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Intelligent Dance Music (IDM)

Related: dance music - Micro house - intellectuals - Tech house


Intelligent dance music (IDM) is a rather ambiguous term that covers a range of electronic or electronic-influenced music. The term has been considered by many to mean modern electronic music that is not necessarily designed for the dance-floor, but rather for home listening. The term may originate from the creation of an electronic mailing list called the IDM list in August 1993, originally intended for discussion of Rephlex Records. The term subsequently gained a life of its own, and became popular around the world as a means of referring to the then-novel mainstream success of certain kinds of experimental electronic dance music. Prior to the adoption of "intelligent dance music" as a blanket term for this music, terms such as electronic listening music, intelligent techno, listening techno, art techno, and experimental techno were common. Rephlex poked fun at this pidgeonholing of music by coining the word "braindance" as a parody. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_dance_music [Sept 2005]

Indie Dance Music

Indie dance Indie dance is a term used for the genre of music combining elements of dance-pop (or other forms of electronic dance music such as house or techno) and indie pop. Indie dance music is typically predominantly electronic, with programmed beats from drum machines or sampled drum loops and sequenced synthesizer melodies, and thus musically very similar to commercial dance-pop. The indie element is most prevalent in the songwriting; unlike much dance music, indie dance typically contains lyrics, and, as in indie pop, these are often more thematically complex and/or less polished than those of commercial pop.

It could be argued that the seeds of indie dance were sown when New Order, inspired by Kraftwerk and the New York club scene, started combining sequenced electronic elements with their often dark and uncommercial lyrics. (Their best-selling single, "Blue Monday," is a prime example of this.) Other Manchester bands, such as the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays continued the tradition of combining traditionally guitar-based indie music with electronic instrumentation and production; this culminated in the Madchester scene.

Indie dance gained in popularity after the Second Summer of Love, when the sounds of Acid House music had filtered through to and influenced the sounds of chart pop. Various people from a more indie background soon adapted the equipment and techniques of dance-pop, combining it with a more astute and less populistic songwriting sensibility. Well-known examples of this movement include Saint Etienne and Dubstar.

As both the financial costs and levels of musical virtuosity required to make passable-sounding electronic music drop under the influence of technological improvements, and people who grew up listening to electronic pop take up music, the electronic style epitomised by indie dance is increasingly becoming the mainstream of independent music, with the once dominant guitar-based form of pop that dominated low-budget independent recordings now becoming just another subgenre. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indie_Dance_Music [Oct 2005]

IDM mailing list

Greetings. The Intelligent Dance Music mailing list was set up in August of 1993 by Brian Behlendorf and Alan Parry as a platform for the discussion of a wave of what was termed "Intelligent Techno" originating mainly from the UK. Initially, the idea was to create a list dedicated to the Aphex Twin but it soon became apparent that there was a whole lot more going on that we felt was worthy of discussion. The most obvious example of this was Warp records Artificial Intelligence series which brought together various artists whose names are now at the forefront of the new wave of electronic listening music. These artists, including Black Dog Productions, B12, Autechre, and Speedy J from the Warp series and others such as Reload, Mu-Ziq, Future Sound of London, Beaumont Hannant, and Ken Ishii are in my mind the epitomy of "IDM". As always, however, there are no specific boundaries by which we are able to define what is and what isn't Intelligent Dance Music. To begin with, lets look at a couple of different analyses, the first of which is by Chris Hilker.. --IDM-L Info http://music.hyperreal.org/lists/idm/

Mixmaster Morris

"[Intelligent Dance Music] means the opposite of stupid hardcore. And of commercial dance music. Ambient music and intelligent techno were always linked in my mind and the audience largely overlaps. Intelligent techno has got to have more function than just to be utilitarian dance music. It has to give you something to listen to and be intrigued by. It has to work in the domestic environment."

There's not a bad track in the lot, and don't sweat the artist anonymity; if you recognize more than three anyway, it's time to join me in Music Junkies Anonymous. The term Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) having long been co-opted by the laptop warriors of the world and their fan base, I'm tempted to demand a moniker recall. 'Hypercity' truly represents music designed for the hips and aimed at your head, while leaving the spastic, glitch-probing on the hard drive. Richard Diaz for amazon.com [...]

Artificial Intelligence (1993)- Various Artists

Artificial Intelligence (1993)- Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track listing:
1. Polygon Window - The Dice Man
2. Telefone - Musicology
3. Crystel - Autechre
4. The Clan - I.A.O.
5. De-Orbit - Speedy J.
6. Preminition - Musicology
7. Spiritual High - Up!
8. The Egg - Autechre
9. Fill 3 - Speedy J.
10. Loving You Live - Alex Paterson

The term "Artificial intelligence" was popularized in rock music by a John Cale album in 1985, but the Warp label was the first one that came up with the categorization "Electronic listening music". This is techno music rather designed for listening at home than being played in dance clubs, similar to the work of '70s bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. Unlike its follow-up "AI2", "AI1" is a compilation of previously released and otherwise available material. Best tracks here are the wonderfully floating "Loving you" by Dr.LX Paterson (an excerpt from the Orb's mega-work "A huge ever growing pulsating brain") and the two Autechre tracks, "Crystel" and "The egg". The aforementioned tracks once were on a demo tape Autechre had sent to Warp Records in order to become engaged, so I guess it's essential stuff for all fans of Sean and Rob. However, Idon't find the contributions from other artists like B12, Aphex Twin, or Black Dog (all under pseudonyms) as interesting as their individual albums. And in consideration of Autechre's "Amber" or "Tri repetae", everything here seems a bit tame. The accompanying booklet features interviews (!) with all participating bands, and I guess you're interested in all the answers to questions like, "Why did you contribute to AI?", "Top 5 electronic tracks?", "Electronic music. Where next?". --Chris Turk from Regensburg, Germany for amazon.com

See also: music - 1993 - electronic music - IDM

Hypercity - Andrew Weatherall

  1. Hypercity - Andrew Weatherall [Amazon US]
    Another mix disc by aficionado Andrew Weatherhall of Two Lone Swordsmen and Sabres of Paradise? Sign me up. Hold on, it's a stirred together collection of Germany's Force Inc and their sub-labels recent output (it appears). Meaning intricate, imminently danceable techno-meets-house is on order today, not the kind of music to grab the spotlight and run with it, but aptly suited to command your spirit all the same.

    M.R.I.'s 'To Be Honest' is a prime example of the operandi, with structured, building layers of muted drums and whispers, buried click-pops among the other surprises to peel back upon subsequent listens. Crane A.K.'s 'Polsterplanet' rides a shimmering synth over darting hi-hats while Safety Scissors' 'Form From Morf' seemingly spins back and forward sample snippets for a cool brain twister. Dirk Diggler's 'Silverfinger' is spot-on spatial minimalism dropping the pace before, by golly, an actual full-blown song ('Tessio' by Vladislav Delay alias Luomo) ends the glide on a warm, fuzzy note.

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