Originally Posted by BlakeT
Good info DecentLevi. I've been fully immersed in the electronic music scene for many many years. You are totally correct in your comments.
Warning, soap-box rant coming:
Having acknowledged that, I wanted to point out some personal biases/feelings I have on the ridiculous categorization, subcategorization, sub-sub categorization, that takes place within the electronic music genre....... namely, I personally detest the over-categorizing that takes place within the electronic music genre.
I find the labels used to categorize the types of electronic music to be nonsensical and practically useless (IDM, for example). To newcomers, the sheer number of categories must be overwhelming. I don't like placing category labels on music because I view them as boundaries/rules, which strangle the soul of the music itself. I really wish these labels did not exist. I know many may disagree but that's my two cents. Perhaps it is something in me that doesn't like being bound by rules, whereas others like these labels in order to make sense of what they are hearing. I dunno.
To be clear DecentLevi, I know you didn't create the labels and are just reporting the facts so this is nothing against what you wrote as you are, of course, correct. But in my opinion- screw these dumb labels.
Hello, I'll start with a useful tip - from my experiences it should be no problem to "strongly disagree" with any points on Head-fi, just as long as your disagreement is done in a way that is constructive rather than offensive - and you had done it right so don't be too afraid to speak your mind!
Personally, I think genre / sub-genre (style) labels are helpful overall with electronic music. I see your point where somebody new to the scene be overwhelmed if shown the entire list, but at least having a list of styles increases the likelyhood that they will chance across the style that suits them best - and once they do find the one they like, they can use the name of that style to find more similar artists.
I have also pondered the notion that labels are limiting from a creativity standpoint... and yes, indeed, too many (especially mainstream) electronic acts formulate their entire album based upon one super-small style concept, making all their songs sound almost the same. But I myself am an (aspiring) electronic music artist (name Modlift), and when I make a song I generally start out with a specific genre in mind then base the BPM, beat pattern, etc. off of that style but one thing that sets my method apart from others is that I feel free to give myself unlimited freedom to veer from that course, injecting experiments into the mix / breaking the traditional mix formula, etc. so that my end result may come out to more of a hybrid of genre's; and sometimes even uncategorizeable or experimental noize.
I think the golden rule of understanding the basic layout of electronic music, especially for newcomers would be this:
- DOWNTEMPO (generally 80 - 116 BPM "beats per minute")
If you know you like artists like Tricky, Massive Attack, Bonobo etc. then you know you like downtempo and can find other similar trip hop and lounge/chillout styles.
- EDM (generally 118 - 136 BPM)
If you know you like artists like Steve Aoki or Calvin Harris, then you like EDM. Similar tempo is Chemical Brothers and Fluke, which is more big-beat / electro style. If you like Skrillex and Avicii that you like slightly slower style called dubstep.
- TECHNO (generally 138 - 190 BPM)
If you like house artists like Todd Terrie then you would probably also like tech-house artists like Underworld. Likewise if you like Scooter then you will probably like the slightly faster styles of techno, hardstyle, trance and maybe even breakcore; although that can range from 224 - 300+ BPM.
+ (maybe) AMBIENT: (0 BPM )
If you like the slowest songs from the likes of FSOL, the Orb and Aphex Twin then you like the ambient style, and there is a new genre called power-ambient which is similar to experimental noize and minimal which have an endlessly growing underground scene as well.
So in my opinion if you can at least understand those 3 main styles then you're on your way to finding other more specific sub-genres under them.