Electronica

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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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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Psycho-delic trance?

Posted on 14 April, 2007. Filed under: Dance music, DJ, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronica, Goa, Goa trance, Music, Music Genre, Psychedelic trance, psytechno, psytrance, rave, Techno, Trance |

I was recently introduced to the musical stylings of Infected Mushroom. For years I had seen their posters and name splashed about the place, but I’d never actually heard anything of theirs.

Well! Have my eyes (or should I say, ears) been opened! And here I was thinking that all tech was becoming boringly progressive and all trance anthemic and blah.
Infected Mushroom
This Israeli psytrance duo sure know how to get your brain going and every sense working overtime to keep up. And then, just like that, they can bring it right back down with hypnotic vocals and sexy rhythms.

Track Details: Infected Mushroom – Tasty Mushroom

If you like that, try: Infected Mushroom – Release Me
For something a little different, try: Infected Mushroom – Avratz

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Tipper-licious

Posted on 12 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, Dance music, DJ, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, Music, Music Genre, nu skool breaks, remix, Techno |

Sometimes I wish I was a DJ. I find this feeling to be particularly strong when I go to a rave or a club and the DJ just keeps a song running and running and running… What I especially don’t like is when the MC goes “WHO WANTS A REWIIIIIND?!” And I’m like “NNNOOOOOOO!!!” But “reeooreeooreh!!!” and off the song goes again.

There has been one event, however, that was just incredible. I swear the DJ could read my emotions, ’cause just before I started to think “ok, I’m ready for a new song now”, he’d start working something even better in.

This DJ was none other than (the freakin’ amazing) Dave Tipper. He had me on the (good) proverbial edge his whooole set. Let’s just say that by the time I walked out of the club that night, I was ready to light-up then go to sleep!

Track Details: Tipper – Twister

If you like that, try: Grooverider – Where’s Jack the Ripper (Tipper rmx)

For something a little different, try: Tipper – Cable to Continue

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Just Noisia?

Posted on 9 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, happy hardcore, Hardcore, Music, remix, Techno |

I laaarv dark drum’n’bass. The more industrial-ey, grumble-ey, yum-ey the better. Especially if it uses a nicely broken beat (not just a slow doof-doof-dah-doof).

I ALSO love 80’s music, so when I came across this song (Eurythmics rmx by Noisia), I got excited.

At first, it just sounds like the original has been sped up. Enter the chipmunk vocals (aah dear, here I was expecting tasty dark drum’n’bass Noisia-styles and I’ve got a happy hardcore rmx).

FLASH BACK NOTE: remember those days when you’d put a record on your parents turntable and switch the speed up, just ’cause it sounded so funny and cool? Those Chipmunks could sing everything!

But that was just the intro. At 1:08 it fades back and you get ready for the wind-up. And at 1:29, well, that’s where my hair stands on end. THAT’s where the drum’n’bass kicks in… and boy is it tasty. Up and down synth-ey winds and thick drum beats… eek…

Not sure if I’d say this was a fantastic assimilation of the original though. You kind of get the feeling he just sped up the original, then put it together with a relatively generic dark dnb backing. But who cares?!?!?!?! I LIKE IT!!

Track Details: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Noisia Bootleg Remix)

If you like that, try: Jesus Jones – Zeros and Ones (Prodigy rmx)

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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…

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