Electronic music englobes the majority of modern era music, so even if you are not a club-goer, you must have definitely heard or even liked some of the most popular tracks. Even though electronic music has been around for more than 50 years now, most people are only familiar with a few genres, which gained mainstream popularity, such as techno, EDM (electronic dance music) or house music.
The electronic music sphere englobes more than 24 music genres and hundreds of subgenres. Some of them are more mainstream, while others still remaining in the underground subculture, with only a hand full of producers and fans.
While mainstream electronic music has to thank producers and DJs such as Kraftwerk, Chemical Brothers, Avicii and David Guetta for bringing it into the spotlight, other genres still remain, more or less, a part of the underground movement. Amongst them, we believe the following five are worth giving a listen if you want to diversify your playlist.
#1. Drum and bass
Even though drum and bass has been around for almost 30 years now, and gotten very popular at the beginning of the 21st century, it still remains, for the most part, an underground music genre. It first got to the public eye in the UK, back in the 1990s, as being a part of the rave culture back then.
Drum and bass music takes influence from a variety of other music genres, from reggae to jazz, rock, trip-hop and even pop, which is why it’s close to impossible not to find something you like.
If you are into music with a powerful bassline and fast drum beats, then drum and bass may be your new favorite music genre. I recommend you look out for artists such as Andy C, Sub Focus and High Contrast, to help you get started.
Another genre that emerged from the 1990s UK electronic music scene is dubstep. In the beginning, dubstep music took high influence from dub reggae, as well as breakbeat and drum and bass, but as it evolved, it started incorporating sounds from other musical genres as well.
Dubstep was, for many years, an underground genre, until 2007, when it started getting mainstream success. Popular artists from other music genres started taking dubstep elements and incorporating them into their songs.
By 2016, dubstep started slowly fading away from the mainstream scene, back into the underground, with artists such as Skrillex and Skream, which helped promote dubstep, moving on to experiment with other electronic genres. But regardless of this, dubstep still remains a valuable part of the evolution of electronic music, sparking subgenres such as brostep, which is believed to be a post-dubstep style.
Synthwave music is a genre of electronic music, highly influenced by the 1980s film and video games soundtracks. Many refer to it as a subgenre of electronic rock music, because of its powerful guitar and drum sounds, but also because many of the artists playing synthwave music have metal or rock music backgrounds.
Even though Synthwave was along since the beginning of the 2000s, it wasn’t until 2011, when the movie Drive featured a number of synthwave artists, that it got more popularity. If you are looking to give synthwave a go, look into artists such as Perturbator, Electric Youth and Kavinsky.
Psytrance music is a subgenre of trance music, mostly characterized by high tempo riffs that create layered melodies. Even though trance is not such an underground music genre, psytrance lies at the more hardcore spectrum of this musical movement.
Psytrance also has a variety of subgenres, which all vary in mood and tempo. Full on, darkpsy, Suomi and psy-chill are just a few of them. At its core, psytrance music derives from goa trance and evolved together with the growth of digital media.
Artists such as Goa Gil, DJ Laurent, and Fred Disko are believed to be pioneers of psytrance music, as they helped popularize this amongst the hippie inhabitants of Goa, India, where psytrance was born. The music is extremely popular at outdoor raves and festivals, where attendees promote a free, conscious and minimalistic way of living.
One of the oldest styles of electronic music, breakbeat has been around since the late 1970s. It is believed to have influenced a range of other music genres, such as drum and bass, house and techno, and is still a quite popular music genre amongst the rave culture.
Breakbeat became very popular in the late 1980s, being constantly present during parties and raves. Soon enough, DJs playing a variety of music genres started incorporating breakbeat elements or songs altogether into their sets.
If you want to give breakbeat a go, look out for DJs such as Cut La Roc, Hedflux, and Dj Kool Herc. Today, breakbeat elements are used by many electronic music producers, although they can not be credited as breakbeat artists in the real sense of the word.