What is the differnce between 'Electronic' and 'Electronica'

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melodydad
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What is the differnce between 'Electronic' and 'Electronica'

Post by melodydad » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:29 am

This is not at all meant to be a frivolous post but may come over as an 'old fart' type question, but what is it that we make with our modulars? 'Electronic Music' or 'Electronica'?

Looking at artists on Bandcamp, where both Electronic and Electronica appear as genres, I still couldn't figure it out as it seemed some artists appear under both.

Are there commercial artists of whom it could definitely be stated as producing music in one genre or the other?

Is there in fact a specific definition? :despair:
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Post by PhineasFreak » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:39 am

This has entertained me for years as a satisfying answer...
Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music wrote:Electronica does not exist. Not as a genre or a description. It was coined by the North American music press to refer to the second wave of electronic music's explosion in the late 90s, and exists purely as a marketing buzzword, not any actual quantifiable branch of music (the first wave of electronic music, incidentally, they called 'techno', and, having driven the word into the ground beyond all sense of meaning, they couldn't keep using it if they wished to re-market the music). Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, Prodigy's 'Fat of the Land', Chemical Brothers and other big-time stars of that period were all called "electronica" at one point or another, but the person who really popularized it in the public consciousness was Madonna and her shallow, William Orbit-produced piss-poor attempt at appropriating trance music as something she invented (Ray of Light). She used that word all the damn time in interviews. God I hate her. So yeah: There is no such thing as electronica. I want each and every one of you to stop calling it that, because it makes you sound like a god damn retard. If you want to talk about the music as a whole, simply call it what it is: "electronic music" (or EDM--Electronic Dance Music--for the club/rave stuff). This is a PSA from the Official Electronic Music Genre Standards and Classifications Consortium.

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Post by stainers » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:56 am

It's certainly become (perhaps always was) pretty sketchy to define anything contemporary with the word electronica, but just because the 'North American Press' coined it doesn't mean it ceases to exist.

There was a good article recently about the origins of genre names, well worth a read, and in depth enough to mention tekstep, which makes it ok by me :mrgreen:

Here's a link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/au ... es-hip-hop

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Post by ndkent » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:20 am

Electronic Music is just what it is at face value. It's not a style, it's a description that electronics are involved enough to point it out. I agree "Electronica" came from the later 90s and while not liked as a term did suit need of a catch a lot of styles category to set up in a shop or site index. I can think that while certain music was becoming more mainstream that there would be a need to separate it from more out there experimental music

I can see why artists don't want to be put in groups and want to think of themselves as a style of theirs alone, but I can also see how if one is dealing with a lot of different music there are all sorts of advantages to group things. Then again the advantages disappear if you categorize so much that you have piles of genres that just makes things more confusing. I don't think it's that bad a compromise considering it does highlight styles some people seek out yet keeps it less confusing than to have a pile of micro styles.

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Post by usw » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:39 am

I strongly disagree with the article, this word appeared around 92/93, in order to define all those tracks which couldn't be assimilated to the techno, house or chill out/trance genres (not what the mid/late 90's would call "trance" at all), and I remember a dutch label named "new electronica" from this era. Those tracks had a strong abstract bias, and weren't dance floor oriented.
Last edited by usw on Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by suitandtieguy » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:46 am

i'm with Ishkur.





as usual.
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Post by Morley » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:59 am

suitandtieguy wrote:i'm with Ishkur.





as usual.
Me too.
And I really can't stand the synths on Ray Of Light. Nasty.

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Post by darenager » Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:03 am

This clip always makes me laugh, from around 2.10 when he is asking what styles they are into
[video][/video]

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Post by melodydad » Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:22 am

I actually wasn't really referring to (what might loosely be called) Dance music - and I find Ishkur's statement that 'the first wave of electronic music, incidentally, they called 'techno' seems to dismiss entirely several decades of electronic music, but still . . . . .

The question was more along the lines of - in no particular order:

Radiophonic Workshop/Delia Derbyshire/Dave Vorhaus - Brian Eno/Devo - Kraftwerk - Tomita - Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze - Autechre - Boards of Canada - etc, etc

Electronic or Electronica?

(and who can forget Tonto's Expanding Headband? - clearly a lot of people . . . .)
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Post by suitandtieguy » Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:29 am

Morley wrote:I really can't stand the synths on Ray Of Light. Nasty.
that album and Orbit's output thereafter were EXTREMELY disappointing to me because i like the Strange Cargo albums quite a bit.

then he got the big money and was like "OH FUCK IT I'LL JUST PUMP SOME SHIT OUT AND TO HELL WITH MY REP."

fuck that guy. i don't normally say that in a professional fashion, but he is an artist i will say out loud i don't resepct any longer.
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Post by DGTom » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 am

in a mediatized culture once a word / term is used in public it becomes real, even if its coined for the most cynical of reasons (like pitching a doco to PBS or curating a compilation CD for Virgin)

Electronica & Techno are problematic whereas House & Garage aren't (or are just "less problematic") the former being (arguably) the inventions of record label hacks & the latter emerging from within the scenes they would come to describe.

a key part to understanding why EDM (or club & rave shit, which is my preffered term) gets so murky is in understanding the way alot of music journalism is structured. Many, too many, people writing professionally about a sound will be deeply embedded in it. If this is a one way relationship (the writer is a fan) its not toooo bad (Simon Renyolds & Jungle) but I'm deeply sceptical that any human can be DJing / Producing / running a label & writing objectively about music (Martin Clarke & Dubstep)

There is a parallel here to war reporting & many of the criticisms hold in both arenas. Yes, you have to get close to the action to know what is really going on, but, getting SO close that you're economically and / or emotionally entangled leads to bad journalism which inevitably ends in bad history.

Sorry for the ramble - please, no one get me started on genre, geography & hip-hop - but in an attempt to answer at least one of the OPs questions;

there are no specific definitions, quite the contrary.

The explosion in genrefication came about because of the increasingly informal way in which music was (is) being consumed.

Clubs, Raves, pirate radio all result in people wandering into record stores (often still in altered states of mind) trying to hum/chant/gesticulate themselves into a purchase, so jargon plasticity was an advantage "got any of that dubby-tech-fluffcore-mash-up crunk-step mang?"

Now the hypertextual, #trending, likes landscape (soundscape? audiosphere? wankstain?) that virtual places like bandcamp & soundcloud inhabit encourage a kind of playfull, irreverent hyper plastic jargon which is not so much there to help navigate the terrain as it is a terrain of its own.

No reason to feel old, Lewis Carroll was goofing with words in much the same way as these 20 year old twitterers. Climb on board, it's a helluva toboggan ride!

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Post by essex sound lab » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:37 am

I, entirely arbitrarily, use the genre tag of "Electronica" on electronic music (lower case) in my media library for things that I find to have a hint or more of 90's-and-after pop sensibility. Beyond that personal use, I don't think I'd use the term at all.

I find the term sufficiently vague -- and employed in so many different ways -- that it's become useless in any broader context.

Edit: Edited so it can be parsed. Too much pre-coffee typing earlier this AM.
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Post by chinard » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:54 am

electronica has a letter "A" at the end

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Re: What is the differnce between 'Electronic' and 'Electron

Post by PhineasFreak » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:56 am

melodydad wrote:This is not at all meant to be a frivolous post but may come over as an 'old fart' type question, but what is it that we make with our modulars? 'Electronic Music' or 'Electronica'?
i fear the answer that best helps as far as finding music you like/helping others who will like yours find it is that you use your modular to make both 'Electronic Music' and 'Electronica'. however, too many people will not search under such genres these days because they are so all encompassing.

if you make house or trance or whatever, chances are you know the name used most commonly for what you're trying to find/dissemniate and hence will have success.

otherwise the best tricks are following the mass market and looking to see what the artists you listen/liken your music to get classified as on itunes or beatport or amazon.

it kinda sucks having to do that but, whatever it takes, eh?

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Post by numan7 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:04 am

I always supposed it was the plural of "Electronics" :)

kewl thread!

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Post by M. Rishi » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:07 am

chinard wrote:electronica has a letter "A" at the end
Good man. We think alike.

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Post by DGTom » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:33 am

essex sound lab wrote:I find the term sufficiently vague -- and employed in so many ways different ways -- that it's become useless in any broader context.
:tu: any term that is sufficiently meaningfull enough to be usefull will inevitably be so over-used it will become useless.

some soundcloud users deploy massive doomsday book-esque lists of genres or concoct some meme soup

"be just, if you can't be just, be arbitrary"

PhineasFreak wrote:otherwise the best tricks are following the mass market and looking to see what the artists you listen/liken your music to get classified as on itunes or beatport or amazon.
the good thing about this is it works just as well for micro markets as it does for mass & you just need to follow your ears & keep clicking till something you like pops up :D

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Post by monads » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:58 am

suitandtieguy wrote:that album and Orbit's output thereafter were EXTREMELY disappointing to me because i like the Strange Cargo albums quite a bit.
I liked his Hello Waveforms album...

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Post by Liddlepud » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:17 am

DGTom wrote:playfull, irreverent hyper plastic jargon
Can I have that as a Genre?

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Post by Liddlepud » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:23 am

Re William Orbit. Torch Song - Towards the Unknown Region is a great album.

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Post by richard » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:47 am

I thought electronica was invented by British Journalists around the early Aphex period? I didn't know what it mean t but it irritated me so much at the time that I stopped reading The Wire.

...then a couple of years later I stooped writing for it too :hihi:

I don't think it means anything, but then nor does electronic music. these days I tend to say I'm doing electroacoustic music - but I don't know what that means either
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Post by DGTom » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:01 am

richard wrote:stooped
awesomest typo :yay:

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Post by Luka » Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:01 am

Electronic Music is a description where Electornica is a name. Adjective vs Noun

I'm all for titles and genres within reason - it gets a little crazy at the micro level where you have 6 adjectives and 6 nouns all wrapped into a genre name

They helps poeple communicate

I use electronica when i am trying to steer away people away from thinking the music is dance floor orientated - it is a pretty good wrapper for a lot of down tempo beaty electronic.

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Post by ersatzplanet » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:07 pm

To me and many "old school" EM musicians, Electronic music is not dance music. It is the thematic or experimental music of the early years. It is a wide swath of music that you sat and listened to, more of a concert music. Electronica to me was when it turned into dance music, or club music. To me Electronic Music IS a genre not a description. I know that now Electronic Music is used to describe a huge array of musical types all the way from rap to dance to trance to jungle, to anything produced with synthesizers. To me that is like saying anything produced with a electric guitar is rock music.

Basically the term means nothing to me anymore - it has been diluted into meaninglessness...

I asked this question a while back in another thread - viewtopic.php?t=43734
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Post by CJ Miller » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:05 pm

DGTom wrote:in a mediatized culture once a word / term is used in public it becomes real, even if its coined for the most cynical of reasons (like pitching a doco to PBS or curating a compilation CD for Virgin)
This is probably bothers people - just because any arbitrary term is real, is not to say that it represents anything accurate! Whenever music press decides to try to publicize what "the kids are into these days" the results are humorous and not to be taken seriously. Especially these days when, as you remarked, music and jargon are so plastic. People coin and misappropriate labels because a catch-all term satisfies a desire for catch-all categorization. Because the press themselves never seemed to know what electronica was, I disregarded the term.

Living in a mediatized culture, those who author media go some ways towards shaping social reality. So define your own genre label for what you do.

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