Friday, October 7, 2011

Dance Music

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Characteristics


House, with its origins in disco and soul, has a four quarter beat with slower tempo, normally about 10 bpm, a simple piano loop and sometimes vocals (depending on the sub-style). The kick is featured on the 1/4 note with hihats in between, usually on every other 8th note. Often a snare on the and 4 in the 4/4 beat for an uncomplicated rhythm.


Evolution


185


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House Artists


Marshall Jefferson (Move Your Body The House Music Anthem), Frankie Knuckles, Adonis, House Master Boyz, Ron Hardy, Phuture (creators of Acid House with Acid Trax), Farley Jackmaster Funk, Raze


History and Description


House music takes its name from Chicagos Warehouse, a well known and now famous club where famed DJ Frankie Knuckles, plied his trade. A combination of disco, funk, soul and europop was the main musical style but instead of playing straight tracks, mixing and programming a combo of tunes (style originated in New York discos, Walter Gibbons played a big role here) was part of this new scene. Its said that Frankie Knuckles disputes that he invented house music but still, hes credited as the originator of the style and scene and no one can deny the huge contribution he made.


From those local beginnings, [other originators include Jessie Saunders (Jes Say Records) and the creative Ron Hardy (the Music Box)], the first stirring of house as a style become known (185). The early and more well known labels such as DJ International Records and Trax Records brought the style to the forefront and took house music from the Chicago clubs and into the international arena (breaking into the UK/Europe scene in late 186).


Drum N Bass


Characteristics


Fast paced breakbeat styled drums with predominant bassline structure of either an acousitc or electronic nature. Modern day characterics though could range from a broad base of inspirations including jazz / hip hop / techno / house and various ethnic based music forms.


Evolution


Around 16


Drum N Bass Artists


John B, Dillinja, Ram Trilogy, Dom & Roland, Cycom, Waveshaper


History and Description


The term Drum & Bass evolved from the early 0s club explosion of Jungle. As Jungle grew up and started to gain some respectability through the music press, the term drum & bass came about and it was agreed that the term described the style of music that was now constantly changing from its original junglistic origins.


For a more defined description, refer to Jungle.


Techno


Characteristics


Techno is a very diverse genre that has grown and splintered into many other styles and sub-styles. Originally, the techno sound began its evolution in the 70s with German band, Kraftwerk and drew from a variety of genres (disco, synthpop, funk) throughout the 70s to emerge as Detroit in the early 80s. Techno is the big grandfather of many sub-styles and as such, its a widely varied genre which encompasses many characteristics � simply put, techno is electronic music.


Please refer to Detroit for more information.


Evolution


174 Kraftwerk release Autobahn


178 Kraftwerk release The Man-Machine


18 Cybotron (Juan Atkins/Richard Davies) release Techno City


Breakbeat


Characteristics


Practically any form of music that uses sampled drum loops, usually manipulated and layered with other percussive elements to give a vibrant, clean groove. These grooves are often quite complex and link up very tightly with an accompanying bassline groove to give a very funky, danceable rhythm. This is the basis of breakbeat; other than that, anything goes, making breakbeat one of the most flexible genres of electronic music there is.


Evolution


11 onwards


Breakbeat Artists


Freestylers, Hybrid, Leftfield


History and Description


Breakbeat originates from 70s soul records, particularly James Brown, whose songs often contained long breakdowns filled with a drum solo. When electronic artists started sampling these drum solos, the term breakbeat was born as a simple descriptive term for these samples. Electronic artists were attracted to soul beats because of their irregular rhythm and organic complexity, and in the days when electronic music drum tracks were sparse, breakbeats provided artists with a means of busying up their rhythms to create more exciting grooves.


In the early 10s, experiments with breakbeats started to gain real momentum as sampling technology started to really come of age. One of the earliest commercial explosions of breakbeat music came in the form of trip hop, spearheaded by seminal artists such as Massive Attack and Tricky, and peaking with the phenomenally successful track Unfinished Sympathy (11). This track was one of the first mainstream releases to fully show off the benefits of breakbeat-based rhythms, and the rest of the 0s saw a number of subsequent explosions of breakbeat into the mainstream, in different shapes and forms. One of the most influential artists to push breakbeat music as a genre on its own was Leftfield with their must-have album, Leftism. This album explored the possibilities of sampling with breaks and sampling as a whole, pushing the breakbeat further into the foreground of the music and inextricably linking it with electronica. Ever since that marriage was made, breakbeat has charged relentlessly on to mix itself up with all sorts of different genres including rock, jazz, hip hop, pop, ambient and even folk.


Ambient


Characteristics


Use of textures and layers in sound using electronics and repetitive, drawn out passages and percussive loops. Usually described as mood or atmospheric music which sets the stage using pitch, tone and sonic soundscape. Commonly referred to as background music, ambient is anything but as it is meant to enhance or heighten the aural experience, rather than fade into the surroundings.


Evolution


17 - 180


Ambient Artists


Brian Eno, Biosphere, Erik Satie, Steve Roach


History and Description


There have been many experimentalists in music, making use of different types of sounds in their creations. More recently, Pink Floyd would be an example with their use of various sound effects to enhance the scope of their music and though they wouldnt be considered ambient, experimentation by artists such as Floyd, fundamentally extending the thoughts of the imaginative composer Debussy, helped set the stage for acceptance of different qualities/sounds in mainstream electronic music. The first to label this genre was Brian Eno when he called the style of his album, Music for Airports, ambient.


In turn, Eno was influenced by American experimental composer (anti-music) John Cage (11 - 1) who was influential in promoting the concept that music can encompass not just instruments, but every day sounds too. Before Cage came along, Erik Satie, a minimalist composer who created background compositions which he coined Furniture Music , Charles Ives (b. America 1874) who explored microtones and created intentionally unplayable works and the Milanese Futurist composer Luigi Russolo, who explored sensory confusion through noise and sound, could arguably be credited with creating the ambient sound. In popular terms it is Enos beginnings, with the LPs Music For Airports and Music For Films in particular, that has enabled ambient music to evolve and encompass a number of sub-styles and techniques with artists like The Orb, Aphex Twin and Autechre each carrying the flag.


Linear Notes (partial) for Music for Airports, Ambient 1 by Brian Eno, 178


Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncrasies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and leveling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think. Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.


Trance


Characteristics


Uptempo, uplifting and often euphoric energetic synthesized sounds pumped by a 4/4 beat and massive hooks, often with long breakdowns building slowly to create a tension and expectancy on the dancefloor. Often with driving off-the-beat basslines and utilising major and minor chords in sequence, trance tracks can take a central epic form of commercial dance or the form of one of several sub-genres including Goa trance with its acid-like dreamscapes, Psytrance with its repetitive hallucinogenic properties and Hard trance with its beat-driven, 0 like overtones.


Evolution


11


Trance Artists


ATB, Robert Miles, BT, Paul Van Dyk (DJ), Ferry Corsten (DJ), Art of Trance, System F, Matt Darey (Remixer)


Trance Labels


Platipus, Kinetic, Ministry of Sound, Dragonfly, K-tel (!) � yup, they did the epic Euphoria series, Perfecto (Oakenfolds label), Man With No Name, Jon The Dentist


History and Description


You can arguably trace trance music back to religious roots eminating from a spiritual state of mind reminiscent of shamanism and elements of bhuddism. The sound of trance was born as early as 11 in Germany, Israel and Goa and through pioneering trance labels like Dragonfly the sound started to take on a slightly more mainstream appeal during the early 0s through what are now sub-genres of the theme, Goa and Psytrance. The repetitive nature of much of the early trance tracks provided club-goers with the ideal chance to immerse themselves in a new style of music after a period of relative quiet on what had been termed the dance scene.


Inevitably, the style was to evolve and as more and more mainstream DJs picked up on the sound of trance, so the sound became more commercial and more diverse often relegating the traditional trance styles into background sub-genres. The trance music you hear today is not what many true trance fans would term trance � it is merely the commercial manifestation of dance music re-badged by the dj fraternity and launched into a world of electronic music that is becoming ever-more difficult to define, and indeed, profit from.


In 16, the UK became the core of the new trance phenomonen taking trance to new heights in UK clubs and out to the clubbers island of Ibiza. DJs like Paul Oakenfold, Sasha and Digweed started to open the eyes of the clubbing population to what would probably be best now described as euro-trance epic winding tracks with monumental breakdowns and uplifting lead lines culminating in the ATB and Delirium sounds of 000. Assisted by well-known producers like Robert Miles, Sash and BT, these tunes struck to the hearts of an audience looking for new energy and excitement in their music. Just as interesting to observe is the creeping effect of trance around the world. While the Israelis and Swedes in particular continue to produce new sounds, American and the new eastern european markets are absorbed in the trance sounds of a once frenetic european market. Meantime the UK and Canada are pushing the boundaries of hard trance with new genres cropping up like Hard House, a fusion of trance and house with more than a passing nod to the Dutch-lead gabba and hardcore revolutions of the mid-nineties.


With such a diverse range of music to satisfy within the genre, it is inevitable that trance becomes a victim of its own success. Weve already seen the likes of trance-made DJs like Paul Van Dyk denounce the genre and its becoming de-facto to slate the genre as old hat. However, for many true trance fans of the mid-nineties, this is ultimately leading bringing their genre back round to what it was designed to be music for the mind, not music for the masses. The likely path for commercial trance music is either back into the dance fold or to once more re-badge itself, maybe as progressive, maybe as epic dance music � whichever route it transpires to follow, trance should be remembered for providing a renaissance of dance music.


Industrial


Characteristics


Experimental noise, various industrial sounds like drills, machinery, electronic sounds, cut and paste music (early industrial). Now the style industrial incorporates distorted/effected vocals, heavy percussion and electronic music/melodies.


Evolution


Mid 170s


Industrial Artists


Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire (all early front runners), SPK, Whitehouse, Esplendor Geometrico, Skinny Puppy, Test Department, Einsturzende Neubauten


Industrial Labels


Metropolis, Invisible Records


History and Description


Pretty much the first recognized genre of electronic music, long before the days of techno and clubs. While people like Kraftwerk, Faust, Neu, and Can were experimenting and setting the stage for what would soon be an electronic explosion, their music could not exactly be classified, because there were no electronic genres at this time. When Throbbing Gristle emerged in the mid 70s, they coined the term industrial for the music they created... strange tools and dark sounds, inspiring images of factory workers and decaying industrial zones. At the time, there was not much of an element of dance present, but other early bands such as Cabaret Voltaire and Portion Control set these odd electronic sounds and loops to light dance beats and samples. While Throbbing Gristle remains famous for inventing the term Industrial, it was really the combined effort of the electronic pioneers in the 70s that got the genre up and running.


Throbbing Gristle (originally an avant-garde performing art troupe), while not exactly the front runners of the industrial scene (see Kraftwerk), they did coin the term industrial and named their record label Industrial Records (Industrial Music for Industrial People - Monte Cazazza) which has been copied and evolved into the various industrial genres of today.





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