The moniker of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) covers a ton of ground. The mega-genre holds its roots in the dancefloor with its drum machines pumping dopamine through bouncing crowds. Since the start, electronic music has danced between nearly every genre; disco, synthpop, techno, house music and so forth have all been categorized as EDM, as the genre is so broad. The novelty of electronic sounds was impossibly interesting, and tradition eventually gave way. Really, everyone was curious about where this new kind of sound could lead them. I even found an old video of Canadian jazz legend Oscar Peterson messing around with synths!
Given the versatility of electronic synthesis and improved methods of music production, there were so many places for musicians to go with their sound. In the ‘70s, artists were testing the limits of their machines to force something new out, but today, everyone has options at their disposal. Along this path, different forms of electronic music have forged their way across the world into popular spaces as well as the underground.
The discography of Daft Punk is a fantastic showcase of how electronic dance music has evolved since the 2000s. They started off with hip-hop and punk-inspired four-to-the-floor beats involving heavy syncopation and generous sample use. Their first record, “Homework”, has a lot of super eccentric and experimental tracks going on, like “Rollin’” and “Scratchin”. This song goes on for seven and a half minutes and sounds freaking odd. The first semblance of something that might be called a melody comes in at around the two-minute mark in the form of an extremely distorted bass. I think it sounds sick, but it isn’t exactly radio-friendly. The name of the track suits it well, as if they were just messing around and seeing what random sounds they could conjure. To me, this is the essence of early EDM. Daft Punk follows in the steps of Kraftwerk before them, making some raw and wild music. Over time, the band jump-started the trend of EDM into mainstream media. Discovery was more accessibly dancy and club-friendly, while Random Access Memories was radio-friendly as hell.
Despite the influence of Daft Punk, it is important to note that electronic music has always diverged into many countless categories. The number of genres included in this umbrella is uncountable. Within the same name, we have techno rave bangers alongside “Take on Me” by a-ha. Today, everything has its place within certain spaces. Currently, EDM has taken hold of club culture, with remixes or collaborations with popular pop artists. EDM can be found almost anywhere from festivals, to parties, and even somewhere as local as Stages. To me, this is the wonder of electronic music. Everyone can enjoy it, and everyone you know likely has. It has found its way into our souls, inspiring us, firing us up, and bringing us back down to earth. We should learn from electronic music as it will evolve for as long as we live, never stagnating, always seeking a new frontier.
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