What is electronic dance music? It is an umbrella term encompassing a vast array of electronic music that falls beneath the genre of club music. Electronic dance music is a generic term that describes a wide spectrum of electronic musical styles which have become increasingly popular in North America and Europe over the last twenty years. Electronic dance music tends to cross genre boundaries, and includes everything from classical music to hip hop and everything in between. Most DJs can play a wide variety of electronic dance music in a given set, and it has helped to take dance music to new heights as a mainstream form of entertainment.
Club music, the term that encompasses everything from house to breakcore, was the first genre to popularize EDM. As its popularity increased, other EDM genres emerged, including tribal, techno, and pop/rock. Nowadays, electronic dance music often crosses genre lines, incorporating popular music like pop, hip hop, rock, techno, and metal into its sound. Club music is one of the few genres that has consistently achieved popularity across both platforms.
The birth of the Internet has also led to the evolution and development of many subgenres and genres. One such subgenre is the “tech” sound. This refers to futuristic and hard techno, often mixed with elements from home electronics. A great example of a genre of this type is the Los Angeles based band Dancewear, which has created a buzz and following online due to their original hard techno sound. Other examples of this type of electronic dance music include the Swedish House Mafia and Diplobacterium, who are well known producers and DJs in the UK and Europe respectively.
Another subgenre is the “house” sound. This is generally associated with pop/rock but can encompass other genres. Examples of labels working in this arena are Dot Matrix and Antwirl. “Gangsta” or “robe” DJ’s are also members of this type of electronic music. This form is particularly popular in European circles, but is rapidly growing in popularity in the US and Canada as well.
“PC Bangs” and “Warp” are the terms often used to describe the breakdown techno of the mid-2021’s. This form is characterized by long, fast breaks that occur during a mix. PC bangs often cross traditional clubbing beats but often are different from themselves. One example of a break from PC bangs is grime and industrial music. This subgenre is especially popular in the US, especially in the big room and hip-hop clubs.
The term “Dubstep” describes a wide range of electronic dance music that originates from the UK. It is characterized by complex drum programming but has been widely adopted by other international artists as well. Dubstep is most commonly heard in cities with large populations of people who enjoy dancing. Examples of performers who have popularized dubstep include Oli Sykes and WLS. Dubstep is quickly growing in popularity in North America as well.
“Trance” describes a large number of closely related subgenres of electronic dance music. This can be hard to classify due to the fact that trance is not typically defined in terms of time or tempo. A typical trance track will be one that is very slow and will progress into a faster pace. A great many house music tracks fit this description, as well as many popular breakdancing tracks. Club tracks that fall under this umbrella are often hard to find, but are rapidly gaining in popularity.
These four major subgenres of electronic dance music provide an excellent framework for understanding this exciting electronic music. The subgenres themselves reflect the sound of rave, techno, break dancing, house, and club music. Each one exhibits a distinct quality that sets it apart from its contemporaries.