Electronic music actually involves numerous subgenres and even non-genres. It’s easy for the uninitiated to lump them all into the corporate-labeled non-genre of electronic dance music or EDM. To help you survive any future discussions with certain DJs and even dancers who take the “culture” and what they do a tad too seriously here are several electronic music documentaries that will make you more of an expert.
This is the most comprehensive and longest documentary on house music. It covers the history of house from Chicago’s underground clubs through the UK’s so-called “summer of love” in 1989 when acid house music captured the Brit music landscape. The documentary also discusses drum and bass, techno and UK garage music. It’s perfect for those seeking more information on the roots of today’s club music.
“I Was There When House Took Over the World” provides a detailed focus on the evolution of house music from disco music to its official birth in Chicago. It features noteworthy interviews with DJ Pierre, Honey Dijon, Marshall Jefferson, and Nile Rodgers. It also includes a praiseworthy segment with Jesse Saunders. Saunders is credited for producing the first official release in the genre, 1984’s “On and On.”
Contrary to popular belief, techno wasn’t imported from Europe. This documentary reveals the true origins of the genre. It reports techno’s connections to dreams of Afrofuturism, robots, and urban decay. The film also focuses on techno’s earliest years, the genre’s major players, and the eventual exportation of the music to Europe where it garnered its biggest audience. The documentary also includes an interview with techno journalist and author Dan Sicko.
Electro is considered one of the most difficult genres to peg down. “Darkbeat: An Electro Voyage” researches the often difficult to define and hard to follow electro genre. The development of electro begins with Kraftwerk, through early-1980s electro-funk, Detroit techno, the United Kingdom, Europe and its current sound. Essentially, electro is the bastard child of techno and hip-hop, while still maintaining its own musical identity. This film ties it all together.
This short documentary explores Drexciya. Drexciya consists of Gerald Donald and the late James Stinson. This performing pair is arguably the most relevant act to influence the genre of modern electro. They explore themes rooted in Afrofuturism and a culture born of the sea. This duo also spawned numerous side projects under multiple aliases. They included Der Zyklus, Doppler Effekt, Elektroids, Lab Rat XL, The Other People Place, Transillusion, and more.
This particular presentation is reported to be more of a rundown of different dance music genres than a documentary. It even includes subgenres. The presentation begins with the genre’s jungle roots to more modern musical mutations such as Drumstep.
It dissects the numerous subgenres of drum and bass according to their individual characteristics and then demonstrates their various differences with actual audio examples.
Before electro, house, techno, and even disco, dub music was at the forefront of the sound system culture in Jamaica. This music laid the foundation for all that followed. “Dub Echoes” uncovers both the impact and the lineage dub music from its origins in the late 1960s with producers Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby to UK garage sounds and musician and hyperdub label owner Kode 9
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