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Zach Saucier's thoughts

A brief introduction to electronic music

If you want to follow along with the music without opening all of the pages, I created a YouTube playlist for this post that includes all but the first 3 songs.

I love music. Especially music that varies throughout the song (not all verses and choruses are the same), layered (multiple instruments are playing harmoniously), unique, the quality of the instruments (including singers) is high, and music that gives off an emotion or feeling (generally energetic and happy is my favorite). Regardless of the genre or creator of the song, if a song has these characteristics it’s likely that I will really enjoy it.

The genre that I’ve listened to that most often has these characteristics is electronic music. I was introduced to it as a kid by an older friend and I’ve been an avid listener for about 10 years now. Today I hope to help you better understand why I fell in love with the gigantic, diverse genre that is electronic music.

First off, if you listen to much popular music these days you’re listening to electronic music, at least in part. For example, Going Home by Drake is a mix of modern synthpop and contemporary R&B, Heart is Full by Miike Snow is electronic indie pop with some hip hop influence, and Daddy feat. CL by PSY is poppy electro house. In fact, hip hop, rap, and R&B are technically all electronic sub-genres themselves. House and trap music, among other styles, are increasingly being found in popular songs. That’s why when one listens to electronic songs like Surrender by Cash Cash, All of You by Betty Who, Cool Like Me – Fryars, The City by Madeon, King (Merk & Kremont Remix) by Years and Years, Let Go by RAC, Control by Halsey, and U Don’t Know by Alison Wonderland, they can easily imagine hearing them on any given pop radio station.

Conventionally when people think of electronic music, they either think of “dubstep” or some form of “techno”. And if they listen ever search for songs using such terms, they often find generic, poorly made songs. This leads many to think that they don’t really like electronic music. However, there are so many electronic styles that vary so much from each other that I believe if a person were to listen to all of them, they would find at least one that they like.

There are many sub-genres of electronic music, but I divide them into 8 overarching sub-genres (each leads to an example song in the genre): trance, house, dubstep, trap, drum and bass, hard dance, techno, and video game music. However, there are many more, including many not included in this linked list.

Of course, many songs don’t fix in one genre alone. Just a few examples of the grey lines between genres are Turn it Around by Sub Focus which is a mix of hip hop and drum and bass, Lost U by Rangleklods which is a type of minimal indie house, Watercolour by Pendulum which has a mix of rock, breakbeat, and other influences, and In the Mood (Slow Magic Remix) by Blithe Field which is a type of feel-good techno-house.

Another way of categorizing music that I prefer is by mood. One of my favorite songs of all time, Need to Feel Loved (Adam K & Soha Remix) by Reflekt is relaxing but driving at the same time. Another relaxing song in a different style that I love is Sunset (Joris Delacroix Remix) by Oliver Schories. Hopefully you can tell a difference between the two – the first is a form of trance, the second is a form of house. There are a lot of electronic remixes of popular songs which I believe pull out the feeling of the song in a new way like So Beautiful (Candyland Remix) by Parker Ighile. Electronic music ranges from epic orchestral tracks like Valkyrie III: Atonement feat. Laura Brehm by Varien to dance bangers like Recess feat. Fatman Scoop and Michael Angelakos (Milo & Otis Remix) by Skrillex & Kill The Noise. Perhaps one of the most awesome aspects of electronic music is the ability to create new sounds to get emotional appeals otherwise unable to be had, such as in Raptor by Zomboy, Ragga Bomb by Skrillex, and Can’t Kill Us by The Glitch Mob.

One of the aspects that makes music so great is it’s ability to convey that which cannot be said in words, such as characterizing a story or lifestyle like Can’t Help Myself feat. SD by Brodinski and All I Want – Dawn Golden do, characterizing a whole movie like Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix) by Rob does, giving an entire imaginative experience like The Fall by Seven Lions & Xilent does. One of the things I appreciate about electronic music is that it can do this in completely new ways that are foreign to the natural way, such as the incredibly unique sounds and composition, melody, and feel of Bombat by Infected Mushroom and similar songs. Even though the instruments are synthesized, the feel of a location or a people can still be conveyed like how Suplex feat. Northern Voice by A Tribe Called Red, Good Boy by GD X TaeYang, and Mundian To Bach Ke (Lookas & D!RTY AUD!O Remix) by Panjabi MC all give an impression of a particular type of people group.

Perhaps I am biased from a childhood of growing up on tracks like Ride To Be My Girl by the Benassi Bros, Love Addict by Family Force 5, and Love Comes Again feat. BT by Tiesto, but I love electronic music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of bad electronic music, especially these days since it’s gotten more popular (and correspondingly more generic). But there’s also a ton of great electronic music to find since there are now more producers than ever thanks to electronic production, the internet, and the removal of the need to learn an instrument in order to play instruments. We may just have to wade through loads of generic songs in order to find them.

As a listener, I encourage you to find music that you really like and not just accept that which is placed before you. Have your own opinions about music. This isn’t an attempt or a suggestion to dislike things because they are popular. It is rather a call to a higher standard – one that is creative, varied, purposeful, and skilled.

I hope you understand and enjoy electronic music more than you did at the start of this article! Feel free to message me regarding the genre of a song not given here, related artists or songs in a given mood, or with songs that you really enjoy.