Posts Tagged 'edm'

A Classical Electronic Rivalry?

I’ll admit this up front: I do have a little bit of the music snob in me, there are certain things that I just can’t stand to listen to. That said, I think those songs are in the significant minority, and I wouldn’t say that there were any entire genres I look down upon. I’m not a big fan of a lot of modern chart pop or RnB, but, even then, I still think Kylie’s Koocachoo is an absolutely superb tune, be it bubblegum pop or not.

If you’re a downer on all popular music though, where do you stand on The Beatles? Or Motown? Will people in forty years be looking back at S Club 7 the way we look at Martha Reeves now? Actually, I’m not 100% on that… What I like to think though, is that, even if I don’t like to listen to the music, I can still appreciate the effort that’s gone into making it. Celine Dion for example, I would never voluntarily listen to one of her songs, but you can’t deny she’s got a good pair of lungs on her…

Before I bought my Maschine Mikro, I was checking out some of the demos on YouTube, and came across one by finger-drumming maestro Jeremy Ellis. This guy is good. When I checked out the comments, I found one from someone who was asking if this is what music had come to, with people thinking that pressing buttons quickly makes someone talented, before going on to say that cellists, pianists etc spend time mastering their instrument and that real music died some time ago. I think this is pretty unfair.

I think his thought seemed to be that hitting those buttons quickly didn’t require any practice or training. Perhaps the originator of this comment would like to pick up a sampler, make some hits and loops, program his groups and play something for us to show us how easy it is. These arguments are nothing new, the attitudes to jazz when it was breaking through had the same sort of ring to them, and some people still look down on anything other than ‘classical’, orchestral music.

Me, I think some classical music is incredible. Listen to Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D minor and try not to be moved by it. However, I find a lot of classical music dull and uninteresting. I think you can perhaps make a good argument that the only real originality and experimentation in music comes from electronic music these days. Modern ‘classical’ composers seem to be trying to be more dissonant and avant-garde, but are they doing anything that hasn’t already been released on Warp?

This post first appeared as a news item on NowThenRecords.

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EDM: The Most Democratic of Arts?

If it was Slash who made me first pick up a guitar, it was Noel Gallagher who made me want to join a band. In a recent interview, Noel was heard to say “any f*cker can make dance music”. This quote led to some major activity on Twitter, with the consensus being that he was probably right, but that there is a difference to making dance music, and making good dance music, which is probably fair. Tim Exile put it well when he tweeted that “making dance music is the new gaming”. I have to say, I think it’s great; it means that electronic music is one step closer to becoming the purest, most egalitarian and democratic art form.

You can now have more studio power with a cheap PC and a Computer Music cover disc than The Beatles had. Even if you go back to perhaps one of the last big shifts in accessible recording, the Tascam Portastudio, you were still looking at a sizeable investment, particularly once you added microphones and effects units etc. Now, even with freeware VSTs, you can make some professional quality tracks. I spent significantly more money than I had on my Virus TI, but my freeware Juno and SH-101 still see frequent use.

Everyone has always had the ability to make music, even if that was just banging out a beat on a rock and a bit of old bone. Now though, nearly anyone can not only make music, but also record it and distribute it to the world. You’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty impressive step forward. The issue now though has become, not making your music, but getting people to listen to it.

I’m glad that electronic music production is more accessible. If you’re willing to put the hours in searching Soundcloud, you can find some outstanding tunes, some of the experimental electronica can be fantastic, but, for the dj, you might find that one track that differentiates you from the Beatport top ten-playing crowd…

This post first appeared as a news article for Now Then Records.


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