Absurd electronic music genres that I enjoy...

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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#1
I like to surf Youtube and Soundcloud and look for different sounds and ideas in music. Sometimes I stumble on to something that catches my ear. If you want to hear a new sound, the best place to do it is electronic music obscure sub-genres. Here is a few I found that are pretty ridiculous but damned if I don't find them somehow listenable:

Vaporwave:
Maybe some of you have heard about this before, but maybe not. It is a bizarre, low-fi, retro music that is almost like "irony 80's" music. There has been a resurgence of 80's retro synth music lately such as this mix for a good example that pays tribue to the new wave music of the 80's, but Vaporwave is like a nostalgia for the discarded cheesy commercial aspects of 80's music. It is usually mixed for a low-fidelity sound as if to admit that, yes, this was pretty bad, but there is still an affection for it anyway. I realize this is probably what the hipsters are listening to, or at least were listening to a couple years ago, but somehow I can listen to this stuff pretty easily. I do find some oddities in this music that are pretty amusing. It's a clever throw-away genre that is easy on the ears and doesn't demand much attention. Here are some examples:


deadmalls soundcloud channel
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#2
Skullstep:
This is a pretty nutty subgenre of drum'n'bass that was kind of popular in the harder end of D'nB from about 2008 to 2012. Some people call it skullstep, but there isn't really a name that stuck to this stuff. I don't really hear it made or played anymore after that. It is only heard on the harder and darker end of the spectrum. It takes breakbeats to a strange new heights. It uses a very rapid succession of kickdrums and tops them off with an open tom hit. It creates a peculiar headbanging rhythm, and it sounds very fast but without simply turning up the BPM. I like it as a nice departure from the more 4/4 standard beat patterns. It is not the most sophisticated music, but I like the sound of it. Here is a couple good examples:

 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#3
Witchhouse:
This is a rather juvenile genre, really it is meant for angsty 16 year olds, but I don't care, I have heard some tracks from this stuff that I like anyway. If that costs me my audiophile credentials, than so be it! It takes hip hop percussion and bass but dresses it up in 'hoover' trance type synth sounds and sparse, usually female vocals and washes it all down with tons of reverb effects. It is probably really hits the spot for a teen into goth culture, but, when it is not too dreary, there is a track here and there that I really like the sound of. If you want to know what this stuff sounds like, or if you want to get in touch with your inner melancholy teenage self, just skip around this mix:
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#4
Spooky old-timey music:
I don't even know what this stuff is called, so I just called it "spooky old-timey music". I don't think there is very many people doing this at all aside from an artist who calls himself 'The Caretaker'. It samples and loops very old recordings and then throws in some room reverb. I am guessing this music was inspired primarily by 'The Shining', the 1980 horror film, given the name of the artist. It is quite eerie if listened to for prolonged times. I think it is supposed to suggest a haunted place or even a state of mind of elderly dementia. This stuff is strangely mesmerizing. This is bizarre stuff but somehow I like it. Here is what must be the prime example:
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#5
zero BPM drones:
I don't know what to call this stuff either. It's the most ambient of ambient music. So minimalist it barely qualifies as music. It is just one long very gradually evolving sound. If you are looking for notation or tempo in your music, don't bother with this stuff. Steve Roach's first four Immersion albums would fall into this category. Robert Rich's Somnium pieces fall into this genre. If you are the type who needs a sound to sleep, and you don't want to listen to white noise anymore, this is for you. It can be very relaxing as a low volume background noise. Here is a prime example - note the running time!

 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,062 4 1
#6
Didn't have time to get through all of em but lots of interesting stuff. The 80's revival I didn't know if I wanted to love it or barf. I survived the 80's once lol! Gonna try the skullstep again later. A little too ADD-ish for me, but interesting. I like the witchhouse as with the sub candy thread. Makes me think macabre with the haunting vocals and "other side" vibe. Spooky old-timey music. Pretty cool. I get what you mean. It's like searching a memory but only getting some of it. Also sounds other side-ish. Drones was cool. It was like a sci-fi movie track with no vocals. I'd like to check that out while reading a book.
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#7
Didn't have time to get through all of em but lots of interesting stuff. The 80's revival I didn't know if I wanted to love it or barf. I survived the 80's once lol! Gonna try the skullstep again later. A little too ADD-ish for me, but interesting. I like the witchhouse as with the sub candy thread. Makes me think macabre with the haunting vocals and "other side" vibe. Spooky old-timey music. Pretty cool. I get what you mean. It's like searching a memory but only getting some of it. Also sounds other side-ish. Drones was cool. It was like a sci-fi movie track with no vocals. I'd like to check that out while reading a book.
Yeah, don't try to go through it all, that was not the intent of these posts, lol. This is just to give people a sampling of some of the more oddball electronic music out there. But there is a lot of extreme forms of electronic music, these just happen to be some of the subgenres I find actually listenable, despite how gimmicky they are.
 
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MrBoat

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,181 2 1
#8
There's also electronic music that's a bit more melodic.


ETA: Forgot about the "absurd" requirement when I posted this. Still some rather pleasing applications of bass by this artist.
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#9
Satanic Meditation Music:
Yeah, you read that right, "Satanic Meditation Music". I just stumbled one to this stuff a couple days ago. I just about laughed when I read the phrase "Satanic Meditation Music". I guess even devil worshipers need to relax and unwind now and then, after a rough day of child sacrifices (yeah, I get that real satanists aren't into that, that is just a joke, before anyone tried to set me straight). but 'satanic' and 'meditation' would seem to be at odds with each other as descriptive terms. Anyway, I don't actually enjoy this music much, not that it sounds bad, but it just sounds like typical dark ambient music but maybe a tad more twisted and a bit more 'occultish'. Here are a couple examples:

 
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MrBoat

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,181 2 1
#10
It always seems that when 'artists' are trying for the extremes, it becomes rather obvious that they are trying too hard, or something to the point of being predictable. I find that to be true with rap music as well. In the case of rap, it has/had nearly consumed itself in a decade. Same with other forms of conceptual art, or the opiate driven poetry of the 60's.
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#11
It always seems that when 'artists' are trying for the extremes, it becomes rather obvious that they are trying too hard, or something to the point of being predictable. I find that to be true with rap music as well. In the case of rap, it has/had nearly consumed itself in a decade. Same with other forms of conceptual art, or the opiate driven poetry of the 60's.
I think rap has become too diverse over time for any generalities like that to be applied to the genre as a whole. I do think it is true for some of these rap subgenres, they have fallen too far in the hole of trying to shock people or are simply tough-guy posturing.

On this subject, let me present to you one of my all time favorite but little-known rap recordings: Broken Language - Smoothe Da Hustler. Very Not Safe For Work. Absolutely killer tune. I am not a gangsta rap fan, but I like this whole album. It should have been a big hit, but it wasn't, which is unbelievable given some of the awful rap that ends up going multi-platinum. Unjustly over-looked.

 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#12
Here is a guy who makes Lovecraftian ambient music. Do you like relaxing ambient music? Do you also like the unspeakable, unnameable horrors of HP Lovecraft? Now you can have both! Some of his tracks are really long too, over 8 hours. There is a lot of music here as well, this guy keeps pretty busy making this stuff. As for the music itself, its mostly just atmospheric sounds. Its the soundtrack of your life- if your life was a horror movie.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,193 7 3
#13
@shadyJ
are you familiar with Somafm.com?

Free internet radio out of SF, a rather eclectic mix of stations, mostly focused on electronica, and some good stations on there!

My favorite Soma stations are Secret Agent (not really out there) and Cliqhop (what they call "intelligent dance music", but it's a lot of clicks and beeps over beats).
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#14
I have heard a couple stations on somaFM but haven't really explored it. I have not heard of cliqhop, but from your description it sounds like 'glitch' music from the mid 2000s. Very abstract music that used a lot of clicks and very high frequency sounds. If you don't already know, here is an example:

But I just looked up some glitch music on youtube, and most of what comes back as 'glitch' now sounds like dubstep. I think dubstep is slowly devouring and subsuming all other music genres.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,193 7 3
#15
I have heard a couple stations on somaFM but haven't really explored it. I have not heard of cliqhop, but from your description it sounds like 'glitch' music from the mid 2000s. Very abstract music that used a lot of clicks and very high frequency sounds. If you don't already know, here is an example:

But I just looked up some glitch music on youtube, and most of what comes back as 'glitch' now sounds like dubstep. I think dubstep is slowly devouring and subsuming all other music genres.
Yeah, glitch may be (may have been) a decent description, but I never heard it called that before.

Are you familiar with Prefuse73? I think he has an excellent balance of this cliq/glitch beat mixed with just a little bit of hip-hop. Good stuff!
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#16
Never hear of prefuse73, but I am checking his stuff out right now. Sounds really nice, like trip-hop with glitch, as you say. His music seems to have an inventive use of different sounds. He really loves his snares too!
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,193 7 3
#17
Never hear of prefuse73, but I am checking his stuff out right now. Sounds really nice, like trip-hop with glitch, as you say. His music seems to have an inventive use of different sounds. He really loves his snares too!
My favorite album of his is "One Word Extinguisher" (2nd album). His debut "Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives" is also good.
 
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shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#20
So I mentioned 'Vaporwave' in the first post of this thread. Here, I want to point out one of the themes of Vaporwave is malls and the nostalgia of the mall-going experience. I linked to the deadmalls soundcloud page. Their music is about malls, which of course was a staple of 80's life, at least for us suburbanites. So this subgenre of vaporwave is partially an ironic ode to elevator music. There is a bunch of this stuff, like so:


My question is who the hell remembers malls that fondly? I will state that I did enjoy going to the mall as a kid (I liked Cinnabon, Aladdin's Castle arcade, Westcoast Movies and Music, and a few other places),but I don't cherish those memories that much! This is a curious and also a very funny subject to make music about, at least to me. The irony is not lost on the artists either, as can be heard from its deliberately low-fidelity sound. Anyway, if you need music that celebrates mall-life back in the 80's, you are in luck, because such music exists. Whoohoo malls!
 

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