So What Do You Mean...Electro? July 2015 Editorial on Technobass.net

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    • So What Do You Mean...Electro? July 2015 Editorial on Technobass.net

      Electro. We have all heard the word at some point in our lives whether we were warned against being electrocuted as children, or received an Electrocardiogram at a hospital; but perhaps not as much until we began to listen to a style of music for a long time referred to as “Electro”. More properly defined as Electro Funk, "Electro", as it began to be called for short, was not just one of the first actual sub-genres of Electronic Music to come about in 1982, but also in many ways the beginning of Hip Hop; where bands like Newcleus, along with producers like Unknown DJ and Pretty Tony would lay the foundation throughout the first half of the '80s for what later became Rap, influencing even the direction Pop music such as Madonna and Michael Jackson would take for some time; not to mention Miami Bass and the plethora of musical styles born out of the drum machine and synthesizer, which still prevail and actually continue to grow in popularity today.

      The curious part about all this, is that just a year before in 1981, the actual oldest sub-genre of Electronic Music was born, as Cybotron's "Alleys Of Your Mind" was released on Deep Space Records, 2 years later further building upon this new genre with the album "Enter" on Fantasy Records, and more specifically via a song that die-hard Electro Funk enthusiasts would claim was another building block for their beloved style: Cybotron’s “Clear”. Something writer and producer Juan Atkins, one of the 3 pioneers of American Techno, would refer to exactly as that: Techno Music. Having been greatly influenced not just by bands like Parliament, but also the iconic German pioneering group Kraftwerk; who in their approach and overall image presented themselves as a band of pure Technology, Juan Atkins and his fellow band of brothers known as the “Belleville Three”, would themselves...Continue Reading!


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      The post was edited 1 time, last by Starchild ().

    • Starchild wrote:

      Electro. We have all heard the word at some point in our lives whether we were warned against being electrocuted as children, or received an Electrocardiogram at a hospital; but perhaps not as much until we began to listen to a style of music for a long time referred to as “Electro”. More properly defined as Electro Funk, "Electro", as it began to be called for short, was not just one of the first actual sub-genres of Electronic Music to come about in 1982, but also in many ways the beginning of Hip Hop; where bands like Newcleus, along with producers like Unknown DJ and Pretty Tony would lay the foundation throughout the first half of the '80s for what later became Rap, influencing even the direction Pop music such as Madonna and Michael Jackson would take for some time; not to mention Miami Bass and the plethora of musical styles born out of the drum machine and synthesizer, which still prevail and actually continue to grow in popularity today.

      The curious part about all this, is that just a year before in 1981, the actual oldest sub-genre of Electronic Music was born, as Cybotron's "Alleys Of Your Mind" was released on Deep Space Records, 2 years later further building upon this new genre with the album "Enter" on Fantasy Records, and more specifically via a song that die-hard Electro Funk enthusiasts would claim was another building block for their beloved style: Cybotron’s “Clear”. Something writer and producer Juan Atkins, one of the 3 pioneers of American Techno, would refer to exactly as that: Techno Music. Having been greatly influenced not just by bands like Parliament, but also the iconic German pioneering group Kraftwerk; who in their approach and overall image presented themselves as a band of pure Technology, Juan Atkins and his fellow band of brothers known as the “Belleville Three”, would themselves...Continue Reading!


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      I am sorry but this particular phrase, '[...] but also in many ways the beginning of Hip Hop' immediately indicates that the writer may not have a full understanding of Hip Hop and it's origins and evolution, which is (admittedly) quite complicated and still contested. Part of the difficulty will always be in attempting to articulate a specific and singular starting point for a genre, or a culture.

      155

      :wow:
      Never to the left of a yoga mat!
    • 155 wrote:

      I am sorry but this particular phrase, '[...] but also in many ways the beginning of Hip Hop' immediately indicates that the writer may not have a full understanding of Hip Hop and it's origins and evolution, which is (admittedly) quite complicated and still contested. Part of the difficulty will always be in attempting to articulate a specific and singular starting point for a genre, or a culture.

      155

      :wow:


      Depends on what you read into these few words. The short-lived fusion of electronic music and hip hop in the early 80s was for sure a milestone in both genres evolution. And a milestone like this could be seen "in many ways" as a "beginning". Especially for hip hop, as songs like "Planet Rock" brought the music to a wider audience.

      I almost missed those Electro/Hiphop discussions. :ugly:
    • That is a valid point generally but in this particular context it appears to suggest that 'Hip Hop' and a particular form of electronic music co-existed and emerged at the same time. In the wider context the particular, specific and predominant use of electronic music as a vehicle for Rap was reasonably short lived - and was soon replaced (especially within the US context) by a return to 'breaks' (though perhaps with a lessening role for the DJ). Rap as a mode of expression predates the later adaption of electronic music known as 'Electro-Funk' - this can not be disputed. Moreover it remains the case that exposure to Rap in the UK was facilitated through culturally specific, and relatively few, outputs - meaning that the UK understanding and situating of Rap may make little sense to a non-UK audience (I am thinking here particularly of the 'influential and highly iconic 'Street Sounds Electro' series).

      There is certainly scope for more work to be done on mapping the cultural formation of Hip Hop, especially given the tendency over time to retrospectively 'push back' ever further the roots of the experience, and the fact that the four elements may not have been cohesively aligned from the start.

      One for a PhD thesis I think.

      155
      :)
      Never to the left of a yoga mat!
    • Considering that Hip Hop in the 70's was more on a local level in NYC, "In many ways" pays respect to the idea that Hip Hop was already alive and well, however, it really wasnt until Rappers Delight that it began to gain momentum, followed by Planet Rock and the trend that followed which began what is widely regarded as the early phase of Hip Hop which brought it to the worldwide masses. Street Sounds was responsible for bringing it to Europe, but also arguably responsible for the confusion as to what is Electro, since much of it would have been considered straight up Hip Hop.

      Had the writer claimed this was "the beginning" as many try to, it would have overlooked everything that went on in NYC, again, on a local level, but with players such as Bambaata, Kool Herc (who coined the term Hip Hop), and Grandmaster Flash already local legends who were clearly building a strong foundation for the culture.
    • Starchild wrote:

      Considering that Hip Hop in the 70's was more on a local level in NYC, "In many ways" pays respect to the idea that Hip Hop was already alive and well, however, it really wasnt until Rappers Delight that it began to gain momentum, followed by Planet Rock and the trend that followed which began what is widely regarded as the early phase of Hip Hop which brought it to the worldwide masses. Street Sounds was responsible for bringing it to Europe, but also arguably responsible for the confusion as to what is Electro, since much of it would have been considered straight up Hip Hop.

      Had the writer claimed this was "the beginning" as many try to, it would have overlooked everything that went on in NYC, again, on a local level, but with players such as Bambaata, Kool Herc (who coined the term Hip Hop), and Grandmaster Flash already local legends who were clearly building a strong foundation for the culture.
      This post makes no sense. 'Hip Hop' as a form of cultural expression certainly emerged in New York in the mid to late 1970s - although there has been a reaction in recent years to situate the emergence of the form against the activity of DJs working within the Disco tradition, suggesting that the roots of Hip Hop go further than might be expected. In this respect 'Rapper's Delight' (1979) and 'King Tim III' (1979) represent a particular attempt to codify something which already existed and was recognised as a particular formation. Your analysis appears to suggest that 'gaining momentum' equates with a wider cultural recognition, seeing this as a positive. I am quite certain that if you went to NYC and spoke to the generation involved in the development of Hip Hop their assessment of the impact of 'Rapper's Delight' would be nuanced and variegated, and might not be expressed in such glowing terms as you would appear to suggest.

      I return to my original point, that 'Electro-Funk' is likely to be far more recognisable to a US context than 'Electro' - which (as you agree) was packaged and disseminated in the UK by Morgan Khan and his 'Street Sounds' label. This has a distorting effect, subsuming 'Rap' under a highly specific term that may have made little sense to the artists actually making the music. Where there was an advantage in this process was the fact that a UK Rap fan would be exposed to a diversity of music that may not have been apparent, available, or experienced within the US domestic context. Mike Allen's notes for 'LA Vs NY Beats' are very apposite in this context.

      I would also, very respectfully, posit that your suggestion that Kool Herc coined the term 'Hip Hop' is open to criticism - others have been suggested with equal credibility - Cowboy (for example).

      The predominance of electronic production was relatively short lived in Rap, it in no way represented the beginning of Hip Hop, it should be seen a a phase in the evolution of the art form and no more. That the wider dissemination of Rap through this particular form of production achieved recognition is worthy of further comment and exploration, with a thorough consideration of the cultural and social forces at play, and the individuals involved (Malcom McClaren for example).

      Some people might think that such nuanced distinctions do not matter, but they do. Otherwise narratives are created and espoused that may not accurately reflect, as far as is possible, the facts on the ground.

      155
      Never to the left of a yoga mat!
    • In previous discussions on here we already pointed out that the term "Electro" or "Elektro", on a small level, already appeared in context of late 1970s electronic music in France, Germany and Japan. There are some record covers and magazin articles from the time proving it. So recognizing that, the Streetsound label was actually the first to "hi-jack" the term, using it for what really should have been called "Electro-Hiphop" or "Electro-Rap".

      The farther one goes from that point the more messy it gets trying track down the ways of the "Electro" term and the styles that went under it in different scenes and areas of the world. It's save to say though that in the 90s the "Electro" term was reclaimed by the electronic music scene. "New School Electro" or "Techno-Electro" as it's still being produced today and its heavily Kraftwerk influenced sound-design character was a new genre that slowly emerged from the Techno underground throughout the 90s.

      Along also came a revival of the classic Electrofunk and Electro-Hiphop sound, which ultimately overshadowed the momentum of the new Electro genre to an extend that all Electro using the typical syncopated beats was considered retro and old school. After a short commercial overkill peak with cheesy b-boy Electro even making it into the big charts (at least in Germany) it was over.

      The "Electro" term was still around for some time, but it then suddenly also included the upcoming Italo-Disco revival, Electroclash etc. paving the way for "Electro" to be used again as a short term for all electronic music in general. "Our" types of Electro music were left back underground robbed of its name as if it never existed...


    • Im sure there is much to still uncover with Hip Hop as there is with Electro music, but generally speaking this is the widely accepted understanding that it started in NYC around the mid to late 70's and as for the name,coined by Kool Herc....but hey, im no Hip Hop expert. Im no expert at all, just a student of life as the rest of us. Not sure why you would think it makes no sense though, unless you claim to be the keeper of Hip Hop's hidden knowledge, and mainstream belief nonsensical.

      And yes Matthias, while it is important to understand how the term came about , as mentioned in the article, it is quite a tragedy how our type of Electro has been nameless and without any recognition within the music industry....as if someone started calling something else classical and left classical in the dust with no name, and no way of reminding everyone it was still a part of everything. A real shame, which i hope gets restored sooner than later.
    • Although it's a bottomless pit, I love such discussions about the origin of a musically related term from time to time. T'was a pleasure to read, thanks.

      And @Starchild, I just love how you used the term "classical" to compare it to the misuse of "electro" nowadays, because the term "classical" itself already underwent such mislabeling in the past! The Classical period in music history was a special period around 1730-1820, whereas in newer times we use the term to describe a lot of music of different periods as well, e.g. Rennaissance, Baroque, Romantic and Classical itself.

      I don't know if you knew that, but if so, I applaud your sense of irony! :-D