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Understanding Electronic Music Sub-Genres
"Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself." -- Oscar Wilde
Something that I have seen garner a lot of attention recently is the classification of electronic music. People talk about it especially at parties and on the Internet, and I have witnessed people struggle with it since I can remember. I do not think that people should fight over the genre of an artist's sound. In most cases, you will find the truly amazing work is done by artists who step outside the bounds of genre. There will always be a range of attitudes within sub-genres. They go from being dark and introspective to quirky and invigorating, from optimistic to spiritual. The music is ever-changing and producers are always innovating. There could never be a truly complete guide to electronic music.
Anyone that is interested enough to try listening to these different musical styles is already on the right track to understanding electronic music. The rest depends on your ability to listen. The more electronic music you are exposed to, the more likely it is that you will find a sound that suits your taste, attitude or many moods. Once you have taken the time to simply enjoy this music, and have let it become a new part of your life, you will understand.
In outlining these sub-genres, I hope to give people a common language with which to communicate ideas about music and to eliminate ever having to read silly made-up genres that do no good in describing a particular sound. For example, look at the silly term "Ambitronica." Ambient is considered a sub-genre of electronica. So, there is no need to make up a word in order to say the music is associated with both labels and should therefore be called either ambient or electronica. If anything, the term is simply trying to say too much. Instead of people getting upset about things like this, I hope this hub lets us start some real discussions on electronic music. And, if nothing else, you should be able to learn about some styles or producers that you have never heard before.
Please note that every time I introduce a genre of music to the hub, I will place it in bold. Also, the videos that I have included are by incredible artists who make unbelievable music. Take a journey and follow some of your favorite tracks to related videos. This music relies on a co-existence with other sub-genres. There is always a give-and-take. So, most of the music on this hub will be used as a ballpark indicator, and a few, like DJ Tiesto, Ulrich Schnauss and Massive Attack, will describe quintessential sounds of a particular sub-genre. Listen to their full discographies to fully understand the extraordinary sounds contained in these short YouTube videos.
Growing up, though I didn't know it, I heard electronic music on the radio and in the media as much as I heard rock or classical music. Songs like Haddaway's "What is Love" roamed the airwaves. My understanding of the music that I now know is classified as Eurodance was that it was "techno music." In fact most Americans would identify poppy beats with glossy effects, envelope-filtered drums, a quirky sample (or someone singing) and the unmistakeable "buildup" as being techno. But it is not as simple as that. In other words, take whatever preconceived notions you have of techno, dance music or whatever generalized descriptors you've been using, and leave them behind!
SNL spoofs the 90s club life to Haddaway's "What is Love?"
Common elements of EDM music would be the staple "noise," which is the rain-like sound that swoops up, often as an introduction, to create momentum and for the climax, and down, to create depth and to end the song. Trip Hop would be one sub-genre that does not use much noise, and many Ellen Allien studio tracks omit the sound, though you will definitely hear it on her DJ mixes. Noise is created by pushing a few buttons (one of which is called Noise) on a synthesizer and adding reverb, then filtering (removing the highs or lows to create warp-like sound). The filter of course is extensively used in EDM and can often be heard on the drums, making the sound muffled at first, then spinning it into fullness, as the hi-hat and snare become un-crunched and the bass drum really starts to boom. Once these elements are in place, it is usually up to the producer to decide what sound (or feel) they will go for next.
The sub-genres of Electronica and EDM can both belong in Rock and Pop Music (in other words, music that is not Folk, Western & Country or Classical). But, first I need to mention a few things. The music being discussed is made by either digital or analog means, using synthesizers and other instruments, drum machines and computer software with MIDI capabilities. This music is created by producers. DJs are people that play music for people. DJs can also play rock, blues, and folk of course. A DJ makes his money by blending tracks seamlessly and having a "feel for the room," by playing just the right track at the right time.The DJ has turntables and a mixer with which to manipulate the track further. If you are a really good DJ, you can remix tracks live for people. Producers can remix tracks of any song. Some remixes stay true to the form of the original song and some change the sound completely. Many DJs produce their own music, as well. When DJs play at a club, there is a seamless flow from one DJ to another, so sometimes you will see many people in "the booth" plugging things in and moving things around. A DJ mix is a compilation that a DJ makes that blends different songs from different artists into one extended-play mix. A song that is from a DJ mix on YouTube or iTunes will start suddenly, with one sound eventually fading away (what you are hearing has already been playing for about thirty seconds on the previous track), and end abruptly just as a new element from the next track has reached the end of its crescendo. Electronic music acts can consist of one person, will often have two or sometimes three (like Moderat or The Glitch Mob), and the roster can really add depth as they recruit vocalists and musicians to back them up live. Thievery Corporation (a DJ duo) tours with about eight vocalists (singers, rappers and hype-men) and a five-piece band.
Trance is, like I previously stated, what most Americans can identify. It is played at baseball games and anywhere that people are being encouraged to "get rowdy!" This music has a few discernible characteristics. First would be a super fast tempo. DJs would clock it in at about 130-140 beats per minute (bpm). This is the music people "fist-pump" to at the bar or club. Secondly, there is usually a high-pitched bass drum. And thirdly, there are high highs and low lows. The gigantic climaxes come at a cost, in often musically boring or unpleasant build-up sections, which often include the use of strings. The music is meant to feel as manufactured or automated as possible, so I generally tend to reject most formulaic trance. DJ Tiesto is the most famous Trance producer and Arman Van Buurren is the new king of Trance.
Artists James Holden, The Field and Telefon Tel Aviv are the extremely-well executed future of trance. They use more organic sounds and put a real musician's touch to their work, and make music that is superior in quality than most mainstream. I would tell you more if I favored any other artists who fell under this sub-genre.
Check out Wikipedia for a Comprehensive List of Sub-Genres
This next sub-genre has been hugely popular since the mid-nineties but has become significantly watered-down and formulaic, and has taken a backseat to dubstep in recent years. It is the music often used in movies during dramatic and quick-moving sequences. That music is drum and bass (DnB). When electronic music visionary Aphex Twin released "Digeridoo," DJs in England had already been using the term DnB. For season five, South Park made a drum and bass version of their introduction. This music has a fast break-beat with choppy snare rhythms that create a hypnotic effect. And, like trance, will have many fast drum rolls. This music in its purest form is very bass-oriented and does not rely too heavily on stimulating chords. You may often hear a vibrating or warping quality to the bass, a WAAH, or a wobble-wub.
Unfortunately I do not listen to that much DnB. Prolific producer Luke Vibert has released many DnB tracks. Pendulum is a popular act. And the dubsteppers Nero certainly incorporate DnB in their debut Welcome Reality. And STS9, an instrumental electronic band, loves to bust into a choppy DnB beat.
Call to Mind by Commix is a drum n bass classic.
Richard D. James goes by AFX, Aphex Twin, GAK, Caustic Window and many other pseudonyms
South Park Intro DnB Remix!
A great ambient-dnb mix by Austria's Kruder and Dorfmeister
Ambient electronica gets its name, of course, from the ambiance it creates, filling the room with a wavy feeling of weightlessness. Ambient producers will use warm synth pads and often experiment with different psychedelic effects. The first significant exploration of ambient electronic music was by Brian Eno in the 70s, who collaborated with artists like David Byrne, David Bowie and Philip Glass, and is still active today.
Ambient music is mostly slow to mid-tempo. This music is not always made to dance with. The songs will generally be 5-15 minutes long, with usually a slow introduction that grows from silence. Notice the producer's ability to allow the beginning sounds to enter your ear canal virtually undetected. A slow envelope filter will often be used to keep the different parts of a song flowing.
This music creates a spiritual ecstasy. Excellent music to have on when you are meditating or falling asleep!
The King of Ambient. From Germany, Ulrich Schnauss
Richard D. James can move a dancefloor with these tracks!
I will now give a shout-out to chillout music. This is a DJ music that is made by mixing aesthetic or ambient samples with a funky break-beat. Thievery Corporation is the most well-known act. They are pioneers for incorporating dub reggae and middle-eastern flavors in club music. This music is perfect for the after-party chill session. Dub is the term for the trippy echo added to some of those sounds. This music is often played at chic stores and restaurants. And, yes, can also be called Lounge or Downtempo.
Other chillout artists to check out: Bonobo. Zero Seven. Four Tet.
Washington DC's own, Thievery Corporation
Trip Hop is England's response to Hip Hop and was pioneered by the group Massive Attack. It aspires to be cerebral dance music. Their album Blue Lines created and defined the genre. And their work has been considered extraordinary ever since. This music is known for its massive kick and snare, and will often have the feel of a hip hop anthem. But the songs generally follow a more popular-musical format than most dance songs. Massive Attack produced "Teardrop," the song played on the opening of the TV show House.
Check out their friends Portishead.
Blue Lines defined the early nineties for Brits and many others!
This next sub-genre's title is much-disputed but nonetheless, we move on to Intelligent Dance Music (IDM). This music was a response to the mainstream, formulaic trance music of the nineties and aimed to disorient the listener and make them earn the reward of the music. Most IDM will not give you an "obvious" beat. It will not necessarily make you want to dance, but that's probably because you aren't playing it loud enough. Often discordant and seemingly lacking rhythm, this music is for people with adventurous tastes and, quite possibly, who are in search of more cerebral stimulation. A major fault of the IDM label is that it does not seem to capture the various concepts and sounds that it includes. That is to say that so many emotions, styles and engineering techniques are explored within IDM but there has yet to be an artist that could blend all of those different ideas into one quintessential IDM sound. Until then, you will have to sift through it all until you find what you like.
Also, many people have a problem with the specific word intelligent in the name. In a 1997 interview, Aphex Twin said: "I just think it's really funny to have terms like that. It's basically saying 'this is intelligent and everything else is stupid.' It's really nasty to everyone else's music. (laughs) It makes me laugh, things like that. I don't use names. I just say that I like something or I don't."
Aphex Twin, or Richard D. James, has released music under many aliases. He is considered one of the most influential electronic artists of our time. Some other popular IDM artists include Luke Vibert (or Wagon Christ), Boards of Canada, Autechre, Plaid, Plastikman, Apparat and William Orbit. This genre is almost like the classic rock of EDM. These producers are fucking rockstars. While not many stay entirely in IDM, the sound has influenced many different sub-genres.
Of course, as you may have noticed, the genres like to dabble with one another, so many of these artists will have some very ambient moments in their music. The glitch sound is also explored extensively in IDM.
I found myself listening to lots of IDM in college, when I started getting into post-rock music, which features lots of synthesizers and focuses on mood, mostly without vocals. For me, back then, ambient and IDM went hand-in-hand as I would put those tracks one when I wanted a certain morphine-like effect.
Boards of Canada sample vintage television programs to create a record-warbly feel
A pretty song by Autechre.
Let's talk about glitch as a style. Glitch is used to describe disruptions in drum patterns or other sounds using a 'cut and paste' technique that stretches out or speeds up the sound. This music can be disorienting and often times "too much," depending on the producer's ability to craft an interesting tune. I'm going to include a song by Modeselektor, one of my favorite genre-defying groups, which has dazzling glitch work in this collaboration with French hip-hop group TTC.
Amazing Production from Modeselektor!
The next genre is breaks, which comes from the term break-beat, or a beat similar to hip-hop. Music that would normally be classified as techno or trance will often be characterized as being breaks if the bass drum is not doing a "4 on the Floor" (boom boom boom boom, going 1234 in a 4/4 time) throughout the track.
Label boss Ellen Allien produces breaks, glitch, minimal, techno
American duo Telefon Tel Aviv. RIP Charles Cooper.
And, now for the three sub-genres that are enjoying almost mainstream popularity here in America: techno, house and dubstep. I am comfortable with saying that I love techno and house.
Techno music is considered those danceable beats that are darker than house, and that have drums that sound intentionally programmed. Some would call it space dance music. It focuses on atmosphere and texture. Ellen Allien is considered the Queen of Berlin because she has signed acts like Modeselektor, Apparat, Telefon Tel Aviv, Sasha Funke, We Love and many more, helping define the Berlin sound and uniting us all by promoting music from different countries but with similar aspirations. As an artist (producer and DJ), she is known for her prolific EPs and her dominating presence in the club. I update my iPhone with new electronic artists all the time, taking off ones I had started listening to less-frequently, and I have never taken a single album of hers off. I simply love her style, finesse, quirkiness and crunk bass lines, and I never know when I will just need to hear one of her sounds. To get started, listen to Ellen Allien's album Berlinette on grooveshark.com. My favorite may still be her debut Stadtkind but Thrills is a perfect album and Sool a trippy minimal gem.
Minimal is a style that describes the artistic approach of only recording sounds which are essential to the music. Minimal music will not have walls of sound or complicated interweaving harmonies. Any of these sub-genres can be done minimally. Claude von Stroke makes excellent minimal house tracks. Telefon Tel Aviv makes trance and IDM that is sometimes minimal and, more often minimal's antithesis, maximalist.
Techno is about creating an environment and letting you pleasantly get lost in it. Many people use the term "deep" to describe the pull that that some tracks have. To achieve maximum depth, these tracks can be very long. I would consider the deepest songs on my playlist to be around seven to ten minutes.
Enjoy this stunning John Tejada techno track
A deep techno track
Interesting Live Video of German Producer Sascha Funke
House music is the most fun-loving electronic genre. It came out of Chicago and is generally considered the first underground dance music. There is a rich heritage of house that can seem dated but everyone should know Frankie Knuckles. Nowadays, producers will often use disco samples and heavy percussion, like bongos.
House music, like most genres, has different strains. That is, in different areas, people have different ideas of what the genre should sound like. I will start with the obvious Parisian House Music. The duo Daft Punk first made this sound loved by audiences across the world. Mr. Oizo and Justice are also main figures in the Parisian House Music scene. This strain of house has often distorted bass lines. Daft Punk is known for using vocoder robot-voices...
Daft Punk: music made by and for robots?
Berlin producer and world-class DJ Boys Noize has crafted his sound in the tradition of Daft Punk. Some would say his music is the future of house. He has said that there is nothing he can do that hasn't been done before but what you can do is "bring it to the next level." He is a personal favorite.
Boys Noize has recently released a compilation of his favorite acid-house tracks from artists on his label Boys Noize Records (BNR) called Super Acid. It is a throw-back to his some of his favorite music of the past twenty years. Acid House is traditionally created with the Roland TB-303 electronic synthesizer-sequencer and has a dripping quality that can be modulated, of course, to go from muffled to face-melting. The group Phuture's "Acid Trax" was famously played at DJ Ron Hardy's Music Box four times in one night, when it was premiered. It was the first large-scale rave music (before they were raves they were acid house parties) and took off in the early nineties in England. The music is incredible whether or not the listener is on drugs.
Boys Noize and Erol Alkan love acid!
House music focuses on a soulful feeling above all else. Even in its mutations over the years, House is the music that has undeniable funky synthesizers blasting away in a hypnotic loop. The producer of house music manipulate the synthesizer just as much as any producer, but house has a general formula, in which the sound is introduced in a muffled sort of way, and then slowly the brighter sides of the sound come out and begin change the feel as new parts of the sound are revealed. So the sound will get very loud and then, when it goes to the next section, return to the muffled sound, creating this ever-changing feeling with only a few synthesizers.
Check out Housemeister, Djedjotronic, Maelstrom, SCNTST, Mr. Oizo and new-comers BS1.
Some hybrid genres you will come across are acid house, tech-house (techno + house) and electro-house. Electro is used to describe tracks that are funk-oriented and use more vocal samples.
Italy's Benassi knows what's up
Progressive House is the next generation of house. Canada's deadmau5 is a main figure in the sub-genre. Percussion and bouncy beats are still common. The songs generally have an (A)BA(BA) structure, in that A is the hook, or main beat of the song, while B is the buildup section. The B section in progressive house is substantially psychedelic and mind-melting.
Give this Canadian some love!
The first major Ambient House track
Joy Orbison creates futuristic House, UK Funky, Bass blend
The most recent sub-genre of EDM to gain popularity in America is moombahton. It consists of slowing down Dutch house music (another strain of house; Afrojack is part of this scene) and adding reverberated vocals and drums.
But the genre that everyone wants to learn about nowadays is dubstep. Spreading from its underground roots in London, dubstep has invigorated a new generation of "ravers" in America. The scene is surely remarkable. Being a native Marylander, I have witnessed Baltimore become one of the biggest dubstepping cities. You can hear some strains of it being played in a car a mile away--massive wobble bass in a minor key. British artists Rusko, Skream and the duo Nero use the wobble bass to varying degrees. Some exploiting the ridiculous, pixilated highs of the bass, some using the bass with restraint. This type of bass has been used by all sorts of house producers, from deadmau5 to Siriusmo.
The strain of dubstep that is most popular in America has since been dubbed "brostep." And Nero and Skrillex, in particular, use house and trance elements to appeal to a wider EDM audience. I am a fan of Nero. Check out their new album Welcome Reality. Every song is good.
The most important thing to remember is that dubstep gets its name from dub (echoes and reverb) and the two step. So, the music has to work as you take two steps to the right and two steps to the left, or to at least make your torso or head move in such a fashion. Dubstep songs generally feel mid-tempo. You will notice that you can't exactly fist-pump to this music.
Check out Benga, Coki and Digital Mystiks as well.
Skream (pictured with Benga)
Some strains of London dubstep come directly from underground DnB, jungle, UK Funky and grime. Check out wikipedia to learn about these often dark styles. Producer Burial is credited to having created one of the finest dubstep albums, with Untrue, in 2007. He uses ghostly vocal samples and an ever-shifting drum pattern to create dark, intimate soundscapes. This music often crosses into ambient terrain and does not focus on the wobble bass. And, in a way, has firmly defined the zeitgeist.
The secretive, paranoid and reclusive producer Burial
Turn up the bass if you haven't already.
New York duo Sepalcure make Bass with UK Funky elements
Now, having a broad-stroke covering the gigantic, ever-changing spectrum of electronic music, I want to fill in some gaps.
Electro-Pop is the music created with electronic instruments, and that has electro-house elements used to create a pop song. Steve Aoki and Afrojack are great at creating poppy electro-house (I love their song "No Beef") but this music calls for a more laid back style. It can often incorporate elements of ambient or chillout.
Gui Boratto, Brazilian tech-house and electro-pop composer
There is a profound amount of experimental and indie electronica that everybody should listen to.
One of the most well-known and sing-alongable of this batch would be Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and producer Johnny Tamborello's collaboration as Postal Service. Their supposed only album, Give Up , was conceived by way of mail, as they never recorded in the same room as each other. It is electro-pop with an indie audience. The beats delve into techno and IDM territories.
Radiohead achieved ethereal heights using guitars and effects on OK Computer in a similar way and then responded with a series of releases primarily made with synthesizers and drum pads, in Kid A and Amnesiac. They will define this era of music we currently live in. Thom York's solo album was a techno album which featured guitar and piano instrumentation, his naked (that is, sans effects) voice, which all started as a friendly suggestion of Bjork's, who thought his wonderful voice was too often disguised with effects.
The American band Wilco created a masterpiece in analog engineering in Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. This is, in the end (because their record label didn't like the album) indie music that achieves levels of serenity and the sublime similar to Radiohead. It is experimental to the max. There are times of complete and utter peace and of chaos. And, like with Radiohead's Thom Yorke, the vocals and lyrics are stellar.
Sigur Ros is an Icelandic post-rock band that creates beautiful, even orchestral, ambient music.
Four Tet is a British producer, guitar player and DJ particularly known for his inventive concepts, unique sounds and amazing remixes. He was my "gateway drug" into electronic music. Four Tet is Kieren Hebden, the guitar player for the post-rock band Fridge. His most recent work includes three releases with legendary acid jazz drummer Steve Reid.
A friend of Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, is British piano player and producer. He has recorded many ambient and dubstep tracks. James Blake is a British singer-songwriter dubstep producer who is rising out of the underground culture of electronic music.
The world-famous Gorillaz, who have received considerable air-play in America, are the brain-child of Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur (who had a hit in Song #2, "woo-hoo!"), and comic book designer and artist Jamie Hewlett. The idea was to create a virtual band of cartoon characters. According to Wikipedia: "The music is a collaboration between various musicians, Damon being the only permanent musical contributor." When "Clint Eastwood" came out, I didn't get it, I guess I was too young. But a few years later, I found myself discovering the Gorillaz, when they released Demon Days and I found my brother's burned copy of their debut album. Enjoy this review of their singles compilation, which really gives the group its due, below.
Animal Collective is a great example of an indie electronic band. They are known for their long sustained moments of ecstasy, which often seem to come from out of nowhere in the middle of irresistibly catchy songs that often have a liking similar to The Beach Boys.
Massive Attack's Mezzanine uses lots of dark guitars playing minor chords, which fit in perfectly with the epic bass and snare. This album, therefore has elements of post-gothic rock, which is not as scary as it sounds. Heavy metal music that uses synthesizers and other electronic equipment is considered Industrial. Nine Inch Nails would be a great example of this niche. The psychedelic band Shpongle is a cross of acid-house and live instrumentation. The post-rock dance band Sound Tribe Sector 9 (or just STS9) is fantastic and spaced-out. I would say they make much better, cohesive and well-executed albums than any of the hippie jam bands with whom they often share the stage. Bonobo is a chillout, hip-hop and jungle DJ that uses his band for his studio recordings and in live performances.
This review sorts a lot out
- The Quietus | Reviews | Gorillaz
A new rock music and pop culture website.
Four Tet's production style is unique as hell! And he's the baby
Maryland's Finest. Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" drew many indie rock listeners towards electronica
Prodigy James Blake and his band
New technology has made it easier than ever for musicians to make music. And, in a way, electronica is becoming the new Indie Rock. Synthesizers and samplers can achieve heights that standard rock instruments simply cannot. The French electronic duo Air makes music with an ideal mix of synth work, programming and rock instrumentation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is music that has been produced by techno veterans that tries to achieve the "song mentality" of rock. The best example of this is German producer and label boss Sascha Ring, aka Apparat. After a few IDM and techno releases, Apparat collaborated with Telefon Tel Aviv's Justin Eustis and released Walls, the critically acclaimed symphony, which delved into many styles and was produced to a T.
Notice the high-quality music video to each "Arcadia" and "Sun the Rain." Like Massive Attack and Animal Collective's videos, the music is packaged to be appealing to the rock and pop crowd. In other words, the YouTube video isn't just a picture of the vinyl copy of the song, or some lame photo-montage.
Apparat sings and plays guitar on this track
Apparat's friend and collaborator, Ellen Allien, has a few post-techno rock tracks
His 2011 release finds Apparat and Eustis collaborating with other musicians, in The Devi's Walk. Here, Sascha has finally nestled into his warm, meloncholic sound, and flourishes vocally, as he croons on a majority of the tracks.
Apparat has also collaborated with Berlin record-bosses Modeselektor as Moderat for the past three years. Their album Moderat is an amazing work of techno, and has many tracks that dabble in dubstep, hip-hop, as well as featuring more great songs sung by Apparat.
The first Apparat song I noticed. And I'll never forget this sound.
That pretty much wraps it up for me. Please know I am not attempting to mention every electronic music genre. Nor am I attempting to concretely define these sub-genres. Check Wikipedia (above) and other links for the full explanation of any genre.
Playing this music at a house party or in your car can be a great experience. Much of the music I play on my computer speakers is electronic. Depending on my mood, I could be overheard listening to almost any of these genres.
But there is nothing like going to a club. The music was designed to be played there. It is an amazing experience to have the music take over control and to become part of the underground. It is like being let into a secret glamorous society that celebrates into the wee hours. Check out some local clubs in your area. They will normally have a bill that tells you what record label the DJ is associated with and generally what kind of EDM they will play. You know it's a rave when it says "ELECTRO HOUSE DUBSTEP TECHNO" or something to that effect, and has more than a few DJs. But a night with three tech-house DJs will rock your socks off like you have never known. You can look for your favorite artists on songkick.com to see when they are coming to town.
You may notice I have left electronic music created for hip hop and rap out of the equation. Just as I have omitted remixers and mash-upers of hip hop. Progressive Hip Hop DJs like DJ Shadow and party animals Pretty Lights and Chromeo have their place in dance music and know how to move a crowd. And, of course, everybody should listen to the greatest beat-maker of all time, Jay Dilla. But the aesthetic is not the same when the producer comes from a hip-hop, perhaps turn-table-scribbling, background. Basically, it is hard for me to listen to it for an extended period of time. Personally, I believe it does not have the same effect as the electronic music discussed here. But that should never stop you from exploring the fullest extent of your musical tastes.
Watch Booka Shade's amazing live show!
Listen to the discography of any of the artists mentioned in this article on grooveshark!
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Stay up-to-date on EDM with Resident Advisor, an online magazine
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A note about record labels
Electronica and EDM record labels exist to fulfill certain niches within sub-genres. They all have their own aesthetic or lack thereof. Record bosses will build a label which most often supplements their own musical sound, as producers. DJs and producers release material on different record labels depending on what sound they are "going for" and depending on what audience they would like to have. Likewise, the EDM listener can discover more music by surfing through the artists on a given record label.
Lucky Me, HyperDub and Hotflush are at the cutting edge, putting out a lot of the new post-house, post-dubstep music. Check out Sepalcure, Jacques Greene, Shlohmo and Koreless. The British label Warp is quite dynamic and has released music by the legendary artists Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Autechre and Plaid. Some of my favorite labels are BPitch Control and Kompact. Border Community is a wonderful British label, releasing music by brilliant artist such as Luke Abbott, label boss James Holden and Nathan Fake. My favorite new artist, Siriusmo, has released EPs on both Monkeytown and Boys Noize Records, the labels of two of my other favorite artists, Modeselektor and Boys Noize, respectively. Ed Banger is a Parisian electro and hip-hop label that is host to Mr. Oizo, Justice and DJ Medhi, who was recently tragically killed. American producer, DJ and record boss, Claude von Stroke's label Dirtybird puts out year-defining tracks. And if you love deadmau5, be sure to check out his label mau5trap, which features progressive house veteran Moguai, dubstep up-and-comer Excision and controversial powerhouse Skrillex.
Check out your favorite EDM artist's record label online. Like you and me, these artists are people that put a lot of hard work into what they do. Support good music and good music will support you.