Electronic music that does not fall into the new age, techno or dance categories are often referred to as “left-field” or “electronica” (although there are critics who maintain that the term “electronica” is an invention of the media). Styles of electronica include ambient, downtempo, illbient and trip-hop (among countless others, see list of electronic music genres), which are all related in that they usually rely more on their atmospheric qualities than electronic dance music, and make use of slower, more subtle tempos, sometimes excluding rhythm completely. Electronica was made possible by advancements in music technology, especially electronic musical instruments, synthesizers, music sequencers, drum machines and digital audio workstations. Early forms of electronic music required large amounts of complex equipment and multiple operators for live performances, and multiple engineers to record the music at high quality. As the technology developed, it became possible for individuals or smaller groups to produce electronic songs and recordings in smaller studios, even in project studios. At the same time, computers facilitated the use of music “samples” and “loops”as construction kits for sonic compositions.This led to a period of creative experimentation and the development of new forms, some of which became known as electronica.
- Post rock
IDM (an abbreviation for intelligent dance music) is an elusive and confusing genre classification that can only be truly defined by flagbearers and flagburners like Aphex Twin and Autechre.
All electronic music owes at least its historical existence to early pioneers of tape experiments known as musique concrète, such as John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as early synthesists like Wendy Carlos (aka Walter Carlos), Jean-Michel Jarre, and Morton Subotnick .