Intelligent Dance Music

Intelligent dance music (commonly 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. IDM’s roots in electronic dance are responsible for the term “Dance” in the genre name, which was originally applied to musicians like Aphex Twin and those on the Warp Records label. Music referred to as IDM is generally abstract, and may range from soft ambient textures to more abrasive noise.

Tempo in IDM varies from quite slow in downtempo IDM to very fast in breakcore-derived styles, with most pieces lying between 100 and 140 beats per minute. Drum sequences tend to be complex, with some artists incorporating disorienting rhythmic figures such as obscured downbeats.

Stylistic origins: drum and bass, ambient, house, techno, hip hop, UK garage, jazz, musique concrète and avant-garde

Notable labels: Warp Records

Notable artists: (varies according to your idea of IDM) Autechre, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Future Sound of London, Leftfield, Nobukazu Takemura, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis

Mothgg – “IDM is a more abstract version of EBM, and less dancey more breakdowns”

cityscapes – “IDM is a style of music that was named to be distinguished from EBM. The main differences between EBM and IDM are:
1. Beat speed: IDM is never more than 130bpm whilst EBM can go up to 145bpm
2. The use of evolving drum kit sections opposed to the 4/4 snare on 2 of EBM
3. Subtle variations opposed to in your face textures, riffs, etc”

Audiogalaxy – “defies rhythmic convention, squelched beats, jagged synth lines, static washes, electrical shorts, difficult to dance to”

Allmusic Guide – “eerie, cold, circular, restrained, cerebral, nocturnal, detached, ethereal, hypnotic, wintry, and clinical”

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