Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music taste ‘linked to drug use’

January 1, 2009

More than a quarter of classical music fans have tried cannabis, says a study from the University of Leicester.

Researchers were trying to find out what people’s taste in music revealed about their lifestyles.

They discovered that fans of every style of music had taken drugs, with those who preferred DJ-based club music topping the list. (more…)

Nirvana baby 17 years later!

November 12, 2008

Now 17 years old, Spencer Elden recreated the Nirvana "Nevermind" cover

Radiohead

October 7, 2008

I knew I liked Lily . . .

July 15, 2008

I love Justice

July 2, 2008

Electronic genres

June 1, 2008

House Music

House Music

House music is a style of electronic music that originated in Chicago and New York in the early 1980s. New York too has played an integral part in the development of house music, which is considered a direct descendant of disco music. House music is characterized by a 4/4 beat, meaning there is a prominent kick drum every beat (or every quarter note of a bar). A drum machine or another electronic instrument usually creates the kick drum in house music. House music often has a continuous, repetitive synth bassline and uses a variety of electronic sounds and samples taken from other music genres including jazz, disco, blues and pop. House music generally falls between 118 and 135 beats per minute (BPM). There is some debate surrounding how ‘house’ music first received its name. In the early 1980s underground warehouse parties become popular in Chicago, and one of these venues was known as ‘The Warehouse’. The music played at ‘The Warehouse’, especially that of resident DJ Frankie Knuckles, was referred to by patrons as ‘house’ music. Larry Heard, aka ‘Mr Fingers’ claims that the term ‘house’ referred to the fact that many DJs created the music in their own homes using simple electronic equipment, drum machines and synthesizers. Chip E. was the first person to describe house music on a record with his track ‘It’s House’, but he claims that the term originated from the way that records were labeled at the Imports Etc. record store where he worked in the early 1980s.

Electro House

As the name implies, electro house encompasses primary elements from both the electro and house genres. While maintaining the straight 4/4 beat structure of house, electro house incorporates elements from the electro sound, such as sharp melodic analogue synthesizer hits and basslines. As with house music, vocals are also sometimes a part of the electro house sound. The tempo for electro house is often slightly accelerated from standard house, residing somewhere between 125 to 135 beats per minute (BPM). The foundation for electro house is house music, which itself is founded on multiple genres including jazz, funk, disco, soul and r&b. House was established in the 1980s in Chicago and New York in the United States by artists such as Larry Heard, Frankie Knuckles, Loose Joints and Larry Levan. Electro house came into prominence in the mid-2000s after the electroclash scene brought a pop sentiment to electronic music. With electroclash’s incorporation of indie rock’s use of electronic equipment to create its sound, indie rock had unintentionally become an element that affected the evolution of electro house. After the electroclash sound had run its brief but potent course, the distilled pop effect is what resulted in electro house. Electro house is designed for the dancefloor and has gained interest from both the indie rock crowd and traditional house fans.

Minimal

A derivative of techno, ‘minimal’ is short for minimal techno. The name of the genre refers to stripping back elements of the otherwise layered techno sound to their foundations. It creates a very pared down effect — in essence, minimizing the sound. The name ‘minimal’ (the term is also used in art) takes its cue from modern avant-garde composers who have associated themselves with a minimalist music movement; Terry Reily, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Philip Glass being leading examples. The composers stripped back sound elements to a bare minimum to create an altogether unique result. The output was dissonant, and, at times inaccessible. After the sound had become populated with multiple elements and layers, producers within the techno community took a similar approach at the turn of the century. Steady, driving rhythms in the range of 120 to 135 beats per minute (BPM) serve as the foundation, while repetitive vocals or otherwise looped elements drive a type of melodic line. Much like its foundation on modern avant composition, minimal techno at its purest is sometimes considered inaccessible. Into the mid to late-2000s, the term had gradually been used to describe tracks with a pared down rhythm that often incorporated highly melodic lines. Nearly as a reaction to what some had considered an incorrect application of the word, the term ‘maximal’ was introduced. Berlin as seen through the eyes of Detroit played an important role in the creation of the sound. Early experimenters with the style include Daniel Bell, Rob Hood and Richie Hawtin (with his aptly entitled Minus record label), who are all strong representatives of the genre today.

Techno

Developed in Detroit in the mid-1980s, the term ‘techno’ derives from the word ‘technology’, and is a direct reference to the electronic instruments and devices that are used to create this particular strain of electronic music. Along with influences from western Europe and Japan from the late 1970s, techno is influenced by Chicago house, new wave and electro. Techno is sometimes mistakenly used as a general term to describe electronic music, but it is only one genre of electronic music. It is widely accepted that techno was primarily developed by three college students from Detroit, known as the ‘Belleville Three’, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. It emerged around the same time as Chicago house music and was initially conceived as party music. Techno features a large number of percussive synthetic electronic sounds, and usually has a defined 4/4 beat (a prominent kick drum every quarter note of a bar) with a tempo of between 127 and 140 beats per minute (BPM). Techno is mainly instrumental and is produced with the intent of being included in DJ sets. Because it is mainly instrumental it is very DJ friendly. It is sequencer driven, and created mainly with electronic machines and samplers. Following the success of Detroit techno, the music spread globally, and there are now a number of techno sub-genres including minimal, acid and tech house. Recently techno has experienced a renaissance thanks to a surge in popularity for minimal techno, particularly for the music emanating from Berlin, Germany.

Progressive House

Progressive house (also known as prog or prog house) is a form of electronic music that originated in Britain in the early 1990s. Guerilla Records is the first record label credited with releasing the first progressive house records, and the term is said to have been coined by Dom Phillips, the editor of British music magazine Mixmag, as a way to describe the output of Guerilla. British DJs Sasha and John Digweed, through a residency at the club Renaissance in Mansfield, UK were instrumental in popularizing the sound in the early 1990s. Progressive house has a similar drum structure (4/4) and tempo as house music, but it has deeper, dubbier basslines and a more emotional melodic edge. Whereas house music contains obvious builds ups and troughs, progressive house is more subtle and focuses more on atmosphere than prominent lead melodies and beat structure. A key idea of the progressive movement is the layering of sounds and bringing them in and out of a mix, and due to the complexities of the sound, it is considered a deeper form of house music. A progressive house track is also typically longer than a house track because it generally has a longer bar structure. In the mid-1990s, progressive house featured a hypnotic, melodic edge, but as the genre trance became more popular and melodic, progressive house darkened and fused with tribal house and other genres, to become a more underground minimal alternative to trance. The term progressive has since become synonymous with musical genres that are open-minded enough to include new sounds and many dance music genres have developed sub-genres based on the progressive idea, including progressive breaks and progressive trance.

Drum & Bass

The term drum & bass is often interchanged with ‘jungle’. Both terms refer to the use of fast-paced, syncopated (nearly polyrhythmic) percussion alongside deep, often menacing basslines. (It should be noted, however, that many would contend that the creation of jungle had a direct effect on the evolution of drum & bass.) Significantly, drum & bass features a broken beat, as opposed to the 4/4 kick drum pattern of house and techno. It clocks in at a relatively rapid pace of between 160 and 180 beats per minute (BPM). Created for big room soundsystems, the most poignant element of a drum & bass track is its bassline which is normally always loud, aggressive and meant to be ‘felt’ as well as heard. Reggae-style vocals are often present, giving direct reference to dancehall. Several synthesized layers act as a glue for the intense and varied rhythms. One-off acetate or white label promos were often passed through the underground circuit as drum & bass was being established. Photek, A Guy Called Gerald, Aphrodite and 4hero were known artists within the community, while artists such as Goldie, Roni Size and LTJ Bukem helped to bring the sound into the mainstream. Several subgenres have been created as a result of the influence of drum & bass; these genres include techstep, breakcore, nubreaks, darkcore and liquid drum & bass.

Trance

Trance is a style of electronic music that developed in the 1990s in Germany and the UK. Arguably trance is a fusion of ambient music, techno and house and it shares much in common with techno in terms of tempo and rhythm but it features a more melodic edge. The melodies in trance differ from house in that they tend to be more emotional and uplifting. Like techno and house, Trance is characterized by a 4/4 kick drum signature (a kick drum every quarter note of a bar). It generally has a tempo of between 130 and 160 beats per minute (BPM). Trance music is famous for its crescendos and breakdowns. Hi hats in trance are generally on the off-beat and major transitions, builds ups and climaxes are often introduced with a lengthy snare roll. Frankfurt, Germany is often said to be the birthplace of trance as some of its earliest pioneers hailed from the city including Jam El Mar, Oliver Lieb and Sven Väth. But back in 1988 British acid house group The KLF defined the term ‘trance’ on their record ‘What Time Is Love’. By the mid-1990s, trance producers began to experiment with more anthemic basslines and harmonic lead melodies, and as a result the genre entered the mainstream. This in turn led to the development of commercial trance music, with vocals playing an integral part in the popularization of the sound. Trance is said to be a ‘big room sound’ because of its ability to move a large amount of people and the genre’s most popular DJs will often play to audiences numbering tens of thousands in stadiums and at festivals.

Electronica

Electronica is a general that encompasses the various forms of electronic music, be it listening, ambient or dance. The term came about as an attempt to find an umbrella term for the infusion of elements into electronic music, namely world sounds and pop variations. Because of the varied nature of the term, some confusion exists in the actual definition. The term electronica became more relevant in the 1990s as electronics gradually replace the rhythm section in music. Electronic acts that gained popularity were often associated with the genre; artists such as Orbital, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Moby an d Enigma all represented the genre. In the mid-1990s, the term was used mainly to describe electronic music in the mainstream that has retained a pop or rock sensibility. The term ‘electronica’ then became somewhat contentious; disappointed with the notion, many steadfast fans of electronic music had grown weary of its usage for its strong association with the commercial realm, which is contrary to where electronic music was initially generated. The term still applies today to describe the sound generally and also to refer to the genre’s main representatives. When ‘electronica’ is used for new artists today, it is commonly done so in a miscellaneous fashion mainly when other genre descriptions don’t apply to the musical output. The term also encompasses another term: IDM (intelligent dance music).

Tech House

As the name suggests, tech house is a fusion of techno and house. Whereas progressive house incorporates atmospheric textures and ambient sounds, tech house has much more in common with deep house, Detroit techno and minimal techno. DJ and producer Mr. C, who co-owns The End nightclub in London is said to have first coined the term ‘tech house’. Tech house has the same structure and tempo of house (between 118 and 135 beats per minute), however some elements of the house sound are replaced by techno elements. For instance, tech house often has a shorter, deeper and more distorted kick drum than house music and noisier snares and shorter hi hats (synonymous with techno). Basslines in tech house are usually more synthetic sounding than house, with tech house producers favouring square wave and sawtooth oscillators. Tech house can sometimes be jazzy and soulful, and at other times dubby and techno orientated and as a result there is some overlap between tech house and its surrounding genres. Therefore it is quite popular with DJs who like to play many different styles and moods. It is also generally deeper and more laid back than either techno or house. Tech house is often called ‘groovy’ because tech house tracks have less builds ups and troughs than house or trance, and if a number of tech house tracks are played in succession they will create more of an even groove than a progressive house or trance set which aims at building towards a peak.