Electronic music in the 1990s vs. Now

By | 02/14/2016

Ask anyone what type of music they like and the they will most likely say rock, continue asking what styles of rock and you would likely get hard rock, indie rock, heavy metal, stoner or any other kind of music containing guitars as their reply. If you ask a regular EDM fan today the same question they will most probably have a tough time listing three sub-genres of EDM they’re into. The styles were so distinct that they can easily be identified, but now, not so much.

It’s all just EDM today. For a large number of young listeners EDM seems to be a new genre of its own now, characterized by predictable melodies that immediately attach themselves in your mind and vocals you can sing alongside when you hear them once. This is sounding very similar to pop isn’t it? Put a huge drop with heave bass, huge synth leads and noise on top of that, and you’ve got the definition of today’s EDM. Dance music today is extremely predictable.

So how did this happen? EDM has been growing larger and larger for a long time now, finally making it past the clubs and into mainstream. This was kind of fuelled some time during 2005 and 2009 when some rising producers managed to create hype and make electronic music “acceptable” for people who have never got into this type of music before Think of: Justice’s remix for Simian’s We Are Your Friends, the early days of The Hype Machine, Kitsuné, blog house,  the Ed Banger generation, MGMT’s – Kids and Crookers. EDM is basically mainstream pop music now – Plenty of examples, a bit too many (Just go on youtube and most likely there’s something on the first page).

How it was in the 1990’s

The “golden age of trance” as we once called it and the rise of DnB, early dubstep, hardstyle and plenty more is what defined that era, electronic music back then is unforgettable. Plenty of modern music just rips off melodies from those old time tested classics from the 80’s and 90’s. Here’s an example of one of them:

Substance is what I like to use to define electronic music back then, they all had substance (at least the memorable ones).  I’m not saying there aren’t great songs today, there definitely are, but most are unknown indie artist. Mainstream EDM today is just plain recycled garbage.

Electronic dance music was hugely successful throughout Europe, Britain, Germany and Italy. Raves were common at the start of the 90’s in Britain. Famous genres at these dance raves were  hardcore, techno and breakbeat. During the mid-1990s they branched off split into separate sub-genres like happy hardcore, DnB and Jungle.

Progressive house, big beat, trip hop, vocal house and UK Garage were among other popular genres that rised during the 90’s. The latter developed in London in the late 1990s and continued to be successful through to early 2000s. DJs such as John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Ferry Corsten and Tiesto became huge names in the industry.

Italo house was the last thing Italy developed in the 80’s and then became one of many places to produce Eurodance and hi nrg. These were successful on the mainstream level around the globe. Darker styles of music like hard trance, techno and techno. were prominent in Germany and Belgium.  Trance came about in the early 1990s and by the early 2000’s had engulfed most of Europe, with super famous artists like Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk, WestBam and ATB gaining massive mainstream and underground success. No one knows what the future of electronic music will be, let’s just hope it will actually be music, and not just noises slapped together.