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Electronic dance music

Electronic dance music (EDM), also known as dance music, club music, or simply dance, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix, by segueing from one recording to another. EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, following the emergence of raving, pirate radios and an upsurge of interest in club culture, EDM achieved widespread mainstream popularity in Europe. In the United States at that time, acceptance of dance culture was not universal; although both electro and Chicago house music were influential both in Europe and the United States, mainstream media outlets and the record industry remained openly hostile to it. There was also a perceived association between EDM and drug culture, which led governments at state and city level to enact laws and policies intended to halt the spread of rave culture.

Subsequently, in the new millennium, the popularity of EDM increased globally, largely in Australia and the United States. By the early 2010s, the term "electronic dance music" and the initialism "EDM" was being pushed by the American music industry and music press in an effort to rebrand American rave culture. Despite the industry's attempt to create a specific EDM brand, the initialism remains in use as an umbrella term for multiple genres, including dance-pop, house, techno, trance, drum and bass, dubstep, trap and footwork as well as their respective subgenres.

History



Various EDM genres have evolved over the last 40 years, for example; house, techno, dance-pop etc. Stylistic variation within an established EDM genre can lead to the emergence of what is called a subgenre. Hybridization, where elements of two or more genres are combined, can lead to the emergence of an entirely new genre of EDM.

Precursors



In the late 1960s bands such as Silver Apples created electronic music that was intended to be danced to. Other early examples of music that influenced later electronic dance music include Jamaican dub music during the late 1960s to 1970s, the synthesizer-based disco music of Italian producer Giorgio Moroder in the late 1970s, and the electro-pop of Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra in the mid-to-late 1970s.

Dub

Author Michael Veal considers dub music, a Jamaican music stemming from roots reggae and sound system culture that flourished between 1968 and 1985, to be one of the important precursors to contemporary electronic dance music. Dub productions were remixed reggae tracks that emphasized rhythm, fragmented lyrical and melodic elements, and reverberant textures. The music was pioneered by studio engineers, such as Sylvan Morris, King Tubby, Errol Thompson, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Scientist. Their productions included forms of tape editing and sound processing that Veal considers comparable to techniques used in musique concrète. Dub producers made improvised deconstructions of existing multi-track reggae mixes by using the studio mixing board as a performance instrument. They also foregrounded spatial effects such as reverb and delay by using auxiliary send routings creatively. The Roland Space Echo, manufactured by Roland Corporation, was widely used by dub producers in the 1970s to produce echo and delay effects.

Despite the limited electronic equipment available to dub pioneers such as King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry, their experiments in remix culture were musically cutting-edge. Ambient dub was pioneered by King Tubby and other Jamaican sound artists, using DJ-inspired ambient electronics, complete with drop-outs, echo, equalization and psychedelic electronic effects. It featured layering techniques and incorporated elements of world music, deep bass lines and harmonic sounds. Techniques such as a long echo delay were also used.

Hip hop

Hip hop music has had some influence in the development of electronic dance music since the 1970s. Inspired by Jamaican sound system culture Jamaican-American DJ Kool Herc introduced large bass heavy speaker rigs to the Bronx. His parties are credited with having kick-started the New York hip-hop movement in 1973. A technique developed by DJ Kool Herc that became popular in hip hop culture was playing two copies of the same record on two turntables, in alternation, and at the point where a track featured a break. This technique was further used to manually loop a purely percussive break, leading to what was later called a break beat.

Turntablism has origins in the invention of the direct-drive turntable, by Shuichi Obata, an engineer at Matsushita (now Panasonic). In 1969, Matsushita released it as the SP-10, the first direct-drive turntable on the market, and the first in their influential Technics series of turntables. The most influential turntable was the Technics SL-1200, which was developed in 1971 by a team led by Shuichi Obata at Matsushita, which then released it onto the market in 1972. In the 1980s and 1990s hip-hop DJs used turntables as musical instruments in their own right and virtuosic use developed into a creative practice called turntablism.

Disco

In 1974, George McCrae's early disco hit "Rock Your Baby" was one of the first records to use a drum machine, an early Roland rhythm machine. The use of drum machines in disco production was influenced by Sly and the Family Stone's "Family Affair" (1971), with its rhythm echoed in McCrae's "Rock Your Baby", and Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" (1972). Disco producer Biddu used synthesizers in several disco songs from 1976 to 1977, including "Bionic Boogie" from Rain Forest (1976), "Soul Coaxing" (1977), and Eastern Man and Futuristic Journey (recorded from 1976 to 1977).

Acts like Donna Summer, Chic, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Heatwave and the Village People helped define the late 1970s Euro disco sound. In 1977, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte produced "I Feel Love" for Donna Summer. It became the first well-known disco hit to have a completely synthesised backing track. Other disco producers, most famously American producer Tom Moulton, grabbed ideas and techniques from dub music (which came with the increased Jamaican migration to New York City in the 1970s) to provide alternatives to the four on the floor style that dominated. During the early 1980s, the popularity of disco music sharply declined in the United States, abandoned by major US record labels and producers. Euro disco continued evolving within the broad mainstream pop music scene.

Synth-pop

Synth-pop (short for 'synthesizer pop'; also called 'techno-pop') is a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s and features the synthesizer as the dominant musical instrument. It was prefigured in the 1960s and early 1970s by the use of synthesizers in progressive rock, electronic, art rock, disco, and particularly the "Krautrock" of bands like Kraftwerk. It arose as a distinct genre in Japan and the United Kingdom in the post-punk era as part of the new wave movement of the late 1970s to the mid-1980s.

Early synth-pop pioneers included Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra, and British bands Ultravox, the Human League and Berlin Blondes. The Human League used monophonic synthesizers to produce music with a simple and austere sound. After the breakthrough of Gary Numan in the UK Singles Chart in 1979, large numbers of artists began to enjoy success with a synthesizer-based sound in the early 1980s, including late-1970s debutants like Japan and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and newcomers such as Depeche Mode and Eurythmics. In Japan, Yellow Magic Orchestra's success opened the way for synth-pop bands such as P-Model, Plastics, and Hikashu. The development of inexpensive polyphonic synthesizers, the definition of MIDI and the use of dance beats, led to a more commercial and accessible sound for synth-pop. This, its adoption by the style-conscious acts from the New Romantic movement, together with the rise of MTV, led to success for large numbers of British synth-pop acts (including Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet) in the United States.

The use of digital sampling and looping in popular music was pioneered by Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). Their approach to sampling was a precursor to the contemporary approach of constructing music by cutting fragments of sounds and looping them using computer technology. "Computer Game/Firecracker" (1978) interpolated a Martin Denny melody, and sampled Space Invaders video game sounds. Technodelic (1981) introduced the use of digital sampling in popular music, as the first album consisting of mostly samples and loops. The album was produced using Toshiba-EMI's LMD-649 digital PCM sampler, which engineer Kenji Murata custom-built for YMO. The LMD-649 was also used for sampling by other Japanese synthpop artists in the early 1980s, including YMO-associated acts such as Chiemi Manabe and Logic System.

Dance music in the 1980s

The emergence of electronic dance music in the 1980s was shaped by the development of several new electronic musical instruments, particularly those from the Japanese Roland Corporation. The Roland TR-808 (often abbreviated as the "808") notably played an important role in the evolution of dance music, after Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" (1982), made it very popular on dancefloors. The track, which also featured the melody line from Kraftwerk's Trans-Europe Express, informed the development of electronic dance music, and subgenres including Miami bass and Detroit techno, and popularized the 808 as a "fundamental element of futuristic sound". According to Slate, "Planet Rock" "didn't so much put the 808 on the map so much as reorient an entire world of post-disco dance music around it". The Roland TR-909, TB-303 and Juno-60 similarly influenced electronic dance music such as techno, house and acid.

Post-disco

During the post-disco era that followed the backlash against "disco" which began in the mid to late 1979, which in the United States lead to civil unrest and a riot in Chicago known as the Disco Demolition Night, an underground movement of "stripped-down" disco inspired music featuring "radically different sounds" started to emerge on the East Coast. This new scene was seen primarily in the New York metropolitan area and was initially led by the urban contemporary artists that were responding to the over-commercialisation and subsequent demise of disco culture. The sound that emerged originated from P-Funk the electronic side of disco, dub music, and other genres. Much of the music produced during this time was, like disco, catering to a singles-driven market. At this time creative control started shifting to independent record companies, less established producers, and club DJs. Other dance styles that began to become popular during the post-disco era include dance-pop, boogie, electro, Hi-NRG, Italo disco, house, and techno.

Electro

In the early 1980s, electro (short for "electro-funk") emerged as a fusion of electro-pop, funk, and boogie. Also called electro-funk or electro-boogie, but later shortened to electro, cited pioneers include Ryuichi Sakamoto, Afrika Bambaataa, Zapp, D.Train, and Sinnamon. Early hip hop and rap combined with German and Japanese electropop influences such as Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra inspired the birth of electro. As the electronic sound developed, instruments such as the bass guitar and drums were replaced by synthesizers and most notably by iconic drum machines, particularly the Roland TR-808 and the Yamaha DX7. Early uses of the TR-808 include several Yellow Magic Orchestra tracks in 1980–1981, the 1982 track "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa, and the 1982 song "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye. In 1982, producer Arthur Baker, with Afrika Bambaataa, released the seminal "Planet Rock", which was influenced by Yellow Magic Orchestra, used Kraftwerk samples, and had drum beats supplied by the TR-808. Planet Rock was followed later that year by another breakthrough electro record, "Nunk" by Warp 9. In 1983, Hashim created an electro-funk sound with "Al-Naafyish (The Soul)" that influenced Herbie Hancock, resulting in his hit single "Rockit" the same year. The early 1980s were electro's mainstream peak. According to author Steve Taylor, Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock serves as a "template for all interesting dance music since".

House music

In the early 1980s, Chicago radio jocks The Hot Mix 5 and club DJs Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles played various styles of dance music, including older disco records (mostly Philly disco and Salsoul tracks), electro funk tracks by artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, newer Italo disco, B-Boy hip hop music by Man Parrish, Jellybean Benitez, Arthur Baker, and John Robie, and electronic pop music by Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Some made and played their own edits of their favorite songs on reel-to-reel tape, and sometimes mixed in effects, drum machines, and other rhythmic electronic instrumentation. The hypnotic electronic dance song "On and On", produced in 1984 by Chicago DJ Jesse Saunders and co-written by Vince Lawrence, had elements that became staples of the early house sound, such as the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer and minimal vocals as well as a Roland (specifically TR-808) drum machine and Korg (specifically Poly-61) synthesizer.

"On and On" is sometimes cited as the 'first house record', though other examples from around that time, such as J.M. Silk's "Music is the Key" (1985), have also been cited. House music quickly spread to other American cities such as Detroit, New York City, and Newark—all of which developed their own regional scenes. In the mid-to-late 1980s, house music became popular in Europe as well as major cities in South America, and Australia. Chicago House experienced some commercial success in Europe with releases such as "House Nation" by House Master Boyz and the Rude Boy of House (1987). Following this, a number of house inspired releases such as "Pump Up The Volume" by MARRS (1987), "Theme from S'Express" by S'Express (1988), and "Doctorin' the House" by Coldcut (1988) entered the pop charts.

The electronic instrumentation and minimal arrangement of Charanjit Singh's Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982), an album of Indian ragas performed in a disco style, anticipated the sounds of acid house music, but it is not known to have had any influence on the genre prior to the album's rediscovery in the 21st century.

Techno, acid house, rave

In the mid 1980s house music thrived on the small Balearic Island of Ibiza, Spain. The Balearic sound was the spirit of the music emerging from the island at that time; the combination of old vinyl rock, pop, reggae, and disco records paired with an “anything goes” attitude made Ibiza a hub of drug-induced musical experimentation. A club called Amnesia, whose resident DJ, Alfredo Fiorito, pioneered Balearic house, was the center of the scene. Amnesia became known across Europe and by the mid to late 1980s it was drawing people from all over the continent.

By 1988, house music had become the most popular form of club music in Europe, with acid house developing as a notable trend in the UK and Germany in the same year. In the UK an established warehouse party subculture, centered on the British African-Caribbean sound system scene fueled underground after-parties that featured dance music exclusively. Also in 1988, the Balearic party vibe associated with Ibiza's DJ Alfredo was transported to London, when Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold opened the clubs Shoom and Spectrum, respectively. Both places became synonymous with acid house, and it was during this period that MDMA gained prominence as a party drug. Other important UK clubs included Back to Basics in Leeds, Sheffield's Leadmill and Music Factory, and The Haçienda in Manchester, where Mike Pickering and Graeme Park's spot, Nude, was an important proving ground for American underground dance music. The success of house and acid house paved the way for Detroit Techno, a style that was initially supported by a handful of house music clubs in Chicago, New York, and Northern England, with Detroit clubs catching up later. The term Techno first came into use after a release of a 10 Records/Virgin Records compilation titled Techno: The Dance Sound of Detroit in 1988.

One of the first Detroit productions to receive wider attention was Derrick May's "Strings of Life" (1987), which, together with May's previous release, "Nude Photo" (1987), helped raise techno's profile in Europe, especially the UK and Germany, during the 1987–1988 house music boom (see Second Summer of Love). It became May's best known track, which, according to Frankie Knuckles, "just exploded. It was like something you can't imagine, the kind of power and energy people got off that record when it was first heard. Mike Dunn says he has no idea how people can accept a record that doesn't have a bassline." According to British DJ Mark Moore, "Strings of Life" led London club goers to accept house: "because most people hated house music and it was all rare groove and hip hop...I'd play 'Strings of Life' at the Mudd Club and clear the floor". Dance music has a long association with recreational drug use, particularly with a wide range of drugs that have been categorized under the name "club drugs". Russell Smith noted that the association of drugs and music subcultures was by no means exclusive to electronic music, citing previous examples of music genres that were associated with certain drugs, such as psychedelic rock and LSD, disco music and cocaine, and punk music and heroin. Similarly, the 1980s grunge scene in Seattle was associated with heroin use.

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ecstasy, "E", or "Molly", is often considered the drug of choice within the rave culture and is also used at clubs, festivals and house parties. In the rave environment, the sensory effects from the music and lighting are often highly synergistic with the drug. The psychedelic amphetamine quality of MDMA offers multiple reasons for its appeals to users in the "rave" setting. Some users enjoy the feeling of mass communion from the inhibition-reducing effects of the drug, while others use it as party fuel because of the drug's stimulatory effects. Another drug para-Methoxyamphetamine (4-MA) also known as pink ecstasy, PMA, "Death" or "Dr. Death", it is similar to MDMA but they can take up to an hour to produce effects, which can result in hyperthermia and subsequently, organ failure. People who take PMA are often mistaken for it being identified as MDMA.

MDMA is occasionally known for being taken in conjunction with psychedelic drugs. The more common combinations include MDMA combined with LSD, MDMA combined with DMT, MDMA with psilocybin mushrooms, and MDMA with the disassociative drug ketamine. Many users use mentholated products while taking MDMA for its cooling sensation while experiencing the drug's effects. Examples include menthol cigarettes, Vicks VapoRub, NyQuil, and lozenges.

The incidence of nonmedical ketamine has increased in the context of raves and other parties. However, its emergence as a club drug differs from other club drugs (e.g. MDMA) due to its anesthetic properties (e.g., slurred speech, immobilization) at higher doses; in addition, there are reports of ketamine being sold as "ecstasy". The use of ketamine as part of a "postclubbing experience" has also been documented. Ketamine's rise in the dance culture was rapid in Hong Kong by the end of the 1990s. Before becoming a federally controlled substance in the United States in 1999, ketamine was available as diverted pharmaceutical preparations and as a pure powder sold in bulk quantities from domestic chemical supply companies. Much of the current ketamine diverted for nonmedical use originates in China and India.

Drug-related deaths at electronic dance music events

A number of deaths attributed to apparent drug use have occurred at major electronic music concerts and festivals. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum blacklisted Insomniac Events after an underaged attendee died from "complications of ischemic encephalopathy due to methylenedioxymethamphetamine intoxication" during Electric Daisy Carnival 2010; as a result, the event was re-located to Las Vegas the following year. Drug-related deaths during Electric Zoo 2013 in New York City, United States, and Future Music Festival Asia 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, prompted the final day of both events to be cancelled, while Life in Color cancelled a planned event in Malaysia out of concern for the incident at Future Music Festival Asia and other drug-related deaths that occurred at the A State of Trance 650 concerts in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In September 2016, the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina banned all electronic music events, pending future legislation, after five drug-related deaths and four injuries at a Time Warp Festival event in the city in April 2016. The ban forced electronic band Kraftwerk to cancel a planned concert in the city, despite arguing that there were dissimilarities between a festival and their concerts.

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