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 Forum index » Discussion » Diversity in electro-music
Origin of the term "Electro".
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AÉ303



Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Charlottesville, VA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Origin of the term "Electro". Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So to pick up where we left of with the "Electro Elitism" thread...where in your opinion/experience did the term "Electro" come from?

For many of you it may be irrelevant, but to someone like me who is a long time contributor to the furthering of what is usually termed "Electro", but more properly described as "Electro Bass", i take a lot of heart into this subject because there is so much confusion these days about what is, and what is not Electro. Particularly since the rise of styles like Electro House, Electro Clash, etc, many people in our scene have taken up arms to try and prove that they are the "real" Electro. :-/

Personally, i have not been a part of this movement, because the word existed before 80s Electro Funk, which really only became known as Electro because of the label Streetsounds. Many people in the 70s referred to Electronic music as Electro, and would argue that artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, and Kraftwerk are Electro.

From my research, and personal conclusion to the subject, Electro is all forms of Electronic music, and anything else is a sub genre. Not to say everything should be called "Electro----", but nonetheless, the idea that one sub-genre can claim the term Electro as its own, is rather selfish and misguided.

As for the origin...well, to me it seems to have come from the fact that before anyone could conceive there would be a complete genre of music known as Electro-nic music, it was called Electro-Acoustic. Kind of a basic idea really, but maybe i am wrong.

Your thoughts?
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A E J O T Z



Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 188
Location: St. Louis
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Before electronic music exploded and diverged into different pop styles there was no need for an official name. It was "electronic music" before the Moog was introduced. Then "synthesizer music" was the focus for awhile.

Synth musicians were all lumped together in most people's view: Mort Garson, W. Carlos, Tomita, Hot Butter, Max Crook, Kraftwerk, Synergy, even when they had little in common.

But when it took off it was an exponential musical segregation. There are more genres and subgenres of electronic music than of any other kind of music (or any kind of cultural phenomenon, if I'm not mistaken). Every new club hit becomes a sub-genre the minute others try to emulate the hit's style.

The advantage to genre names is if you want to go to LastFM or Pandora and listen to a certain kind of music. I love early melodic original hand-played synth music, but it doesn't have a genre name so I get all the artists mentioned above and even some 80s stuff if I search for "retro synth".

I don't remember hearing or seeing the term "electro" until automated electronic dance music became popular (ie: untz untz untz untz).

The main thing required to define a genre is consensus. Enough people have to give a damn. That's why there's only a handful of synth genres and a gazillion dance genres. You don't have to be musically sophisticated to dance to a caveman beat.

_________________
pronounced "A-Jotz"
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SKull



Joined: Oct 10, 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Actually, the term "electro" refers to a style of electronic dance music that was popular in the late 70s and early 80s. It was a sort of mix between the old disco from the 70s and other forms of experimental dance, scratching and early rap, especially in the USA. This turned into the break dance, electric boogie and similar fads in the 80s, and it all has very little to do with what I would call electronic music. In fact, it`s closer to funk, spoken word and even reggae than it is to electronic music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgIH0QseEjs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPGbnmUbl8M

Then again, genre illiteracy is rampant so who knows what someone might mean by this word these days. Maybe it`s just too hard to properly keep track of this entire thing going back five decades.
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MusicMan11712



Joined: Aug 08, 2009
Posts: 742
Location: Upstate New York USA
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

SKull wrote:
Then again, genre illiteracy is rampant so who knows what someone might mean by this word these days. Maybe it`s just too hard to properly keep track of this entire thing going back five decades.

You have my curiosity--what do you mean by "genre illiteracy?"

A few years ago I went to an academic conference and heard a panelist present her research on "electronic music" by which she was referring not the the wide diversity of what I consider as electronic music, but only to a very limited range of dance music played in clubs. Is that what you mean?

Steve
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SKull



Joined: Oct 10, 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

MusicMan11712 wrote:
SKull wrote:
Then again, genre illiteracy is rampant so who knows what someone might mean by this word these days. Maybe it`s just too hard to properly keep track of this entire thing going back five decades.

You have my curiosity--what do you mean by "genre illiteracy?"

A few years ago I went to an academic conference and heard a panelist present her research on "electronic music" by which she was referring not the the wide diversity of what I consider as electronic music, but only to a very limited range of dance music played in clubs. Is that what you mean?

Steve


Well, it`s just that what genres used to mean is usually never what they mean now. For example, when I was growing up, punk was generally something like Ramones, Dead Kennedys or Sex Pistols for mainstream purposes and outrageous stuff like GG Allin for the weirdos. It was about as wild as it got, and one of the main criteria was to never ever be commercial. As soon as you became commercial you stopped being punk, and that was how simple it was. Then in the 90s Green Day was suddenly punk, which is so soft it would have been next to Lionel Ritchie or something on shelves back in the 80s. And it got even lamer from there.

And the same thing with electronic music. Back in the 80s this was either space synth stuff like Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis, electro pop like Kraftwerk or Klauz Schultze, synth pop like Depeche Mode or Softcell, or experimental British or psychedelic, like Throbbing Gristle, Nurse With Wound or Severed Heads. In the late 70s and early 80s EBM was then developed out of this by bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, Front 242 and Skinny Puppy. And that was it. If you talked about electronic music, some of this was what it meant. And all of that came from experimental classical artists like Stockhausen and Ligeti, which were not exactly interested in dance music, either of them.
The things that did not fall under any of this, even though they were technically electronic, were disco, electric boogie, techno and all the derivatives thereof. This would have been categorized as dance music, and people who liked electronic music would have been more likely to buy accordion quartets on CD than that.

To put it too simply perhaps, electronic music developed from classical music, while dance music developed from funk, which in turn developed from jazz. Yet now that strain of music, which developed from jazz, has apparently taken over, and all "electronic music" is now dance music. That was what I meant by genre illiteracy. So when someone uses the term "electronic music" I now have absolutely no idea what they mean. Do they mean The Residents or do they mean Skrillex? One is creative and weird music and the other is a drum beat with distortion. Both are fine depending on what you`re after, but there`s such a huge difference in where they both originated and what they`re doing that it makes the genre name pointless.
One of my biggest problems with what now is called electronic music is that it has all been done before, and I would argue better. Want trance, go listen to some mid period Psychic TV. Want dubstep, dig up some Aduck from the early 90s. And I could go on and on. And not only is old music usually being ripped off without credit but it is mutated into dance music. The sacrilege could not be more monumental to anyone who likes old electronic music. Sort of like releasing Jimi Hendrix cover albums uncredited for clarinet and tuba bands.
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