EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music. It is a collective term for a number of musical styles that have emerged from the rave and techno scenes of the 1990s through to the present day. Although this has evolved as a sub-genre within the broader area of electronic dance music, it is often thought of and referred to as one particular style of music. This article will describe and offer some examples of the many genres that can be grouped under the banner of ‘EDM’.
The first part of the sub-genre – Electronic Dance Music – refers to the varied nature of the music. Traditionally, this music has been considered as electronica, rhythm and melody, or a mixture of these elements. These days, however, EDM often incorporates more traditional or classical elements or takes traditional styles and blends them with modern ones. Traditionally, techno songs have been known to incorporate ‘acid’, ‘techno bass’, ‘breaks’ and other percussion-based sounds. These are now more common with ‘trap’, ‘house’, or ‘pop’ styles of music, although traditional or classical songs are by no means written off the list.
The second sub-genre is the typical artist, featuring artists such as Tiesto, Jive or specialised sections of artists such as Armin van Buenrol, minus the bass line. A good example of this is the German band Embrace, whose lead vocalist, Christoph Czuci, fronts the band Embrace with his brother, Kaleidoscope. While Embrace might not sound like much at first, their blend of traditional electronic dance music with electronica, pop and classic instruments is an excellent listen.
Garage bands are another example of a sub-genre within electronic dance music. Often featuring a traditional instrument (sometimes the guitar), garage bands create an atmosphere of excitement and energy in dance clubs. Some examples include the German band Schaumgummi and the British band Therapy. They have managed to combine the styles of pop, house and techno into their live set, and their popularity has continued to grow. This is another example of EDM and its evolution within the wider context of popular music.
Finally, there is also what is sometimes called “EDM Progressive”, which is becoming increasingly popular. This style is characterized by slow, dramatic rhythms that build only on repeated sections of vocals, as well as a general lack of musicality. A typical example of this style is the work of artists such as Florian cohum, whose ‘Time And Affect’ series are full of beautiful, slow tracks that slowly build tension before building momentum. Other examples are the French group Justice, and London-based outfit Digital Hotel. With a core group of musicians who all come from different musical backgrounds, it’s no wonder that the style of this type of electronic dance music has become particularly popular.
So what does any of this have to do with dubstep and how can one incorporate it into their own electronic dance music album? Well, the obvious is that artists who create a lot of traditional, ‘EDM’ music are naturally going to be able to take elements of it and modify it for new types of sound. If they’re already doing this, then why not do it for EDM? The beauty about ‘EDM Progressive’ and ‘EDM House’ is that they are both very complimentary to one another. Whereas dubstep is a highly individual genre that tends to sound good when used with certain elements, both progressive and house tend to sound great with a wide variety of electronic dance music.
As you might imagine, producers looking for an electronic dance music album to add some additional texture to their work often turn to producers who create their entire albums in this style. It makes perfect sense – not only does every track sound great when mixed in a certain way, but the song structure is largely built around a solid base of musical ideas. What’s more, these tracks also tend to have a pronounced danceable element, as is common with modern dance music. In many cases, this can even come as a result of the producer playing around with different instruments and sounds. It makes perfect sense to use your brain in making electronic music – after all, the point of making music is to make it as interactive as possible!
Another way an artist can incorporate EDM into their work is to make their whole album more ‘danceable’. A lot of producers these days are happy to take elements from wider genres of electronic dance music and blend them together, usually in a rather ‘clunky’ manner. This doesn’t mean they aren’t genuine artists – if you know what you’re doing, you can create something truly unique. Just remember that whatever you mix up, whether it’s vocals, guitars or synths, you need to make sure it works well with the rest of your album. Otherwise, it will sound like a mess.