Avant-pop is popular music that is experimental, new, and distinct from previous styleswhile retaining an immediate accessibility for the listener. The term implies a combination of avant-garde sensibilities with existing elements from popular music in the service of novel or idiosyncratic artistic visions.
"Avant-pop" has been used to label music which balances experimental or avant-garde approaches with stylistic elements from popular music, and which probes mainstream conventions of structure or form.Writer Tejumola Olaniyan describes "avant-pop music" as transgressing "the boundaries of established styles, the meanings those styles reference, and the social norms they support or imply." Music writer Sean Albiez describes "avant-pop" as identifying idiosyncratic artists working in "a liminal space between contemporary classical music and the many popular music genres that developed in the second half of the twentieth century." He noted avant-pop's basis in experimentalism, as well its postmodern and non-hierarchical incorporation of varied genres such as pop, electronica, rock, classical, and jazz.
Paul Grimstad of The Brooklyn Rail writes that avant-pop is music that "re-sequences" the elements of song structure "so that (a) none of the charm of the tune is lost, but (b) this very accessibility leads one to bump into weirder elements welded into the design."The Tribeca New Music Festival defines "avant-pop" as "music that draws its energy from both popular music and classical forms." The term has elsewhere been used by literary critic Larry McCaffery to describe "the most radical, subversive literary talents of the postmodern new wave."
In the 1960s, as popular music began to gain cultural importance and question its status as commercial entertainment, musicians began to look to the post-war avant-garde for inspiration. ' Jonathan Patrick calls a "seminal moment in both electronic music and avant-pop history [...] a collection of dreamy pop vignettes, adorned with dubby echoes and tape-warped sonic tendrils" which would be largely ignored at the time. Other early avant-pop productions included the Beatles's 1966 song "Tomorrow Never Knows", which incorporated techniques from musique concrète, avant-garde composition, Indian music, and electro-acoustic sound manipulation into a 3-minute pop format, and the Velvet Underground's integration of La Monte Young's minimalist and drone music ideas, beat poetry, and 1960s pop art.In 1959, music producer Joe Meek recorded I Hear a New World (1960), which Tiny Mix Tapes
In late 1960s Germany, an experimental avant-pop scene dubbed "krautrock" saw influential artists such as Kraftwerk, Can, and Tangerine Dream draw inspiration from free jazz, German academic music, and Anglo-American pop-rock. ' David McNamee, the 1968 album An Electric Storm , recorded by the electronic music group White Noise (featuring members from the U.K.’s BBC Radiophonic Workshop), is an "undisputed masterpiece of early avant-pop". In the 1970s, progressive rock and post-punk music would see new avant-pop fusions, including the work of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Henry Cow, This Heat, and the Pop Group. More contemporary avant-pop artists have included David Sylvian, Scott Walker, and Björk, whose vocal experimentation and innovative modes of expression have seen them move beyond norms of commercial pop music.According to The Quietus
Others who have been credited as avant-pop's pioneers include the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed,singer Kate Bush, performance artist Laurie Anderson, art pop musician Spookey Ruben, and Black Dice's Eric Copeland. As of 2017, contemporary artists working in avant-pop areas include Julia Holter, Holly Herndon and Oneohtrix Point Never.
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental music, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.
The avant-garde is a person or work that is experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It is frequently characterized by aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability.
Postmodern art is a body of art movements that sought to contradict some aspects of modernism or some aspects that emerged or developed in its aftermath. In general, movements such as intermedia, installation art, conceptual art and multimedia, particularly involving video are described as postmodern.
Ambient techno is a subgenre of techno that incorporates the atmospheric textures of ambient music with the rhythmic elements and production of techno. It was pioneered by 1990s electronic artists such as Aphex Twin, Carl Craig, the Black Dog, Pete Namlook and Biosphere.
Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences. Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the way it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas experimental music lies outside tradition.
Krautrock is a broad genre of experimental rock that developed in West Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s among artists who blended elements of psychedelic rock, avant-garde composition, and electronic music, among other eclectic sources. These artists explored hypnotic rhythms, extended improvisation, musique concrète techniques, and early synthesizers, while generally moving away from the rhythm & blues roots and song structure found in traditional Anglo-American rock music. Prominent groups associated with the krautrock label included Neu!, Can, Faust, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, Amon Düül II and Harmonia.
Experimental film or avant-garde cinema is a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms or alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working. Many experimental films, particularly early ones, relate to arts in other disciplines: painting, dance, literature and poetry, or arise from research and development of new technical resources.
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.
New York in the 1960s: Sun Blindness Music, better known as Sun Blindness Music, is an album by John Cale released in 2001. It is the first of a loose anthology of experimental albums recorded during Cale's tenure with the Theatre of Eternal Music during the mid-1960s.
Post-punk is a broad genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1970s as musicians departed from the raw simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock, instead adopting a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and non-rock influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with styles like funk, electronic music, jazz, and dance music; the production techniques of dub and disco; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. These communities produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.
Art pop is a loosely defined style of pop music influenced by art theories as well as ideas from other art mediums, such as fashion, fine art, cinema, and avant-garde literature. The genre draws on pop art's integration of high and low culture, and emphasizes signs, style, and gesture over personal expression. Art pop musicians may deviate from traditional pop audiences and rock music conventions, instead exploring postmodern approaches and ideas such as pop's status as commercial art, notions of artifice and the self, and questions of historical authenticity.
Avant-garde art and American pop culture have had an intriguing relationship from the time of the art form's inception in America to the current day. The art form, which began in the early half of the nineteenth century in Europe, started to rise slowly in America under the guise of Dadaism in 1915. While originally formed under a group of artists in New York City who wanted to counter pop culture with their art, music, and literature the art form began to grow into prominence with American pop culture due to a variety of factors between the 1940s to the 1970s. However, from many factors that arose in the late 1970s, avant-garde began to both lessen in prominence and began to blend with the pop culture to the point in which most art critics considered the art form extinct.
Experimental rock, also called avant-rock, is a subgenre of rock music that pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.
Experimental pop is pop music that cannot be categorized within traditional musical boundaries or which attempts to push elements of existing popular forms into new areas. It may incorporate experimental techniques such as musique concrète, aleatoric music, or eclecticism into pop contexts. Often, the compositional process involves the use of electronic production effects to manipulate sounds and arrangements, and the composer may draw the listener's attention specifically with both timbre and tonality, though not always simultaneously.
Hypnagogic pop is pop or psychedelic music that evokes cultural memory and nostalgia for the popular entertainment of the past. It emerged in the mid to late 2000s as American lo-fi and noise musicians began adopting retro aesthetics remembered from their childhood, such as radio rock, new wave pop, light rock, video game music, synth-pop, and R&B. Recordings circulated on cassette or Internet blogs and were typically marked by the use of outmoded analog equipment and DIY experimentation.
Electronic rock is a music genre that involves a combination of rock music and electronic music, featuring instruments typically found within both genres. It originates from the late 1960s, when rock bands began incorporating electronic instrumentation into their music. Electronic rock acts usually fuse elements from other music styles, including punk rock, industrial rock, hip hop, techno, and synth-pop, which has helped spur subgenres such as indietronica, dance-punk, and electroclash.
Hauntology is a music genre or a loosely defined stylistic feature that evokes cultural memory and aesthetics of the past. It developed in the 2000s primarily among British electronic musicians, and typically draws on British cultural sources from the 1940s to the 1970s, including library music, film and TV soundtracks, psychedelia, and public information films, often through the use of sampling.
Alina Astrova, who uses the recording alias Lolina, and previously Inga Copeland, is a Russian-born Estonian-raised experimental electronic musician and singer, living in London. She has released music on her own as well as with Dean Blunt, including but not limited to their project Hype Williams.