When you hear the term electronic dance music, what comes to your mind? Perhaps it is the funky eighties style that has come and gone. Maybe you think of big beats with a lot of bass or other things. It seems that the styles and sounds of this music have been the standard in dance music for decades. So where did it all start?
The music that we know today began as the sounds of rave parties. People were able to get together in clubs, get wild and express themselves in ways they never could before. It was at this time that people started to take notice of the new electronic dance music. A new trend was born. There are many different elements to the sound that has changed the way dance music is heard today.
When scratching out acid techno music from a CD, there will be a noticeable presence of new wave, breakcore, lo-fi, drum and rhythm and even classical music. These newer styles mixed with old-time music. It sounded as though the tracks were put together in real time, almost as if they were part of an interactive event. This was the beginning of ‘rave’ or ‘house’.
As the popularity of this music increased, manufacturers began to produce CDs that had ‘real’ sounds. Many people thought this meant the music was much better quality. Loose joints, ‘Psy trance’, ‘tech’ and other new sounds were introduced. It was at this point that people really began to realise that electronic dance music had moved from the b-boys and b-girls club scene to a genuine fan following. This is the age of CD burning and MP3s.
Since the 1990s, the sound has continued to evolve. Technicians from around the world have been sharing their knowledge via Internet forums and message boards. New electronic styles have emerged. Electronic dance music has even influenced new artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Skrillex and many others.
Nowadays, people tend to think of this music as being ‘retro’. However, many producers use modern techniques to create the sounds on an electronic set. The new image of this music brings a fresh dimension. It has become more acceptable than ever for mainstream consumers to appreciate new styles.
Some producers have completely redone classic tracks. These have been re-recorded using modern technology and soundboards. They have also added their own touch, style and flair. A new generation of electronic music lovers are discovering this side of rave culture and are now giving this music another go.
There are thousands of sub-genres of electronic dance music. Some of them you might recognise from popular TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and What’s The Girl Doing. Others you may not have heard of at all. Others are much more rare and hard to find. If you love dance music and appreciate quality then chances are you’ll be familiar with many of these styles. Finding them online is very easy these days and if you can’t get enough of them then why not take a look at a few of the sites out there.
Techno-babble is where things get really interesting. Basically this term refers to producing your own music. It is about taking an idea and making something unique out of it. It takes a level of ability that might be found in some people and produces amazing results. People with musical talent can often produce music that sounds incredibly amazing and people who don’t know a single line of tune can do the same.
Another option is creating your own beats online. This is a fairly simple process and many people are doing this at home these days. You’ll need a decent computer and an audio interface (stereo or mono). Then you’ll need a sequencer program.
One of the key aspects of producing electronic dance music is to get it onto a computer. This can be a daunting task. There are plenty of softwares that will do this. One such program is the GarageBand software, which allows you to create and edit beats online without needing a guitar, an MP3 player or a drum machine. The software will handle everything from recording to sequencing, so you can work on the dancefloor as usual, but once you have it loaded up, you can play back any of your beats from anywhere in the world.
So there you have it – the basics of electronic dance music. If you’re new to the world of electronic dance music, or even just want to refine what you already know, these tips will help you on your way. Focus on getting creative rather than perfect. Keep the main thing that should matter most to you, that’s enjoying yourself! You’ll make much more headway this way!