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Christian Electronic Music or the Future Sound of Worship
Discover Christian electronic music
When one of the fathers of techno, visited a UK club, was he shocked. Music he created for the mind, was used to turn minds off. Same heavy beat all night long. The club audiences liked it. They were on ecstasy. And that is the usual association people have with electronic music. When the techno scene unfolded in Europe, law enforcement agencies were on guard. There were just too many drugs involved with these raves. But members of the sub-culture moved quickly. By the time the police came, they relocated their raves.
But is electronic music the only music associated with drugs? Well, let's remember the motto of the 60s... "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll". How about jazz music? That never went well in Christian music either, because jazz was always considered bar music. How about hip hop? Oh, that's all they rap about! So to me it seems like there is another common denominator here; people who do drugs, do drugs even when they do music.
So what is electronic music then? Well, maybe a little history will help. Electronic music is often referred to as techno, dance music, or trance music. In reality there are dozens of different styles of electronic music. Hip hop, for instance, is one of them. They range from very soothing, like chill out and ambient, to very rhythmic, like hard core techno. Techno was developed in Detroit, by three African American students, called the "Belleville Three". But they did not invent electronic music. Where they were getting inspiration was from a late-night radio show called Midnight Funk Association, which was a five-hour program of European electronic music.
American techno in effect is fusion of funk music and European synth-pop. Funk music really is one of the branches of gospel music if you go far enough. European electronic music was pioneered by classical composers, who started experimenting with electronic machines when such technology was invented. If you listen to today's dance music, it really is a combination of those two directions of music. The dominating rhythm is heritage from funk music. And if you look at DJs, they are really modern-day composers, except they use electronic boards of all sorts, instead of pianos and violins.
As I mentioned earlier, there are dozens of different sub-genres of electronic music. And yet, I think we have only scratched the surface of what is possible with this music. Say, you have a band with 7 guitars and a drummer. How many different sounds would you be able to produce? Well, probably a lot. But they would all sound like guitars and a standard set of drums. Now consider the fact that a basic Windows computer sound card is capable of producing 128 different instruments with no additional upgrades. If we start adding different plugins, the possibilities for sound variations become pretty much infinite.
With the current American music landscape, especially CCM landscape, electronic music seems almost inferior. But this music is capable of being very popular. Try travelling to Europe or Asia. It seems like the whole Eurasian continent is moving to the same techno-pop beat. Even if you look at the direction today's American mainstream music is moving, you would notice we are very much dependent on electronic music now. Even rock bands would have some sort of an electronic keyboard. Electronic music is already here with the huge popularity of hip hop. And I'm beginning to hear more and more electronic dance-driven music.
Then when I hear Christian electronic music referred to as "the future sound of worship", I don't doubt the possibility. The possibilities are truly endless. It could become as prominent as classical music was for centuries. When I listen to the music produced by some of the Christian DJs, I would say it sounds better than mainstream dance music. I'm probably biased, but if you think about it; mainstream artists have to follow a standard formula to be popular in the rave scene. Christian electronic DJs don't really have an audience. They're doing this music because they like it. And they are free to unleash their creativity anyway they wish. Even some of these beginning Christian DJs are producing more creative stuff then the biggest shots in the mainstream dance-music industry.
Let's keep this original creativity going. When I'm looking at today's Christian music industry. It really is a copy of the secular music industry, from 20 years ago. I think in our attempts to keep up with the secular music industry, we have forgotten that we are the ones who are connected with the Source of Creativity. Since when does Christian music following mainstream music? For most of the time since Christian musicians tossed out Greek music structures, and up to about 60 years ago, with the advent of the music business, the church was the center for music. If you wanted to learn to sing, you would go to church and join a choir. In the past 60 years, we have willingly let go of our leadership position and started following the secular music-business industry. I'm not saying we should go back to choir music. In fact, that would be terrible. In all those centuries we could've come up with more music genres.
Actually, we finally did... in the 20th century. I have a whole series of articles, which trace pretty much all of today's music to gospel music roots during the period of the Second Great Awakening. What the secular music industry did, was take all these variations of gospel music and create a music business, using our music to trash our morals along the way.
So, as we move into the electonic music age, it's time to regain that leadership position. Be creative. Be unique. Create music you like, rather than following the formulas created by the music industry. God is the source of creativity, and God is the source of music. Who should be leading in creativity, if not His people?
To discover Christian electronic music, and start moving into the future, I invite you to visit music.intellichristian.com