Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a term used to describe music produced by disc jockeys (DJs.) With the help of turntables, drum machines, synthesizers, laptops, etc they’re able to express their musical innovativeness in the form of beats and sounds. I never really fully understood its appeal until I accidentally saw Tiesto play live in Vegas: it made me a believer. But EDM’s increasing popularity over the last few years has lead to a floodgate of DJs vying for our attention and for the novice listener, it can be overwhelming. So I’ve broken it down for you (and me.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              90s Dance Music – consists essentially of anything off Dance Mix ’92-’95, including Robyn S.’ “Show Me Love”; plus the likes of C+C Music Factory and Snap! By the mid-90s, we were all graced by the presence of the infamous Gino Beats (think Joee’s “Angel”): tracks indistinguishable from one another because the same beat was used over and over again in the same way. This also involved a lot of fist pumping (Jersey Shore Guidos are so behind the times.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Techno/Trance – most often associated with rave culture: one synonymous with glow sticks, copious amounts of Ecstasy and beaded bracelets. The beats had more of a dream quality to it, almost hypnotic. Although one could still dance, it was more mellow and chilled out, less aggressive compared to other styles. Artists include Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Electronic Music – as its name indicates, it has a stronger electronic presence to it. More digital and sharper sounds as opposed to the heavier bass beats found in other forms. Daft Punk and Deadmau5 fall into this category, both sharing the unique characteristic that they dress in costume every time they perform. For them it’s not about being seen, it’s about being heard and making the turntables sing, keeping the focus on the music. Though the large mouse-shaped head is a tad bit distracting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 House Music – originating in Chicago, it was supposedly named after 80s Chicago nightclub “The Warehouse,” where people went to dance. Also supposedly named after the type of music you would find at home. House music possesses some consistent musical elements (kick/bass drum on every beat), but for the most part varies in style (ie progressive house, deep house etc.) Vocals are common but generally as an after thought compared to the beats. Tiesto was instrumental in bringing it to North America; along with Swedish House Mafia and Chicago-based Kaskade.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             House Pop Music – a term coined by me to describe house music that has been mainstreamed to the max by not only adding strong vocals, but those of big pop celebrities like Rihanna and Usher. Sure the resulting success of the track is mutually beneficial for both parties involved, and I’m no EDM junkie, but this screams sell out. It’s taking something from the underground and overexposing it. The vocals take over the track and the beats become the after thought. David Guetta and Calvin Harris currently reside here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mash-Up Music – involves taking pre-existing tracks and mixing them together, instead of producing beats and sounds and mixing them together. This requires an incredibly creatively genius mind in order to recognize which sounds will end up in matrimony. Girl Talk is one of the best out there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Young House – music produced by a group of twenty-something DJs that have appeared over the last few years and taken the music world by storm. They’ve used the mounting accessibility to house music as a platform to illustrate their raw talent, and attempt to separate themselves from the rest by putting their own spin (no pun intended) on it. Avicii, Skrillex and Afrojack – all 25 and under – belong here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              EDM will once again be showcased at Ultra Musical Festival in Miami over the next two weekends, and this year’s line up is doused in the best of the best. Most EDM DJs, with the exception of a select few (including Canada’s Deadmau5,) hail from somewhere in Europe; EDM having such a big presence in North American culture has to be saying something. It’s music that makes you feel good and there’s never anything wrong with that.
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