Yes, that means there were at least 16 volumes before this.
The Death of my first Musical Genre (IDM)
Everyone remembers growing up with a certain musical genre, one they truly could call their own. For me, that meant the Intelligent Dance Music, or IDM moniker. Used generally for electronic music that remained classified only by its unusual structures and lack of actual dancing, it served as the perfect gateway music for budding music snobs. The price of admission into this genre remained very low, basically anyone with a sense of melody and an interest in non-rhythmic music could join, so long as they had some ultra-cheap music software.
Intelligent Dance music had to be the first musical genre created by and for the internet. Created in the US of A for the IDM list it was probably one of the first obsessive email lists dedicated exclusively for a specific type of music. Due to its origins in the US, a great deal of artists often described as “IDM” declared the term to be an American construct, particularly Richard D. James (Aphex Twin). Rather than just come to peace with the fairly stupid term, he decided to coin an even stupider term “braindance” and used that heavily for his own Rephlex record label. For whatever reason, the term “braindance” never caught on, probably because it looked so dang awful.
The weird thing remained how I never saw or heard the term “IDM” anywhere besides the internet. Even in what is commonly referred to as “reality” rarely did people bring up any artist who might have been considered “IDM”? What was going on? I later learned that this was an ultra-nerdy sub-sect of music which involved large doses of gear worship and familiarity with various avant-garde composers.
Just as I got it all together, that vast web of interconnected artists, it ended. That knowledge became useless, how this artist related to that one, when this one last put out a record, what record label released their first album. Genres never end swiftly, there’s always a few stragglers, a few artists who continue to follow their path. Listeners are even worse, I can’t tell you how many fans of Aphex Twin I’ve met, of undetermined ages, longing to stay young by listening to the music of their youth, when they were last relevant.
Putting a year on it, I’d say 2004 marked the end. By then, only a few artists continually brought out a solid product, like Autechre, O9, and Venetian Snares. Most of the others had begun moving in other, more boring, directions. Squarepusher had passed his prime, Aphex Twin remained quiet. Pan Sonic came out with that absolutely monstrous Kesto 4 disc set, but those Finns could easily move themselves into the Glitch/Noise category if push came to shove.
Snobby music changed in 2004. The indie renaissance began. Whoever were the arbiters of true taste decided that elitist music didn’t need to sound as masochistic as IDM. Instead, dance became simply dance music. DFA records confirmed that it was alright for us to re-explore the past, of what had gone on in that period between 1978-1989 in New York City. Dance music flourished, indie rock flourished. Even those who went the more masochistic route, by taking on noise, found that noise remained a less heavily curated genre than IDM ever was. Lacking the pretention of IDM while maintaining the weirdness, it fit those looking for something less accessible like a glove.
I remember releasing this genre had ended around 2004. As I looked around at the beach I was wandering around my friends put on Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and I simply danced. No longer did I have to use obscure terminology for what I listened to. Instead, simple words like ‘dance’ and ‘rock’ became usable words again. I felt human, like part of a real community, a community that didn’t exist exclusively online.
Part of me still misses the deeply weird musings of IDM. For that I have a few artists left who occasionally let out a great hurrah every now and then. But for the most part the scene left without announcement into cataloged internet posts, various dusty corners of the web, still keeping them warm with the music of the past.
What was the hardest genre death for you to handle? Will Chillwave live? Is Witch house a real genre? What will 2011 bring, new genre-wise?