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djchameleon 08-03-2009 04:51 AM

Electronic Education Thread
I had to fix this grave error. I went looking for one and couldn't find one so I decided to do a little research. I will come back and edit it with suggestions from members that know other sub genres that i'm not familiar with.

Reaching back to grab the grooves of '70s disco/funk and the gadgets of electronic composition, Electronic soon became a whole new entity in and of itself, spinning off new sounds and subgenres with no end in sight two decades down the pike. Its beginnings came in the post-disco environment of Chicago/New York and Detroit, the cities who spawned house and techno (respectively) during the 1980s. Later that decade, club-goers in Britain latched onto the fusion of mechanical and sensual, and returned the favor to hungry Americans with new styles like jungle/drum'n'bass and trip-hop. Though most all early electronic was danceable, by the beginning of the '90s, producers were also making music for the headphones and chill-out areas as well, resulting in dozens of stylistic fusions like ambient-house, experimental techno, tech-house, electro-techno, etc. Typical for the many styles gathered under the umbrella was a focus on danceable grooves, very loose song structure (if any), and, in many producers, a relentless desire to find a new sound no matter how tepid the results.

During the early 2000s, garage rap grew as an unavoidable mutation of 2-step garage, with the role of the MC elevated from support to star. Groups like So Solid Crew, Pay as U Go Cartel, Dem Lott and Nasty Crew (molded in part in the image of rap crews in the U.S.) surfaced as the popularity of the relatively R&B-based garage scene waned in popularity, but one-man-group the Streets was the style's biggest star. Grime, garage rap's younger sibling, was relatively jagged and aggressive - it's where the legacies of hardcore rap and hardcore techno collide -- and is sometimes downright punishing. Though Dizzee Rascal became a breakout star and received moderate print exposure in the U.S. during 2003 and 2004, the style thrived on white label releases and was best documented by the Run the Road compilation.

Examples : Sway , Kano, Dizzee Rascal, The Streets

Broken Beat
More a scene centered in West London than an easily fenced-in sound, broken beat looks as far back to '70s Jazz-Funk and Dub Reggae while also containing germs from '80s and '90s movements like house, techno, drum'n'bass, and contemporary R&B. Unlike the polite tendencies of acid jazz -- a movement of the '80s and '90s that also blended several styles -- broken beat takes its inspirations as mere launching points and often utilizes frenetic, syncopated beat structures that sound sputtery and stuttered more often than they sound straightforward. Vocalists, predominantly female, feature in many of the tracks, all of which are bold, bright, and -- for the most part -- full of rhythmic tension. Keyboards are another major factor, often taking cues from the likes of George Duke and Herbie Hancock. Immediately after its late-'90s germination, broken beat underwent a fast growth throughout West London. Several labels (2000 Black, Bitasweet, People, Co-Op, Laws of Motion, Main Squeeze) were started by producers -- producers who often worked under several aliases. The fact that the scene was heavily reliant upon collaborations made the style's family tree all the more difficult to diagram. Outposts have since developed in several other countries, including Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.


Ambient music evolved from the experimental electronic music of '70s synth-based artists like Brian Eno and Kraftwerk, and the trance-like techno dance music of the '80s. Ambient is a spacious, electronic music that is concerned with sonic texture, not songwriting or composing. It's frequently repetitive and it all sounds the same to the casual listener, even though there are quite significant differences between the artists. Ambient became a popular cult music in the early '90s, thanks to ambient-techno artists like the Orb and Aphex Twin.

Examples: Orbital, The Orb, Shplonge, Groove Armada


Dubstep is a genre of electronic music that has its roots in London's early 2000s UK garage scene. Musically, dubstep is distinguished by its 2step rhythm, or use of snare sounds similar to 2step garage and grime, and an emphasis on bass, often producing "dark" sounds, but just as frequently producing sounds reminiscent of dub reggae or funky US garage. Dubstep tracks are generally produced at a tempo of around 140 beats per minute and in recent years have developed signature half time rhythms, often heavily shuffled or syncopated, and usually, though not exclusively, including only one snare drum hit per bar, often on the third beat. Such factors make dubstep rhythms markedly different from four-to-the-floor rhythms used in other styles of electronic dance music such as house music, which usually have two snare hits accompanying the second and fourth kick drum. Often, the sense of rhythm in dubstep is propelled more by the bassline than by the percussive content.
The earliest dubstep releases, which date back to 1999, were darker, more experimental, instrumental dub remixes of 2-step garage tracks attempting to incorporate the funky elements of breakbeat, or the dark elements of drum and bass into 2-step, which featured as B-sides of single releases. In 2001, this and other strains of dark garage music began to be showcased and promoted at London's club night Forward>>, which went on to be considerably influential to the development of dubstep. The term "dubstep" in reference to a genre of music began to be used by around 2002, by which time stylistic trends used in creating these remixes started to become more noticeable and distinct from 2-step and grime.
Dubstep started to spread beyond small local scenes in late 2005 and early 2006; many websites devoted to the genre appeared on the Internet and thus aided the growth of the scene, such as dubstepforum, the download site Barefiles and blogs such as gutterbreakz. Simultaneously, the genre was receiving extensive coverage in music magazines such as The Wire and online publications such as Pitchfork Media, with a regular feature entitled The Month In: Grime/Dubstep. Interest in dubstep grew significantly after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs started championing the genre, beginning with a show devoted to it (entitled "Dubstep Warz") in January 2006.

Examples: Digital Mystiks, D1, Skream, Elemental, Flying Lotus, Search & Destroy, Boxcutter

djchameleon 08-03-2009 04:53 AM


Club/Dance music comes in many different forms, from disco to hip-hop. Though there have been various dance crazes throughout the history of popular music, club/dance music became its own genre in the mid-'70s, as soul mutated into disco and whole clubs were devoted to dancing. In the late '70s, dance clubs played disco, but by the end of the decade, disco was mutating into a number of different genres. All of the genres were collected under the catch-all term "dance," though there were distinct differences between dance-pop, hip-hop, house, and techno, among other subgenres. What tied them all together was their emphasis on rhythm -- in each dance subgenre, the beat remains all-important.

Examples : Yelle, Moby, DJ tiesto, Paul van Dyk


Downtempo artists tend to be more beat-oriented than ambience, but are not quite as earthy as trip-hop.

Examples: Thievery Corporation, DJ Shadow, Zero 7, Royksopp

Drum & Bass

Based almost entirely in England, Jungle (also known as drum'n'bass) is a permutation of hardcore techno that emerged in the early '90s. Jungle is the most rhythmically complex of all forms of techno, relying on extremely fast polyrhythms and breakbeats. Usually, it's entirely instrumental -- it is among the hardest of all hardcore techno, often consisting of nothing but fast drum machines and deep bass. As its name implies, jungle does have more overt reggae, dub, and R&B influences than most hardcore -- and that is why some critics claimed that the music was the sound of black techno musicians and DJs reclaiming it from the white musicians and DJs who dominated the hardcore scene. Like most techno genres, jungle is primarily a singles genre designed for a small, dedicated audience, although the crossover successes of Goldie (with his 1995 debut Timeless) and Roni Size (with the Mercury Award-winning New Forms) suggested a broader appeal and more musical possibilities than other forms of techno. Dozens of respected artists followed in their wake, fusing breakbeat with influences lifted from jazz, film music, ambient, and trip-hop.

Examples: DJ Food , Justice, Dieselboy, High Contrast


House music grew out of the post-disco dance club culture of the early '80s. After disco became popular, certain urban DJs -- particularly those in gay communities -- altered the music to make it less pop-oriented. The beat became more mechanical and the bass grooves became deeper, while elements of electronic synth pop, Latin soul, dub reggae, rap, and jazz were grafted over the music's insistent, unvarying four-four beat. Frequently, the music was purely instrumental and when there were vocalists, they were faceless female divas that often sang wordless melodies. By the late '80s, house had broken out of underground clubs in cities like Chicago, New York, and London, and had begun making inroads on the pop charts, particularly in England and Europe but later in America under the guise of artists like C+C Music Factory and Madonna. At the same time, house was breaking into the pop charts; it fragmented into a number of subgenres, including hip-house, ambient house, and most significantly, acid house (a subgenre of house with the instantly recognizable squelch of Roland's TB-303 bass-line generator). During the '90s, house ceased to be cutting-edge music, yet it remained popular in clubs throughout Europe and America. At the end of the decade, a new wave of progressive house artists including Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and House of 909 brought the music back to critical quarters with praised full-length works.

Examples: Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, House of 909, Paul Oakenfold, Benny Benassi,

djchameleon 08-03-2009 04:56 AM


Techno had its roots in the electronic house music made in Detroit in the mid-'80s. Where house still had explicit connection to disco even when it was entirely mechanical, techno was strictly electronic music, designed for a small, specific audience. The first techno producers and DJs — Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Derrick May, among others — emphasized the electronic, synthesized beats of electro-funk artists like Afrika Bambaataa and synth-rock units like Kraftwerk. In the United States, techno was strictly an underground phenomenon, but in England, it broke into the mainstream in the late '80s. In the early '90s, techno began to fragment into a number of subgenres, including hardcore, ambient, and jungle. In hardcore techno, the beats-per-minute on each record were sped up to ridiculous, undanceable levels — it was designed to alienate a broad audience. Ambient took the opposite direction, slowing the beats down and relying on watery electronic textures — it was used as come-down music, when ravers and club-goers needed a break from acid house and hardcore techno. Jungle was nearly as aggressive as hardcore, combining driving techno beats with breakbeats and dancehall reggae — essentially. All subgenres of techno were initially designed to be played in clubs, where they would be mixed by DJs. Consequently, most of the music was available on 12-inch singles or various-artists compilations, where the songs could run for a long time, providing the DJ with a lot of material to mix into his set. In the mid-'90s, a new breed of techno artists — most notably ambient acts like the Orb and Aphex Twin, but also harder-edged artists like the Prodigy and Goldie — began constructing albums that didn't consist of raw beats intended for mixing. Not surprisingly, these artists — particularly the Prodigy — became the first recognizable stars in techno.

Examples: The Advent, Joey Beltram , Damon Wild, Space DJs, Speedy J


Breaking out of the German techno and hardcore scene of the early '90s, Trance emphasized brief synthesizer lines repeated endlessly throughout tracks, with only the addition of minimal rhythmic changes and occasional synthesizer atmospherics to distinguish them -- in effect putting listeners into a trance that approached those of religious origin. Despite waning interest in the sound during the mid-'90s, trance made a big comeback later in the decade, even supplanting house as the most popular dance music of choice around the globe.

Inspired by acid house and Detroit techno, trance coalesced with the opening of R&S Records in Ghent, Belgium and Harthouse/Eye Q Records in Frankfurt, Germany. R&S defined the sound early on with singles like "Energy Flash" by Joey Beltram, "The Ravesignal" by CJ Bolland, and others by Robert Leiner, Sun Electric, and Aphex Twin. Harthouse, begun in 1992 by Sven Väth with Heinz Roth & Matthias Hoffman, made the most impact on the sound of trance with Hardfloor's minimal epic "Hardtrance Acperience" and Väth's own "L'Esperanza," plus releases by Arpeggiators, Spicelab, and Barbarella. Artists like Väth, Bolland, Leiner, and many others made the transition to the full-length realm, though without much of an impact on the wider music world.

Despite a long nascent period when it appeared trance had disappeared, replaced by breakbeat dance (trip-hop and jungle), the style's increasing impact on Britain's dance scene finally crested in the late '90s. The classic German sound had changed somewhat though, and the term "progressive" trance gained favor to describe influences from the smoother end of house and Euro dance. By 1998, most of the country's best-known DJs -- Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Tony De Vit, Danny Rampling, Sasha, Judge Jules -- were playing trance in Britain's superclubs. Even America turned on to the sound (eventually), led by its own cast of excellent DJs, including Christopher Lawrence and Kimball Collins.

Examples: Juno Reactor , Power Source , System 7, Atmos

Trance Sub genres
Epic: Came about in the late 90s and early 00s when trance was commercial. It's known for it's epic, euphoric, and emotional feel. Since it was commercial, it wasn't hard to find and a multitude of producers were making it. Eventually due to the fact that many of the songs started sounding the same, around 04-05 many of the commercial artists started to delve into tech trance and also started incorporating house influences. The first song that really made epic trance the way it was : Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar (Three N' One Remix). It is one of the most remixed songs ever.. and the original song was pretty much overlooked until 4 years later when this version came out.

Artists : Nitrous Oxide, Andy Blueman, Daniel Kandi, Aly & Fila, Oen Bearen
Songs : Age of Love - Age of Love, ATB - 9 P.M. Til I Come, Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar, Armin van Buuren - Communication

Tech : Came about after the very big commercial uprising of trance. It started out being produced by former hard trance producers.. but when hard trance got harder.. and harder.. it ended up being its own genre of Hardstyle. Producers like Scot Project and Cosmic Gate were not interested in it so they began to produce tech trance. However some commercial trance artists got interested in the sound and started to produce it as well because the "epic" sound was getting a bit dated. Then hard trance legends like Scot Project started performing with commercial artists like Mike Koglin and still do today. However hard trance is still being produced today.. it isn't nearly as easy to find.

Artists: Mike Koglin (later releases), Jesselyn, Marcel Woods, Sied van Riel, Kidd Kaos (bordering on hard trance)
Songs: Tiesto - Traffic, Richard Durand - Make Me Scream, Joop - Another World, Fred Baker vs. Greg Nash - Lunar Eclipse

Hard : Since trance originated in the early 90s when hardcore was popular, many trance songs would by today's standards be considered hard. However it wasn't until around 2001-2002 when producers like Scot Project, Cosmic Gate, and Yoji Biomehanika started truly mastering it. As I'd mentioned before.. it got harder and harder until hardstyle was created and most of the artists went their separate ways. Scot Project started to produce tech, Cosmic Gate went commercial and now are producing.. whatever you would consider popular right now (epic trance mixed with techno.. some electro and maybe some house), and Yoji Biomehanika went to Tech Dance like Vandall.

Artists: Kamui (earlier releases.. then went to tech.. now are electro), Scot Project (earlier releases), A.S.Y.S. (earlier releases), S.H.O.K.K., Space Raven
Songs: Cosmic Gate - The Wave, Schwarze Puppen - Tanz, T.O.C.S. - 2, Kamui - Ghosts

Progressive: This started around the mid 90s when commercial trance started becoming popular.. but this was more underground music. Artists like BT, Sasha, John Digweed, and Airwave (or Lolo) were producing it. Nowadays it took off and is still being produced and played by many of the big names. One issue with progressive trance is that progressive house is quite similar. Both can be emotional, both can be uplifting, both usually have breaks, and both are quite popular. If progressive trance sounds good then definitely check out progressive house (artists like Mango and Atlantis Ocean).

Artists: Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Ashley Wallbridge, Lolo, Breakfast
Songs: Annie Lennox - The Saddest Song I've Got (Kuffdam & Plant Remix), Solarstone - Seven Cities (Armin van Buuren Remix), Robert Vadney - A Day in Heaven, Markus Schulz & Carrie Skipper - Never Be the Same Again


House music had reached the mainstream by the late '80s (more so in Britain than anywhere else), and while several early house hits were by genuine pioneers, they were later overwhelmed by the novelty acts and one-hit wonders dominating the charts around the turn of the decade. As well, ambient, techno, and trance made gains early in the '90s as electronic styles with both street cred and a group of young artists making intelligent music. A generation of house producers soon emerged, weaned on the first wave of house and anxious to reapply the more soulful elements of the music. With a balance of sublime techno and a house sound more focused on New York garage than Chicago acid house, groups like Leftfield, the Drum Club, Spooky, and Faithless hit the dance charts (and occasionally Britain's singles charts). Though critically acclaimed full-lengths were never quite as important as devastating club tracks, several Progressive House LPs were stellar works, including Leftfield's Leftism, Spooky's Gargantuan, and the Drum Club's Everything Is Now. By the mid-'90s, the innovations of progressive house had become the mainstream of house music around the world.

Examples: Sasha, Mike Dierickx, Armin Van Buuren, Brian Transeau
Trance Subgenres by CanwllCorfe

Fruitonica 08-03-2009 07:45 AM

It's not a genre I'm much involved in at all, but was an interesting read nonetheless. Kudos, good thread.

Schredds 08-03-2009 08:08 AM

I always been into Electronica..........Cool, nice work bro

Schredds 08-03-2009 08:12 AM

chameleon, I found a thread that has a major list of artists that go with your descriptions of genres and subgenres that people can checkout, hope you dont mind.

Bulldog 08-03-2009 08:28 AM

Very broad area of music that I've been delving deeper into over the last month or so, so it's good to have a lot of the areas accounted for in one thread. Great read, top thread. Do you want this stickied btw?

sidewinder 08-03-2009 01:22 PM

I really hate the term 'electronica' being used as an umbrella term for all things electronic. :(

I always associate 'electronica' with more well-known acts like Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, Chrystal Method, Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, etc. even The Orb and Orbital.

But at least we're not calling it all techno. :laughing:

djchameleon 08-03-2009 02:04 PM


Originally Posted by sidewinder (Post 713856)
I really hate the term 'electronica' being used as an umbrella term for all things electronic. :(

I always associate 'electronica' with more well-known acts like Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, Chrystal Method, Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, etc. even The Orb and Orbital.

But at least we're not calling it all techno. :laughing:

I understand what you mean but I kind of went along with calling it that because of the Forum header and the idea that they all involve some form of electronic.


Originally Posted by Bulldog (Post 713761)
Very broad area of music that I've been delving deeper into over the last month or so, so it's good to have a lot of the areas accounted for in one thread. Great read, top thread. Do you want this stickied btw?

yeah, I recently decided to jump head first into the genre after listening to B.E.P. of all groups. they were my gateway drug into the genre.
Yes, sticky this please. Could you do me a favor and change the title to Electronic. now that I think about it, Sidewinder is right.


Originally Posted by Schredds (Post 713756)
chameleon, I found a thread that has a major list of artists that go with your descriptions of genres and subgenres that people can checkout, hope you dont mind.

Yeah I meant to do that....put some recommendations/examples of artists....ty for that thread I'll go through and edit some in

Bulldog 08-03-2009 02:53 PM

All done. :) Thanks for the thread as well.

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