An Introduction to IDM

  Intelligent Dance Music (usually shortened to IDM) is a branch of electronic music that developed in the early 1990s, mostly in the United Kingdom. The term "Intelligent Dance Music" and the implied attitude of IDM being more intellectual than other forms of dance music is slightly controversial, and its use has even been denounced by leading musicians in the would-be "IDM" scene. Nonetheless, the name is still widely used by the media and fans alike.

IDM was a consequence of and response to the rave culture popular in Britain in the onset on the 1990s. In distinction to mainstream electronica popular at the time, IDM was intented to be more ambient, complex and geared away from a club atmosphere. The style is hard to categorize in terms of musical characteristics, as a diversity of experimental bands and artists are all described as IDM.

Since IDM has many influences in common with other genres of electronic music, namely Techno and House, many of the hardware synthesizers, grooveboxes and drum machines widely found in these scenes in the 1980s and 1990s have also been used on IDM recordings as well. The Roland TB-303 and TR-606 are two of the most popular such pieces of gear.

Over the last decade, music software has also provided IDM musicians with new tools to create a wider range of sounds not possible with analog equipment. The modular synthesizer program Reaktor by Native Instruments is one of the most well-known, though a variety of other programs have been used to the same effect.

Some of the most popular IDM bands today include Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Squarepusher, The Future Sound of London and Autechre. Among the most widely used equipment used by these and similar bands are Native Instruments Reaktor, Roland TR-606 Drumatix, Roland TB-303 Bass Line, Apple Logic and Native Instruments Absynth.


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