Into EDM but still wary of those weird subgenres everyone occasionally drops in conversations? Look no further! Check out this introduction to Jam Bands, Electronic Ambient, and the crazy world of Electro Swing in this week's edition of Music to Expect at a Rave Blog series!
Music to Expect at a Rave: Part Three
In the previous two weeks, we delved into the history of electronic music pre-1980’s, and explored more recent genres like dubstep, trance, hardwell, house, and trap. This week we take a turn for those readers out there who identify with weird, exotic lifestyles and want their music to match. This week we’ll examine some neat jam bands, flow to mild electronic ambient, and finish by busting out the electro swing. Yeah, baby.
In recent years, there’s been an ever increasing presence of what my friends call “jam bands.” These are full, 4-6 member bands that play funky, get down and groove tunes. Nothing too hard here, nothing too fast or slow; simply music with the right amount of jive and jump to have fun dancing to. While these bands pride themselves on live performances, they still utilize and hold to an electronic influence that does nothing but strengthen their on-state presence. One of my all-time favorite jam bands is Lotus, originating in Indiana in 1999 and consisting of five members. Known for their live shows and lengthy tours with around 90-115 shows per year, Lotus deems themselves “jamtronica,” and continues to grow by word of mouth. Since they’re such a multi-genre band, I’ll leave two songs here for you today. First, one of my favorite slow jams called Colorado, and secondly, a bit quicker song titled Grayrigg. Jam bands seek only to touch those little heart strings we each hold dear, and rarely have extensive vocals which allows the glorious guitar riffs to take us away on a cloud.
Now, for all you hippie freaks out there, we’ll examine some of the latest Ambient music: Electronic Ambient. The most recognizeable of these bands, in my opinion, are Beats Antique and Thievery Corporation. If you’ve seen Garden State, you’ve probably heard the song Lebanese Blonde before. With sitar’s for days, and a beat that would make any Yogi proud, Electronic Ambient seeks to combine the organic with the electronic, to meld the natural with the modern. Like Trance, dreamy vocals often accompany these tunes and help you to achieve some semblance of inner peace while still feeling ahead of the curve. Another fantastic example comes from Beats Antique’s album Blind Threshold, titled Spiderbite. Although not their most popular song, I always found that it expressed the true collision of electronica with the far east sounds traditionally held by ambient music. Take a listen, you damn hippie. I know you’ll love it.
To finish out the last of this week’s blog on EDM, I’ll take us down the winding, confusing road that is Electro Swing. This genre is exactly what it sounds like: Swing music, with an electronic influence. Do-wap your way over and check out this dope band, Caravan Palace. Here’s one of their coolest songs in my opinion, Star Scat. I played the flute for many years in high school and I have always loved swing music, so naturally I am quite fond of electro swing. Not the biggest genre out there, but certainly one of the most exciting. Any music buff can appreciate the electric spin off of this traditional genre, the party music of the twenties and thirties. The gist of the genre is that house/techno artists started mixing jazz elements into their music, and voila, a few years later we have an entire subgenre dedicated to remembering NOLA, Scatting, and downright dirty dancing. To read more about electro swing, check out the first site dedicated specifically to the genre: Electro-swing.com. They post a rad podcast every week, as well as offering exclusive DJ Mixes on a weekly basis.