Just having my daily read-through one of my favorite electronic music forums, EDMDistrict, and came across this topic titled, “Why are people liking this?”. Embed in the opening post is Au5’s “Singularity” - an artist I do enjoy particularly for his collaborations with Fractal - so my attention is immediately captured and I start reading.
The opening post says (keep in mind this is also from someone who enjoys Au5’s work):
All tracks have its own topic or reason based on which it was created.
Now, all genres send us different messages. Trance for example, its message can vary from sadness to happiness, cheerful, motivating and all other sorts of feelings.
How about the EDM? A lot of genres are categorized as part of the EDM. I know about moombahton, hardstyle, dubstep, drumstep, drum & bass, big room, chillstep. I can give the same example here as above, but that’s not what I intended.
EDM genres should be unique for its content, but besides the few artists I really appreciate and this community, everything I heard on the Internet is just monotony. The same track construction technique, everyone is aiming to have a really hard, and I mean, HARD and annoying track with all the credit for its melodicity going to the riff machine and not the artist, and besides this, a lot of illogical high pitched sounds as each track drop (except for some genres which don’t have a drop of course) because it’s cool. The only artists I appreciate for those high pitched sounds are Knife Party, now THAT sounds decent!
Recently every artist is aiming for those characteristics and this is really bad because people actually are searching for those type of tracks! I mean what the hell?! Is the melodic sub-division slowly dying? Where are the good people that enjoy a good melody that turns their skin upside down then bang their head madly to a good bass drop? Let’s say there is no bass drop (to stop the generalization) so people would just enter a state of trance because of the awesome track that’s playing in the background.
Replied to with:
Now, I barely know Au5’s work as an artist but I can safely say that he’s good enough to make a track without relying on these cliched features to make it sound ‘good’. Ergo, the top producers are realising that it’s more profitable to appeal to the lowest common denominator, so they make boring stuff like this. Then, the smaller, less experienced artists think it’s ok to do the same because making stuff like this or big room is easier and hey, it’s popular right?
It’s always fickle saying anything concrete about anything in the artistic field since everything under the rainbow is subjective to taste. If you tried to voice an opinion as fact about a song, genre, or what have you to someone who didn’t see eye-to-eye with you, most likely the other person would have a good laugh at you and walk away. So what’s the problem? Well, the concern here is that EDM is becoming saturated with artists throwing away the value of melody and variety in favor of repetitive, unoriginal bass drops. While not directly related, it’s the same “causation-correlation” stuff that reminds me of the infamous Loudness War. Feel free to click on that if you don’t know what that is.
And then we have this:
In response to another post made by the topic-starter, this time featuring Au5’s “The Reason II”:
Clearly the production quality is good, but cmon this is just a rehash of everything that’s already been done. Absolutely generic structure. It’s a fucking 3 chord song for crying out loud (Ebm Gb Ab). Again, the production is on point; way beyond what I can do. But to say that he is the one to follow for dubstep, glitch, etc is missing the point. We should be aspiring to make great music. Production has already been made as shiny as it can go. The next wave of talent is gonna be the ones that have outstanding production quality with actual musicality. […] You won’t find it in people who got big because they copied what was already big.
I’ll risk going off-topic to point out briefly - I’ve felt more emotion in some three and four-chord songs than I ever have in eight chords or more, and while I’m not personally a fan of songs that utilize the epic chord progression, I’m proud to admit of a few that have used it well enough and still be very engaging, just like the Ebm, Gb, Ab structure mentioned above. And, seriously? What makes “great music”? That’s not for me, or anyone else, to say in absolution, but I do know music without emotion is like a sky void of blue.
But I’d also like to clarify that there is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from an artist that heavily influences you and then adding your own style. When he calls out people who “got big because they copied what was already big”, what we’re talking about here is outright mimicry, mostly seen in mainstream media. This isn’t surprising, since there’s been a stigma associated with most mainstream media for as long as I can remember. Now, there’s another stigma that’s been simmering for a little while now.
Most of the more experimental and unique artists that I see now don’t even both calling their music “EDM” now, many of them actively claim that their music is not “EDM”, even if it technically could be considered EDM.
Why? Because when people think mainstream “EDM” they think of “irrelevant melody lines” leading up to that “epic drop” - the two slices of 30~45 intense seconds in a 5:00 long song that serves as the only reason anyone is willing to listen to it for that long. Every pop celebrity under the sun is hopping on the EDM band-wagon now, and Trap has also entered the fray, with or without the “whoop-whoop” leads. The “experimental and unique artists” really do not prefer to be associated with that. I myself have EDM in my name, but I don’t give a damn because electronic dance music is what it is. It’s not electronic TRAP music, or electronic BIG ROOM music, or electronic DUBSTEP music; it is electronic dance music, everything in between. You can move your body to it, right? Yes, head-bobbing counts.
If I were someone else, I could have written a more extensive rant about this, but my thoughts at the end of the day? Another post -
i never understood why people would even cry a river about this topic.
If you don’t like it move on and keep an eye out there for the music you like.
I seriously do not know why we even waste the energy to talk about this. Music will continue to do what it always has been since the beginning of time - evolve: it’s going to keep transitioning whether or not we like it, in a direction that we may or may not approve of, but there will always be the underground artists trekking on uncommon ground and a mainstream industry that, for the most part, will be looked at with scorn regardless of where they came from or where they’re going. All this discussion about melody & emotion VS. the noise/loudness, the Loudness War excluded, is reminiscent of situations where you’d turn on your favorite electronic track and have someone such as your grandparents ask you “what that atrocious noise” was. Today’s underground may be the next mainstream, for all we know, then what will people think, I wonder? With the ever-growing popularity of UK Garage duo Disclosure, I’ve seen absurd comments about a fan expressing their dislike that they were going mainstream, even though they were nowhere near losing their trademark style. ”Big” does not equate to “bad” - Above & Beyond and BT, in my opinion, are two notable examples of this, as they do excellently at making emotionally-driven tracks regardless of their popularity and exposure. Au5 & Fractal have easily combined an overflow of emotion in their hard bass drops, particularly in their remix of Singularity’s “Alone." This feat isn’t even difficult assuming you’re serious and sincere in what you do.
We may feel that people are losing sight of what music is/should be, overexposed to songs that consist of one kick drum, a bass, and a synth wailing wildly that makes us ask questions like “Why are people liking this?”. As genuine as that question may be, it’s getting nobody anywhere. Music begins to die when you spit at someone for their taste. Just keep making what you love and listening to what you love: that’s where your message is best portrayed. The underground is silent but in many cases eloquent when you do hear its voice. I like to think of the Law of the Conservation of Energy when it comes to musical evolution - the total energy of of an isolated system cannot change, but it is conserved. Emotion will not die, and neither will the bass drop. Frankly, I think it’s better off that way. That way everyone will be able to enjoy his own thing.
I personally adore the likes of Mango, Shingo Nakamura, Dinka, Sergey Alekseev and Valentin, but I love a good drop every now and then.
And I’ll end this with this tidbit of info that applies here.