New to raving? Wondering what kind of music to expect? Here's part one of our Music to Expect at a Rave Blog series! This week's first article will cover EDM roots including House music, Trance, and Electropop.
Music to Expect at a Rave: Part One
To answer it simply: a ton… Raves are unique in the fact that they always play some form of electronically influenced music. Whether the track is spun by a producer or consists of a full band with some electronic influences or auto-tuning, raves and electronic festivals are always in some way electronic. The simplest, broken down genres of EDM are so diverse and varying that I couldn’t filter through them in a hundred articles, but I will do my best to cover some of the main ones over the next few weeks. To start, let’s dive into the past a little and explore the world of exciting House music, flowing Trance, and a more recent addition, bubbly Electro-pop.
To start, we’ll take a step back thirty years into the 1980’s. House music has begun springing up across America (mainly in Chicago, at the time) and starts to change the entire music scene. According to pigeonsandplanes.com, House was “taking influences from the percussion found in the highly popular disco music of the day … [and] certain producers focused on their tracks around a repetitive rhythm.” Essentially, these tracks follow a 4/4 beat which some call “four to the floor,” and consists of a kick drum every beat as well as snare and various hi-hat patterns in the track.
House can still be found raging at raves and clubs across America, Europe, and Australia (probably elsewhere, too). I picture bright vocals, fist-pumping, heart-beat rhythms and utter excitement when I think about house music. Some of my favorites from this genre include a variety of artists like Hardwell, Swedish House Mafia, Tiesto, Showtek, Benny Benassi, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, and Bloc Party. Onlythebeat.com lists their top five Electro House artists here.
House music seems to never go out of style, and continually influences almost every genre it comes into contact with. Since they love remixing tracks from many other genres, House artists can put a spin on a song that will leave you feeling nostalgic, elated, warm, and full of the kind of energy that makes you simply want to dance. Sounds pretty damn good to me. But before we move on, I’ll leave one of my favorite House tracks here to pump you up. Calvin Harris' Don't You Worry Child ft. John Martin.
Shifting from House music, we’ll delve into the dreamy world of Trance. Everything you’ve heard about trance music is probably true. Think of sweaty underground European dance clubs, fountains of flavored vodka, glitter, and smooth (nearly orgasmic) vocals caressing over every inch of your half-aware, dancing body. Newtrancemusic.com.au describes trance as possessing “qualities such as melodic overtones with hypnotic qualities. At a more technical level, trance can sit between 128 and 150 beats per minute.” To get even more picky, the word “trance” itself can be defined according to Dictionary.com as a “half-conscious state, seemingly between sleeping and waking, in which ability to function voluntarily may be suspended.” Sounds super intense, right? It can be.
Germany is known as the birthplace of Trance, and rumor has it that the term itself stemmed from an album called Trancefer, released in 1981 by Klaus Schulze. Others say it derived in the early 90’s from the feelings of elation felt by dancers when listening. It’s impossible to pinpoint the moment trance came to life in the scene. Yet, if I had to describe my own experience, I’d depict it as feeling acutely aware of one’s own heartbeat, and having heightened feelings of all kinds evoked through the repetitive, melodic rhythms. I’d say that you could even reach some state of elevated consciousness, or a semi-hypnotic state of being. There's tons of trance out there, including artists like Armin van Burin, ATB, and Paul Oakenfold. One of my all-time favorite trance tracks comes from Above & Beyond who performed with Pretty Lights this year at Denver’s annual NYE party, Decadence.
Inject Some Weirdness and You've Got...... ElectroPop
So what comes after House and Trance? Where did music go from there? I’ll tell you where: really weird places. That’s the beauty of electronic artists: they continually mix up the game when you start to get bored. Case and point: Crystal Castles. The first time I heard their music I was intensely scared, yet stoked at the same time. All I remember is thinking, “Man, this shit is weird.” But I kept listening… and listening… and listening. I couldn’t stop. Crystal Castles take a darker spin on our next genre: Electropop. However, artists like Cut Copy, Neon Neon, and Icona Pop take a little brighter (but still weird) spin off of trance/house and combine it with the vocal styles of today’s Pop music to create a glorious, semi-freaky, yet adorable lovechild. CEO released an album nine days ago, and the album cover says everything I ever need to say about Electropop----->
Even more diverse than house and trance, this style of music varies greatly and attracts listeners of all kinds. The only real necessity to be considered electropop is an overabundance of synthesizers, and some good ole’ pop lyrics. If you’re still struggling, I will direct you to this song, one of my favorite Electropop tracks of all time, Latch by Disclosure.
Regardless of whether you like House, Trance, or jam out to some weird ElectroPop in a onesie every evening, there's a legacy here that's being continually built upon. Life and chords all follow a progrssion (pun intended) and music will continue to evolve as long as we keep our minds and hearts open.
Be sure to check out next week’s blog for more popular edm genres! Part Two coming February 20th, 2014!