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Raving About Electronic Dance Music

Have you ever entered a party zone and felt overwhelmed by the pulsating atmosphere created by foot-tapping music by dj's like David Guetta and Tiesto which appears to encourage everyone to join the dancing? Such is the magic of Electronic Dance Music and so strong is its contagion that it is nearly impossible for anyone to be able to resist it for long. Try as you might, it is just a matter of time before you succumb to the catchy beats and the fluent rhythm and would soon find yourself enveloped by the ongoing music, wanting it to go on endlessly. 

So how did this popular stream of music come into being? A peek into history would revel how Electronic Dance Music, or EDM, as it is popularly known originated and over the decades evolved into a powerful force that took over the whole world -

EDM - Origin and Gradual Evolution

Late 1970s' and early 1980s' in USA were witness to a sharp decline in the popularity of Disco and people were in search of something new, rough, raucous and upbeat. Although Disco was still popular across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe, in America it has already been assigned to the trash bin and in its place came a new genre of music that could be best described as a confluence of a variety of sounds.

Some of the earliest creations of EDM were mostly electronic versions of Disco and vocals being rendered by a single voice. This underwent a paradigm shift when record companies, music producers and club DJs' arrived on the scene and more importantly, began creating a brand of music that was a mix of several types. 

From dance-pop to electro, house music, acid-pop and thereafter, music soon assumed new and hitherto unheard forms and acquired popularity not just among the American youngsters but corporate houses too. Since then EDM has made its presence felt the world over, the only exception being China, where it is yet to make inroads. 

Although no-one knows when the term 'EDM' came into being, it was sometime during the first decade of the new millennium that 'rave' culture and dance music were brought under a single umbrella which was then labeled as EDM.   

EDM Jargon

It turns out that the term 'EDM' was officially accepted in 1995 when an awards ceremony in USA was christened as such. What was earlier referred to as 'dance music' came to be known as EDM and later it even went on to represent the so-called 'rave' music that was all the rage in America. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in UK  music lovers prefer to use the term 'dance muisc' to refer to EDM but this trend is UK specific only. 

A common myth in this arena is that EDM is same as club music - the truth is to the contrary. While EDM refers to genres that have specific musical characteristics that can act as a form of identification if necessary, club music usually comprises of tracks that score well on the popularity index. Thus, EDM and club music are two different streams altogether wherein EDM is marked by well-defined categories and club music has only one criterion, namely popularity.  

Top 5 All-Time-Greats in EDM Category

With the degree of diversity in EDM, compiling a list of Top 5 tracks seemed virtually impossible but an effort was made nonetheless on the basis of parameters such as popularity, timelessness, defining a new trend and their influence on the music industry as a whole. Listed as follows are tracks which are regarded as all-time-greats in EDM - 

Strings of Life - 1987

No discussion based on EDM could ever be completed without the mention of this piano-based strings-personified and sans-bass track which simply conquered dance floors across USA and Europe the moment it was released. Today, after almost three decades, 'Strings of Life' is still regarded as an anthem by EDM patrons because it symbolized a turning point in the category courtesy of expressing the full potential of this category. 

Chime - 1989

Credited as being the first EDM track to have transcended political boundaries and made a global impact, Chime was created by Oribital, a group comprising of Hartnoll Brothers, Phil and Paul. Prior to the creation of 'Chime' EDM was mostly limited to its bithplace, namely Detroit and Chicago, but this changed as the track received tremendous adulation in England followed by Europe and the rest of the world. 

Deep Inside - 1993

Created by New York based musicians, 'Deep Inside' is a perfect example of a track which carries a distinct touch of timelessness. When it was released, the track created a stir courtesy of its soulful combination, deep vocals and upbeat rendition and it is these factors that have earned this track the tag of being iconic and sexy. 

Clear - 1983

As mesmerizing today as it was at the time of its release, 'Clear' was one of the first examples of techno in EDM courtesy of the repetitive rhythms and varied soundscapes used by its creator. Distinctly robotic in its rendition, 'Clear' is believed to have laid the foundation on which future techno tracks were based. 

Mentasm - 1991

An American creation, Mentasm is a synthesizer-based track which sounds menacing rather than melodious  thanks to its hard-techno nature. Legend has it that in order to create this track American music producer, Joey Beltram, simply replicated the sound of a vacuum cleaner and fortified it with faster beats and an upbeat tempo.