Alternative dance

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Alternative dance or indie dance[ citation needed ] (also referred to as underground dance in the US) [3] is a musical genre that mixes alternative rock with electronic dance music. Although largely confined to the British Isles, it has gained American and worldwide exposure through acts such as New Order in the 1980s and The Prodigy in the 1990s.

Contents

Characteristics

AllMusic states that alternative dance mixes the "melodic song structure of alternative and indie rock with electronic beats, synths and/or samples, and club orientation of post-disco dance music". [4] The Sacramento Bee calls it "postmodernEurosynthtechnopopNew Wave in a blender". [2]

The genre draws heavily on club culture for inspiration while incorporating other styles of music such as electropop, house, and EBM. The performers of alternative dance are closely identified with their music through a signature style, texture, or fusion of specific musical elements. [4] They are usually signed to small record labels. [5]

History

1980s–90s

Many of the alternative dance artists are British, "owing to the greater prominence of the UK's club and rave scenes in underground musical culture". New Order are cited by Allmusic as the genre's first group because of their 1982–83 recordings, which merged post-punk with electro/synth pop in the style of German group Kraftwerk. Alternative dance had a major impact on Britain's late-1980s Madchester scene (adapted from Manchester, New Order's home city) and 1990s trip hop and rave scenes. [4] The Haçienda club in Manchester, founded by New Order and Factory Records, became the hub of the genre in 1980s Britain. [6]

The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers are prominent examples of British artists [7] [8] in the post-Madchester-era, who crossed over from the dance music world to alternative, [9] with most of their releases falling under the big beat music genre in the mid 1990s. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] Of the three acts, The Prodigy had the first international alternative dance hit when their third studio album The Fat of the Land debuted at number one in 25 countries, including the US, in 1997. [7] Also finding international success in the 1990s was Icelandic musician Björk, a former member of indie band The Sugarcubes, whose solo albums Debut and Post , incorporated alternative dance elements and featured production from artists like Tricky, Howie B and 808 State's Graham Massey. [16]

In the US, Chicago's Liquid Soul to San Francisco's Dubtribe expanded dance music "beyond its old identity as a singles-driven genre with no identifiable, long-term artists". [3] The American scene rarely received radio airplay and most of the innovative work continued underground or was imported. [5]

2000s–present

As computer technology and music software became more accessible and advanced at the start of the 21st century, bands tended to forgo traditional studio production practices. High quality music was often conceived using little more than a single laptop computer. Such advances led to an increase in the amount of home-produced electronic music, including alternative dance, available via the Internet. [17] According to BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, part of the strength of the scene in the new millennium was "the sense of community"; she noted, "Websites, blogs and MySpace pages all get people talking about records and checking out each other's recommendations. It's not like the old club scene, where these established DJs dictated what would be big. Word-of-mouth is so important now." [18]

In the early 2000s, the term "electroclash" was used to denote artists such as Fischerspooner and Ladytron who mixed new wave with electronic music. The Electroclash festival was held in New York in 2001 and 2002, with subsequent tours across the US and Europe in 2003 and 2004. [19] In the mid-2000s, the British music magazine NME popularised the term "new rave" ("new wave" and "rave") to describe the music of bands such as Klaxons, whose rock aesthetic includes paraphernalia from the 1990s rave scene such as glowsticks and neon lights. [20]

Related Research Articles

Rave Dance party

A rave describes a dance party at a warehouse, public or private property, typically featuring performances by DJs playing electronic dance music. The style is most associated with the early 90s dance music scene when DJs played at illegal events in musical styles dominated by electronic dance music from a wide range of sub-genres, including techno, hardcore, house, dubstep, and alternative dance. Occasionally live musicians have been known to perform at raves, in addition to other types of performance artists such as go-go dancers and fire dancers. The music is amplified with a large, powerful sound reinforcement system, typically with large subwoofers to produce a deep bass sound. The music is often accompanied by laser light shows, projected coloured images, visual effects and fog machines.

Electronica is both a broad group of electronic-based music styles intended for listening rather than strictly for dancing and a music scene that started in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the term is mostly used to refer electronic music generally.

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock or "guitar pop rock". In the 1980s, the use of the term "indie" started to shift from its reference to recording companies to describe the style of music produced on punk and post-punk labels. During the 1990s, grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream, and the term "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained dedicated to their independent status. By the end of the 1990s, indie rock developed several subgenres and related styles, including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, slowcore, post-rock, and math rock. In the 2000s, changes in the music industry and a growing importance of the internet enabled a new wave of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.

Electroclash is a genre of music that fuses 1980s electro, new wave and synth-pop with 1990s techno, retro-style electropop and electronic dance music. It emerged in the later 1990s and is often thought of as reaching its peak circa 2002/2003. It was pioneered by and associated with acts such as I-F, Miss Kittin and The Hacker, and Fischerspooner.

Alternative rock is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream or commercial rock or pop music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music.

Madchester was a musical and cultural scene that developed in the English city of Manchester in the late 1980s, closely associated with the indie-dance scene. Indie-dance saw artists merging indie music with elements of acid house, psychedelia and 1960s pop. The term Madchester was coined by Factory Records' Tony Wilson, with the label popularised by the British music press in the early 1990s, and its most famous groups include the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, the Charlatans, James and 808 State. It is widely seen as being heavily influenced by drugs, especially MDMA. At that time, the Haçienda nightclub, co-owned by members of New Order, was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the Second Summer of Love.

Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1980s built on the post-punk and new wave movements, incorporating different sources of inspiration from subgenres and what is now classed as world music in the shape of Jamaican and Indian music. It also explored the consequences of new technology and social change in the electronic music of synthpop. In the early years of the decade, while subgenres like heavy metal music continued to develop separately, there was a considerable crossover between rock and more commercial popular music, with a large number of more "serious" bands, like The Police and UB40, enjoying considerable single chart success. The advent of MTV and cable video helped spur what has been seen as a Second British Invasion in the early years of the decade, with British bands enjoying more success in America than they had since the height of the Beatles' popularity in the 1960s. However, by the end of the decade a fragmentation has been observed, with many new forms of music and sub-cultures, including hip hop and house music, while the single charts were once again dominated by pop artists, now often associated with the Hi-NRG hit factory of Stock Aitken Waterman. The rise of the indie rock scene was partly a response to this, and marked a shift away from the major music labels and towards the importance of local scenes like Madchester and subgenres, like gothic rock.

Dance-punk is a post-punk subgenre that emerged in the late 1970s, and is closely associated with the post-disco and new wave movements.

Baggy was a name given to a British indie-dance genre popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with many of the artists referred to as "baggy" being bands from the Madchester scene.

Candy Flip were a British electronic music duo from Stoke on Trent, who were associated with the indie dance music scene in the early 1990s. They are best remembered for their cover version of the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever", which was a No. 3 hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1990.

Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1990s continued to develop and diversify. While the singles charts were dominated by boy bands and girl groups, British soul and Indian-based music also enjoyed their greatest level of mainstream success to date, and the rise of World music helped revitalise the popularity of folk music. Electronic rock bands like The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers began to achieve a high profile. Alternative rock reached the mainstream, emerging from the Madchester scene to produce dream pop, shoegazing, post rock and indie pop, which led to the commercial success of Britpop bands like Blur and Oasis; followed by a stream of post-Britpop bands like Travis and Feeder.

Electronic dance music broad category of electronic music

Electronic dance music (EDM), also known as dance music, club music, or simply dance, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix, by segueing from one recording to another. EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA.

Psychedelic music is a wide range of popular music styles and genres influenced by 1960s psychedelia, a subculture of people who used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and DMT to experience visual and auditory hallucinations, synesthesia and altered states of consciousness. Psychedelic music may also aim to enhance the experience of using these drugs.

New rave is a genre of music described by The Guardian as "an in-yer-face, DIY disco riposte to the sensitive indie rock touted by bands like Bloc Party." It is most commonly applied to a British-based music scene between 2005 and late 2008 of fast-paced electronica-influenced indie music that celebrated the late 1980s Madchester and rave scenes through the use of neon colours and using the term 'raving' to refer to going nightclubbing.

German electronic music is a broad musical genre encompassing specific styles such as Electroclash, trance, krautrock and schranz. It is widely considered to have emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, becoming increasingly popular in subsequent decades. Originally minimalistic style of electronic music developed into psychedelic and prog rock aspects, techno and electronic dance music. Notable artists include Kraftwerk, Can, Tangerine Dream and Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft. German electronic music contributed to a global transition of electronic music from underground art to an international phenomenon, with festivals such as Love Parade, Winterworld and MayDay gaining prominence alongside raves and clubs.

Electronics in rock music

The use of electronic music technology in rock music coincided with the practical availability of electronic musical instruments and the genre's emergence as a distinct style. Rock music has been highly dependent on technological developments, particularly the invention and refinement of the synthesizer, the development of the MIDI digital format and computer technology.

Big beat is an electronic music genre that usually uses heavy breakbeats and synthesizer-generated loops and patterns – common to acid house/techno. The term has been used by the British music industry to describe music by artists such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Propellerheads, Cut La Roc, Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada.

The Prodigy English electronic dance music group

The Prodigy are an English electronic punk, electronic dance music band from Braintree, Essex, formed in 1990 by keyboardist and songwriter Liam Howlett. The band's line-up has included MC and vocalist Maxim, dancer and vocalist Keith Flint, dancer and live keyboardist Leeroy Thornhill, and dancer and vocalist Sharky (1990–1991). Along with the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy are credited as pioneers of the breakbeat-influenced genre big beat, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s. Howlett's rock-inspired drum rhythms infused with electronic rave music beats/breaks were combined with Maxim's omnipresent mystique, Thornhill's shuffle dancing style and Flint's modern punk appearance.

References

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