Electronic music genres like techno and house have integrated it seamlessly, making it an integral component of modern musical culture. Artists within these genres often draw inspiration from its rhythmic patterns and synthesized sounds for their compositions.
Electro music emerged during the late ’70s and early ’80s as an offshoot of disco music and funk, adding electronic instruments and futuristic themes for an entirely new genre. Artists such as Afrika Bambaataa and Kraftwerk helped establish its early sound by using synthesizers to produce more robotic-sounding compositions that set it apart from disco music at that time.
Early in the ’80s, producers started to incorporate hip-hop and rock music into their electro songs, creating an eclectic style combining funk with techno beats to form electro house – now popular in dance clubs around the world.
Acid house was heavily influenced by other genres, like acid and techno, with its signature fast tempo, heavy basslines and use of modulation which altered frequency rather than tremolo which altered amplitude of audio signals.
Electro music’s development was greatly assisted by drum machines like Roland TR-808 drum machines. At that time, drummers often used these drum machines as they helped develop its distinct sound while producing its distinctive rhythms that characterize this genre of music.
After its initial popularity peak during the ’80s, electro went into decline before experiencing a revival during the early 2000s thanks to artists like Fischerspooner and Ectomorph. Later, this revival inspired mashups wherein vocal components from one song would be combined with instrumental components from another; today many electronic musicians continue this tradition by creating their own mashups as showcases for their talents.
Today, electro is an iconic genre, popular with mainstream pop musicians such as Skrillex and Deadmau5. Additionally, electro has had an enormous influence on other musical forms – from trance and big beat to modern techno – shaping its sound and development over time.
Hip hop was one of the primary influences on electro music. Pioneering artists like Grandmaster Flash used turntables almost as musical instruments to mash-up iconic tracks by Queen (Another One Bites the Dust), Blondie (Rapture), and Chic (Good Times). Drum machines like Roland TR-808s contributed greatly to shaping electro music into “electro-funk”.
German synthpop was another hugely influential factor on its creation, with bands like Kraftwerk and The Sisterhood of Man serving as key catalysts. Their use of synthesizers and electronic distortion gave their music an industrial, mechanical feel that distinguished it from other genres at the time.
Electro music took inspiration from disco and funk styles that were prevalent at the time in America, including Afrika Bambaataa’s Soulsonic Force’s 1982 single Planet Rock that propelled it mainstream. Their use of distorted drum machines and synthesizers gave their track an industrial, robotic feel unlike most disco or funk songs at that time.
Most electro songs are instrumental, yet vocals can occasionally feature. When they do appear they tend to be delivered in an off-key tone with an electronic distortion technique called vocoder; other forms of speech synthesis such as automated chanting may be employed to produce robotic or mechanical lyrics. Early electro also featured rapping but this style gradually declined in popularity from the 1990s onwards.
Electro music features the use of distorted drum machines and synthesizers, often played through loud speakers. The presence of such sounds gives this genre its signature aggressive, industrial-sound, as well as its signature bassy depth sound.
Electro-funk also draws inspiration from other electronic genres like acid house and techno. Artists such as Martin Garrix have successfully utilized electro-funk style songs like his 2016 hit Limitless as examples of its use.
Electro music draws inspiration from many styles, ranging from funk and hip-hop to techno and house. Some artists have even created their own styles – such as electro-funk artist Eris Drew who records, mixes and masters all her own work at her home studio; her sound blends funk with soul while still remaining electronic.
Electroclash is one of the most acclaimed forms of electronic music, combining elements of punk, rock and dance music with synth-driven sounds. It often features fast beats with vocal distortion; initially popular during its initial peak in early 2000s popularity but since experiencing a revival. Electroclash has even inspired newer forms like drum n’ bass and dubstep music styles.
Electro music’s most beloved form, vaporwave, has its origins in cyberpunk culture. This genre blends synthpop and punk music with futurist themes and references for an original sound that stands apart. Highly experimental yet creative in nature, vaporwave stands as a testament to experimentation, creative thinking and experimental endeavor.
Electro also incorporates other elements, including tremolo (which alters the pitch of a single note) and modulation (which alters audio signals’ frequency or amplitude), creating its characteristic sound. These techniques create its distinct sound.
Some of the early examples of electro were produced by black artists, like Afrika Bambaataa’s 1982 track “Planet Rock,” featuring Roland TR-808 drum machine to merge 1970s funk with hip hop in what became known as electro-funk and helped popularize electronic music to masses worldwide.
Other artists and producers also made important contributions, including Man Parrish who served as producer for Michael Jackson, Boy George, and others. His song “Hip Hop, Be Bop” included elements of both funk and electro music – providing the foundation for future genres to emerge.
In the 1990s, artists like Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash popularized electro music even further. Unfortunately, its popularity soon declined due to more modern forms of electro.
There are now hundreds of labels that specialize in electro music. From disco electro, which recalls old school funk, to harder contemporary styles like bass freq productions or Citinite there is something suitable for every taste and every occasion.
DJs have developed their own signature styles of electro music, blending elements from various genres into it. These pioneers are widely credited with the birth and ongoing appeal of electro music. Thanks to its adaptability and longevity, this form of dance music has become one of the most beloved forms of dance music worldwide.
Electro music can often be distinguished by heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines, offbeat rhythms, fast tempos, as well as sine waves and distorted bass lines, among other characteristic that set it apart from house and techno. Electro also uses vocoders or mechanical or metallic noises. Electro is highly addictive music with an energetic yet hypnotic appeal, drawing listeners in.
Electro is heavily influenced by both funk and hip hop music, drawing upon synthesizers to craft its unique sound. The combination of its pulsating beat and synthesized melody creates the ideal atmosphere for dance music; making audiences want to move. Electro-funk was popular during the 80s; today it remains beloved dance music with iconic songs such as Newcleus’ “Jam On It.” It marries funk’s signature sound with catchy hooks and narrative rap style for maximum dancing pleasure.
Electro music makes use of effects such as delay and modulation to add dimension and variety to rhythms and sounds, as well as create unique rhythmic effects and manipulation possibilities. Modulation, for example, can be used to produce tremolo and chorus effects for added harmonic depth or create slightly out-of-tune sounds to give an organic vibe to songs.
Electro is one of the hallmarks of 2010s youth culture and music. It continues to impact every facet of modern music production and consumption. Electro music has helped artists like Skrillex, Daft Punk, Baauer and Calvin Harris find widespread success while giving rise to numerous subgenres including electro house and progressive house.