me is the Wisp remix of Aphex Twin’s ‘Rhubarb’. It’s an awesome mix of relaxing, atmospheric ambient with an Omni-Trio-esque jungle rhythm mixed in. There are no sudden loud noises to jar you back in to reality, just smooth, groovy ambience.

Track Details: Aphex Twin – rhubarb (Wisp 1159 mix)

If you like that, try: Aphex Twin – lichen (Wisp 1136 mix)

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Calyx – Moving through the Shadows

Posted on 24 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Music, Music Genre, Techno |

If you were hanging around the drum’n’bass scene around 05-06, you more than likely heard a couple of songs by Calyx. If you were listening to the darker sounds in drum’n’bass, it’s even MORE likely that you heard some of his tunes.

Personally, I love the stuff this guy (Larry Cons) has been putting out. I don’t think I have found one song I don’t like. Sure some are better than others, but on a whole, it’s a hearty two thumbs up from me.

What I love even MORE though, is Moving Shadow. They are one of the record labels that have truly done a massive favour for the drum’n’bass and jungle collective. What I’m talking about are their MS sampler series. It is through these that I have discovered numerous new (and fantastic) drum’n’bass artists and been able revisit old ones. What makes them even better is that they’re SO CHEAP!! On average, you pay around AU$12 per CD, and they are top quality production-wise.

It was through MS05.2 that I came across Calyx. At the moment, I would say this album is one of my all time drum’n’bass favourites. It’s got everything I love about drum’n’bass in it. The sexy rhythms, the dark deep and grumbly bass lines, the occasional vocals, the industrial grunt that is still smooth and groovable. GAH! I’m gonna need a cold shower soon.

Track Details: Calyx – Tearing Us Apart

If you like that, try: Corrupt Souls – Trioxin
Or have a go of: Future Prophecies – Concrete Combat

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Electronic Music Genre UPDATE

Posted on 14 April, 2007. Filed under: Dance music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, Music, Music Genre |

Just a quick note to let you know I have updated the list of Electronic Music Genres.

There are a couple of genres on the list I’m not too familiar with, but I had seen them referenced in a couple of different places, so added them anyway.

They are split up according to the 14 most general areas of dance music today. Ofcourse, 10, 5, even 1 year ago, some of these genres didn’t exist. Soon I will be adding a page describing when each of the primary genres appeared and then attempt to break it down further from there. Just a little fine-tuning needed.

Stay funky!

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