Intelligent Dance Music
Generally people would refer to this genre as "IDM".
Fundamentally, it would be a sub genre of Electronic Dance Music that emerged during the early 1990s and was characterised by an experimental or "cerebral" sound often intended for home listening rather than dancing.
- 1 Intro
- 2 History & Info
- 3 IDM Artists
It was initially influenced by a wide variety of sources, including developments in underground dance music such as Detroit Techno and UK Breakbeat as well styles that included - Electronica, Techno, Ambient, Ambient House, Ambient Techno, Acid House, Rave, Hip Hop, Breakbeat, Industrial, Krautrock, Jungle, Avant-Garde, EBM, and other forms of electronic music.
Stylistically, IDM tended to rely upon individualistic experimentation rather than adhering to characteristics associated with specific genres.
The term "Intelligent Dance Music" has been widely criticised and rejected by so-labeled artists as derogatory towards other styles.
The term is said to have originated in the US in 1993 with the formation of the "IDM list", an electronic mailing list originally chartered for the discussion of a number of prominent English artists appearing on the 1992 Warp compilation Artificial Intelligence.
In 2014, music critic Sasha Frere-Jones observed that the term "is widely reviled but still commonly used".
History & Info
In the late 1980s, riding the wave of the Acid House and early Rave party scenes, UK-based artists such as The Orb and The KLF produced Ambient House, a genre that fused House music (particularly Acid House) with Ambient music.
The term Ambient House was often indiscriminately applied to any of that era's Electronic Dance Music regarded as suitable for listening, not just dancing, and the term soon fell out of favor as a plethora of new genre names arose.
A parallel progression occurred in Techno music, with artists such as the UK's Aphex Twin and Japan's Tetsu Inoue producing what the press called "Ambient Techno", combining the melodic & rhythmic elements of dancefloor-oriented Techno with elements of Ambient and other experimental music.
By the early 1990s, the increasingly distinct music associated with this experimentation had gained prominence with releases on a variety of mostly UK-based record labels, including Warp (1989), Black Dog Productions (1989), R&S Records (1989), Carl Craig's Planet E, Rising High Records (1991), Richard James's Rephlex Records (1991), Kirk Degiorgio's Applied Rhythmic Technology (1991), Eevo Lute Muzique (1991), General Production Recordings (1989), Soma Quality Recordings (1991), Peacefrog Records (1991), and Metamorphic Recordings (1992).
Intelligent Techno and Electronica
In 1992, Warp released Artificial Intelligence, the first album in the Artificial Intelligence series. Subtitled "electronic listening music from Warp", the record was a collection of tracks from artists such as Autechre, B12, The Black Dog, Aphex Twin and The Orb, under various aliases. Steve Beckett, co-owner of Warp, has said the electronic music that the label was releasing then was targeting a post-club, home-listening audience.
Following the success of the Artificial Intelligence series, "Intelligent Techno" became the favored term, although Ambient without a qualifying House or Techno suffix, but still referring to a hybrid form—was a common synonym.
In the same period (1992–93), other names were also used, such as "art techno," "armchair techno," and "electronica", but all were attempts to describe an emerging offshoot of Electronic Dance Music that was being enjoyed by the "sedentary and stay at home".
At the same time, the UK market was saturated with increasingly frenetic Breakbeat and sample-laden Hardcore Techno records that quickly became formulaic. Rave had become a "dirty word," so as an alternative, it was common for London nightclubs to advertise that they were playing "intelligent" or "pure" Techno, appealing to a "discerning" crowd that considered the Hardcore sound to be too "commercial'.
In 1993, a number of new "Intelligent Techno"/"Electronica" record labels emerged, including New Electronica, Mille Plateaux, 100% Pure, and Ferox Records.
The IDM List
In November 1991, the phrase "intelligent techno" appeared on Usenet in reference to Coil's The Snow EP. Off the Internet, the same phrase appeared in both the U.S. & UK music press in late 1992, in reference to Jam & Spoon's Tales from a Danceographic Ocean and the music of The Future Sound of London. Another instance of the phrase appeared on Usenet in April 1993 in reference to The Black Dog's album Bytes, and in July 1993, in his review of an ethno-dance compilation for NME, Ben Willmott replaced Techno with dance music, writing "...current 'intelligent' dance music owes much more to Eastern mantra-like repetition and neo-ambient instrumentation than the disco era which preceded the advent of acid and techno."
Wider public use of such terms on the Internet came in August 1993, when Alan Parry announced the existence of a new electronic mailing list for discussion of "intelligent" dance music: the "Intelligent Dance Music list", or "IDM List" for short.
The first message, sent on 1 August 1993, was entitled "Can Dumb People Enjoy IDM, Too?". A reply from the list server's system administrator, Brian Behlendorf, revealed that Parry originally wanted to create a list devoted to discussion of the music on the Rephlex label, but they decided together to expand its charter to include music similar to what was on Rephlex or that was in different genres but which had been made with similar approaches. They picked the word "intelligent" because it had already appeared on Artificial Intelligence and because it connoted being something beyond just music for dancing, while still being open to interpretation.
Artists that appeared in the first discussions on the list included Autechre, Atom Heart, LFO and Rephlex Records artists such as Aphex Twin, μ-Ziq and Luke Vibert; plus artists such as The Orb, Richard H. Kirk and The Future Sound of London, and even artists like System 7, William Orbit, Sabres of Paradise, Orbital, Plastikman and Björk. By the end of 1996, Boards of Canada and the Schematic Records label were among the usual topics of discussion, alongside perennial favorites like Aphex Twin and the Warp repertoire.
As of 2015, the mailing list is still active.
In the mid-1990s, North American audiences welcomed IDM, and many IDM record labels were founded, including Drop Beat, Isophlux, Suction, Schematic and Cytrax. In Miami, Florida, labels like Schematic, Merck Records, Nophi Recordings and The Beta Bodega Coalition released material by artists such as Phoenecia, Dino Felipe, Machinedrum and Proem. Another burgeoning scene was the Chicago/Milwaukee area, with labels such as Addict, Chocolate Industries, Hefty and Zod supporting artists like Doormouse, TRS-80 and Emotional Joystick. Tigerbeat 6, a San Francisco-based label has released IDM from artists such as Cex, Kid 606 and Kevin Blechdom.
Contemporary IDM artists include Team Doyobi, Himuro Yoshiteru, Kettel, Ochre, Marumari, Benn Jordan, Proem, Lackluster, Arovane, Ulrich Schnauss, East India Youth, C418 and Wisp, among many others.
This list could also include a countless amount of remixes from artists who would generally be included within the genres of -
The Alpha Conspiracy
Carbon Based Lifeforms
Casino Versus Japan
Curse of the Golden Vampire
Diagram of Suburban Chaos
Eight Frozen Modules
The Gaslamp Killer
Jackson and his Computer Band
Jokers of the Scene
Keston and Westdal
Kevin Martin / The Bug
Mouse on Mars
Oneohtrix Point Never
Suns of Arqa
Telefon Tel Aviv
To Rococo Rot
Two Lone Swordsmen
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