So, you’re in your dorm and you hear some God-awful techno blasting down the hall. You’re not doing too much, just trying to get a glimpse of the line that determines the limits of your reality and coming to the realization that you are the dreamer dreaming up the dream that is your life. You know, simple stuff, really. But, despite how mundane those thoughts might be, you just can’t concentrate because the atrociously bland music is numbing each and every neuron in your body. The good, peaceful numbing: the abysmal complacent numbness that you get from staring at the television for three hours.
Well, my friends, that techno that you’re hearing is the tip of an incredible iceberg. Unbeknownst to you, this repulsively bland entity is nothing more than a mislabeled genre. Electronic music is better described as a means of instrumentation. It’s not a new age development, but an example of what happens when humans find new media for creation. Its history as an established aesthetic begins when Ferruccio Busoni published Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music. Quite a piece of work. Nevertheless, I haven’t explained what you’ll find when you swim off the shore of traditional music: simply that you’ve overlooked a beautiful and cryptic expanse of sounds.
So, you’re wondering what you should check out to see the vast gamut of sonic tapestries that exist in the realm of electronic music, aren’t you? Well, for starters, listen to Aphex Twin, which is, in my opinion, an incredibly effective primer in learning how to “brain dance.” Aphex Twin’s discography contains a range of acid (’90s jungle), synesthetic ambient, drum and bass, classical, songs about milkmen, noise, spectrographic analysis, and rich, intricate rhythms at all sorts of tempos.
The big thing that electronic music did for me was that it taught me how to know what I liked hearing. Abrasive, minimal, ethereal, ghostly, uplifting, soul-crushing, body rockin’, mind soothing; believe you me, my friend, someone has recorded it and it’s waiting for you to experience it.
No more “Sandstorm.” Ever.