Electronic dance music or EDM describes a wide range of musical styles, which have grown out of and are influenced by the more ‘traditional’ forms of music that came before it. The birth place of this movement is the early decade of the 1990s, when rave music and urban minimalism gained momentum. Today, race continues to be a major influence, but with an increased focus on’Disclosure, Blond, Foxy, Akon, and many others. This evolution of electronic dance music can be seen in the growth of ‘breaks’, a term which describes the repeated’snapping and popping’ of drum beats and bass sounds in popular break music. In the last few years breakcore and grime have also gained considerable popularity.
The term ‘breaks’ (as used in this article) was first used in the genre of break-style dance music, which was a sub-genre of garage dance. Garage is a style of hard electronica which started to gain popularity in the early 1990s. From its beginnings in early 1970s New York techno and ‘umbrella’ disco, break music moved into the mainstream with the success of hip hop and rap. While these other styles of electronic dance music had many unique characteristics, the production quality was poor. For this reason, breakcore was able to take the sound quality of popular music and improve on it. Over the last few years breakcore artists have increasingly turned towards the mainstream, but this has also seen a new group of artists emerge, predominantly from Britain and Europe, who have embraced breakcore as a sound all of their own.
As the evolution of electronic dance music continues, new genres will spring up like mushrooms after the rain. These are only a sample of the styles which are likely to surface in the future. It will be exciting to see how this new breed of dance musicians shapes the future of dance music.
What influences the future of electronic dance music? Future dance music should have an identity – one which is recognisable to fans and critics alike. It needs a distinctive sound that is influenced by the influences of world dance history such as ballet, folk, modern and contemporary dance styles, African and tribal music.
The evolution of electronic dance music will most likely continue in the future to take further advances in sound production and sequencing. There is already a wealth of opportunities for producers in the new wave of electronic dance music. The availability of software tools and hardware tools makes it possible for the creation of intricate and unique Dance Mixes. The ability to quickly revise and edit pre-recorded dance tracks enables ambitious producers to build music that they are happy with. The evolution of dance music will continue to provide new challenges and opportunities to talented producers.
What about the fans? The emergence of electronic dance Music has given the die-hard fans another opportunity to express their inner self. Electronic dance is often perceived to be “ultra underground”, but this is not true. Major dance labels now distribute and promote electronic dance albums, and the quality of music is starting to rise from the high standards that had been seen in the past.
Will electronic dance music still exist in 20 years time? Most people will remember the first DJ CD’s with big speakers and keyboards, but over the last few years the technology used has become cheaper and easier to use. This is probably because the original techno artists took inspiration from existing forms of popular music such as Jazz and House. Some people think that electronic dance will completely replace traditional dance in the future, but this is something that many people do not foresee. Traditional dance will always remain and will find new and interesting ways to evolve into the future.
The future of electronic music may not have a clearly defined direction, but the evolution of electronic music will no doubt continue to grow into bold new directions. It is important for us as the general public to support this new form of electronic music and ensure that it continues to flourish. By doing so we can ensure that it develops in the correct and positive direction, helping to define new borders and open up whole new areas of creative expression for the future.