|Cultural origins||Late 1970s to 1980s, Europe, Japan and the United States|
Electronica encompasses a broad group of electronic-based styles such as techno, house, ambient, jungle and other electronic music styles intended not just for dancing.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States in the mid-to-late 1980s. The style resulted from the melding of African American styles such as Chicago house, funk, and electro with electronic music by artists such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Added to this is the influence of futuristic and science-fiction themes relevant to life in American late capitalist society, with Alvin Toffler's book The Third Wave being a notable point of reference, particularly Toffler's phrase "techno rebels." To producers such as Derrick May, the transference of spirit from the body to the machine is often a central preoccupation; essentially an expression of technological spirituality.
House music is a genre of electronic dance music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s. Early house music was generally characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, which preceded and influenced it, as both were DJ and record producer-created dance music, house was more electronic and minimalistic. The mechanical, repetitive rhythm of house was one of its main components. Many house compositions were instrumental, with no vocals; some had singing throughout the song with lyrics; and some had singing but no actual words.
In North America, in the late 1990s, the mainstream music industry adopted and to some extent manufactured electronica as an umbrella term encompassing styles such as techno, big beat, drum and bass, trip hop, downtempo, and ambient, regardless of whether it was curated by indie labels catering to the "underground" nightclub and rave scenes, [ original research? ] Nevertheless, the U.S.-based AllMusic still categorises electronica as a top-level genre, stating that it includes danceable grooves, as well as music for headphones and chillout areas.or licensed by major labels and marketed to mainstream audiences as a commercially viable alternative to alternative rock music. By the early 2010s, however, the industry abandoned electronica in favor of electronic dance music (EDM), a term with roots in academia and an increasing association with outdoor music festivals and relatively mainstream, post-rave electro house and dubstep music.
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.
Drum and bass is a genre and branch of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, sampled sources, and synthesizers.
Trip hop is a musical genre that originated in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom, especially Bristol. It has been described as "a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognizable", and may incorporate a variety of styles, including funk, dub, soul, psychedelia, R&B, and house, as well as other forms of electronic music. Trip hop can be highly experimental.
In other parts of the world, especially in the UK, electronica is also a broad term, but is associated with non-dance-oriented music, including relatively experimental styles of downtempo electronic music. It partly overlaps what is known chiefly outside the UK as intelligent dance music (IDM).[ citation needed ]
Intelligent dance music is a form of electronic music originating in the early 1990s, which was regarded as "cerebral" and better suited to "home listening" than dancing. Emerging from electronic and rave music styles such as Detroit techno, acid house, ambient music, and breakbeat, IDM tended to rely upon individualistic experimentation rather than adhering to characteristics associated with specific genres. Prominent artists associated with the genre include Aphex Twin, μ-Ziq, the Black Dog, the Orb, the Future Sound of London, Autechre, Luke Vibert, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares and Boards of Canada.
Electronica benefited from advancements in music technology, especially electronic musical instruments, synthesizers, music sequencers, drum machines, and digital audio workstations. As the technology developed, it became possible for individuals or smaller groups to produce electronic songs and recordings in smaller studios, even in project studios. At the same time, computers facilitated the use of music "samples" and "loops" as construction kits for sonic compositions.This led to a period of creative experimentation and the development of new forms, some of which became known as electronica.
Music technology is the study or the use of any device, mechanism, machine or tool by a musician or composer to make or perform music; to compose, notate, play back or record songs or pieces; or to analyze or edit music. The earliest known applications of technology to music was prehistoric peoples' use of a tool to hand-drill holes in bones to make simple flutes. Ancient Egyptians developed stringed instruments, such as harps, lyres and lutes, which required making thin strings and some type of peg system for adjusting the pitch of the strings. Ancient Egyptians also used wind instruments such as double clarinets and percussion instruments such as cymbals. In Ancient Greece, instruments included the double-reed aulos and the lyre. Numerous instruments are referred to in the Bible, including the horn, pipe, lyre, harp, and bagpipe. During Biblical times, the cornet, flute, horn, organ, pipe, and trumpet were also used. During the Middle Ages, music notation was used to create a written record of the notes of plainchant melodies.
A synthesizer or synthesiser is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound. Synthesizers may imitate traditional musical instruments such as piano, flute, vocals, or natural sounds such as ocean waves; or generate novel electronic timbres. They are often played with a musical keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other devices, including music sequencers, instrument controllers, fingerboards, guitar synthesizers, wind controllers, and electronic drums. Synthesizers without built-in controllers are often called sound modules, and are controlled via USB, MIDI or CV/gate using a controller device, often a MIDI keyboard or other controller.
A music sequencer is a device or application software that can record, edit, or play back music, by handling note and performance information in several forms, typically CV/Gate, MIDI, or Open Sound Control (OSC), and possibly audio and automation data for DAWs and plug-ins.
Electronica currently includes a wide variety of musical acts and styles,[ original research? ] linked by a penchant for overtly electronic production; a range which includes more popular acts such as Björk, Madonna, Goldfrapp and IDM artists such as Autechre, and Aphex Twin to dub-oriented downtempo, downbeat, and trip hop. Madonna and Björk are said[ by whom? ] to be responsible for electronica's thrust into mainstream culture, with their albums Ray of Light (Madonna), Post and Homogenic (Björk). Electronica artists that would later become commercially successful began to record in the late 1980s, before the term had come into common usage, including for example The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method, Moby, Underworld and Faithless. Electronica composers often create alternate versions of their compositions, known as "remixes"; this practice also occurs in related musical forms such as ambient, jungle, and electronic dance music. Wide ranges of influences, both sonic and compositional, are combined in electronica recordings.
Björk Guðmundsdóttir is an Icelandic singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and DJ. Over her four-decade career, she has developed an eclectic musical style that draws on a range of influences and genres spanning electronic, pop, experimental, classical, trip hop, IDM, and avant-garde music.
Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and for the imagery she uses onstage and in music videos. She has frequently reinvented her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Although having sparked controversy, her works have been praised by music critics. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.
In the US, New York City became one center of experimentation and growth for the electronica sound, with DJs and music producers from areas as diverse as Southeast Asia and Brazil bringing their creative work to the nightclubs of that city.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Around the mid-1990s, with the success of the big beat-sound exemplified by The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy in the UK, and spurred by the attention from mainstream artists, including Madonna in her collaboration with William Orbit on her album Ray of Lightand Australian singer Dannii Minogue with her 1997 album Girl , music of this period began to be produced with a higher budget, increased technical quality, and with more layers than most other forms of dance music, since it was backed by major record labels and MTV as the "next big thing".
According to a 1997 Billboard article, "the union of the club community and independent labels" provided the experimental and trend-setting environment in which electronica acts developed and eventually reached the mainstream. It cites American labels such as Astralwerks (The Future Sound of London, Fluke), Moonshine (DJ Keoki), Sims, and City of Angels (The Crystal Method) for playing a significant role in discovering and marketing artists who became popularized in the electronica scene.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, electronica music was increasingly used as background scores for television advertisements, initially for automobiles. It was also used for various video games, including the Wipeout series, for which the soundtrack was composed of many popular electronica tracks that helped create more interest in this type of music [ citation needed ] Then in 2011, Hyundai Veloster, in association with The Grammys, produced a project that became known as Re:Generation.—and later for other technological and business products such as computers and financial services.
Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness. The genre is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual", or "unobtrusive" quality.
Dream pop is a subgenre of alternative rock and neo-psychedelia that developed in the 1980s. The style is typified by a preoccupation with sonic texture and atmosphere as much as melody. It often overlaps with the related genre of shoegazing, and the two genre terms have at times been used interchangeably.
Jungle is a genre of electronic music derived from breakbeat hardcore that developed in England in the early 1990s as part of UK rave scenes. The style is characterized by fast tempos, breakbeats, dub reggae basslines, heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples, and synthesized effects. Long pitch-shifted snare rolls are common in old-school jungle. Jungle was a predecessor to drum and bass, a well-known genre of electronic music.
Ambient techno is a 1990s offshoot of techno and ambient music that united the atmospheric textures of ambient music with the melodic and rhythmic elements of techno and electro. It was pioneered by electronic artists such as Carl Craig, B12, Aphex Twin, the Black Dog, Higher Intelligence Agency, and Biosphere.
Glitch is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the 1990s. It has been described as a genre that adheres to an "aesthetic of failure," where the deliberate use of glitch-based audio media, and other sonic artifacts, is a central concern.
Tech house is a subgenre of house music that combines stylistic features of techno with house. The term tech house developed as a shorthand record store name for a category of electronic dance music that combined musical aspects of techno, such as "rugged basslines" and "steely beats," with the harmonies and grooves of house music. The music originally had a clean and minimal production style that was associated with techno from Detroit and the UK.
Happy hardcore, also known as happy rave or happycore, is a genre of hard dance typified by a very fast tempo, often coupled with solo vocals or sentimental lyrics. Its characteristically 4/4 beat "happy" sound distinguishes it from most other forms of hardcore, which tend to be "darker". It is typically in a major key. In its original incarnation, it was often characterized by piano riffs, synthetic stabs and spacey effects. This genre of music is closely related to the typically Dutch genre of gabber and the typically Spanish genre of makina. Happy hardcore evolved from breakbeat hardcore around 1991–1993, as the original house music-based rave became faster and began to include breakbeats, evolving into oldschool jungle which evolved into drum and bass. Some of the most famous artists of this genre include Brisk and Ham, Scott Brown, Force and Styles, Sy and Unknown, Hixxy, DJ Paul Elstak, Anabolic Frolic, Dune, Scooter, Critical Mass, Stu Allan, Vibes, Dougal, Slipmatt, DJ Sharkey, DJ Seduction.
Downtempo is a genre of electronic music similar to ambient music, but with a greater emphasis on beats and a less "earthy" sound than trip hop.
Hi-NRG is a genre of uptempo disco or electronic dance music (EDM) that originated in the United States during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Dance-pop is a popular music sub-genre that originated in the early 1980s. It is generally uptempo music intended for nightclubs with the intention of being danceable but also suitable for contemporary hit radio. Developing from a combination of dance and pop with influences of disco, post-disco and synth-pop, it is generally characterised by strong beats with easy, uncomplicated song structures which are generally more similar to pop music than the more free-form dance genre, with an emphasis on melody as well as catchy tunes. The genre, on the whole, tends to be producer-driven, despite some notable exceptions.
Progressive house is a style (subgenre) of house music. The progressive house style emerged in the early 1990s. It initially developed in the United Kingdom as a natural progression of American and European house music of the late 1980s.
Minimal techno is a minimalist subgenre of techno music. It is characterized by a stripped-down aesthetics that exploits the use of repetition and understated development. Minimal techno is thought to have been originally developed in the early 1990s by Detroit-based producers Robert Hood and Daniel Bell. By the early 2000s the term 'minimal' generally described a style of techno that was popularised in Germany by labels such as Kompakt, Perlon, and Richie Hawtin's M-nus, among others.
Balearic beat, also known as Balearic house, or simply Balearic initially is an eclectic blend of DJ-led dance music that emerged in the mid-1980s. It later became the name of a more specific style of electronic dance music that was popular into the mid-1990s. Balearic beat was named for its popularity among European nightclub and beach rave patrons on the Balearic island of Ibiza, a popular tourist destination. Some dance music compilations referred to it as "the sound of Ibiza," even though many other, more aggressive and upbeat forms of dance music could be heard on the island, such as Balearic trance.
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 (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 disc jockeys 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. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called 'dance music', or simply 'dance'.
Electronica is a broad term used to describe the emergence of electronic music that is geared for listening instead of strictly for dancing.
The glitch genre arrived on the back of the electronica movement, an umbrella term for alternative, largely dance-based electronic music (including house, techno, electro, drum'n'bass, ambient) that has come into vogue in the past five years. Most of the work in this area is released on labels peripherally associated with the dance music market, and is therefore removed from the contexts of academic consideration and acceptability that it might otherwise earn. Still, in spite of this odd pairing of fashion and art music, the composers of glitch often draw their inspiration from the masters of 20th century music who they feel best describe its lineage.
With record sales slumping and alternative rock presumed over, the music industry is famously desperate for a new movement to replace its languishing grunge product. And so its gaze has fixed on a vital and international scene of knob-twiddling musicians and colorfully garbed clubgoers—a scene that, when it began in Detroit discos ten years ago, was called techno. If all goes according to marketing plan, 1997 will be the year "electronica" replaces "grunge" as linguistic plague, MTV buzz, ad soundtrack, and runway garb. The music has been freshly installed in Microsoft commercials, in the soundtrack to Hollywood's recycled action-hero pic The Saint, and in MTV's newest, hourlong all-electronica program, Amp.