I'm not one to revel in the electronic music scene, or at least what I initially perceived it as -
dub step and 'phat beats' and LOUD NOISES.
But I've realised I do dig a tasteful usage of the electronic in music-making.
In considering a particular artist whose use of the electronic I enjoy, I'd go first and foremost with Radiohead. I've admired the group for a long time - they have a strange and unique style, and create structurally fascinating music. But recently my appreciation of them has grown, especially as I have progressed through my audio course; hearing a deeper greatness and precision in their music and production choices.
As artists, they're evidently unafraid of fusing various styles and influences, and they seamlessly incorporate new technologies into their music-making. Not sticking to a single genre has meant they've been unrestricted in their creativity, and their music is ever-developing and evolving.
They pioneered a brash collision of rock and electronic music, and blurred any division between the two genres, and their conventional elements.
In OK Computer (1997 album), their implementation of sound samples and synthesisers (and influence of their new producer Nigel Godrich), left the poppy tunes of this era behind, and delivered more dark, complex, technologically-driven music.
With Kid A (their next LP), their focus on electronic production exploded, and bold experimentation led to a product that sounds as modern today as it did on its release 16 years ago.
Kid A is considered to be one of the greatest albums ever created, and often labelled as the most ground-breaking record of its decade (Rolling Stone, 2012).
Motion Picture Soundtrack, track 10 of Kid A (2000)
I think Radiohead's employment of electronic music technologies has always been as a tool to express themselves artistically - they make me think about how electronic music can be used to ENHANCE creativity and musical experimentation.
They are continually innovative, and their exploration of the possibilities of the electronic in music has led to them having a distinct and identifiable sound. They incorporate electronically-created sounds within and throughout their music, and integrate the acoustic and electronic to build a product as a whole, with a creative blend of sounds.
Radiohead's Live from the Basement sessions illustrate this well - evident is their use of sequencers and samplers along with their acoustic instruments - here is The Gloaming, and a personal favourite 15 Step...
Out of all their tunes I'd single out Lotus Flower as a pinnacle of their style, and integration of electronic music. Also because I just love it.
The track was released in 2011, on the LP King Of Limbs and has one of my favourite drum rhythms in THE HISTORY OF MUSIC. The syncopation is genius - the drum in 4/4 with claps in 5/8, and they work perfectly! It's choppy, and the bounce that it gives is ultimately cool. It's an epitome of blended brilliance - a warmth along with the staccato feel, strange effects underlining a 'regular pop' structure, and a simple, mellow quality across a musically complex design.
With all its parts and complexities, it still comes together as an interesting, full and flowing piece of art. The way the electronic sounds are used to accentuate the groove is brilliant - it's a playful juxtaposition and arrangement, with the effects complimenting the whole (not over-powering the mix). Thanks to perfect mixing, and an amazingly creative and calculated stereo image - even the snare comes hard left and hard right and certain points - all the sounds have their space.
The track is just a superb lesson in creating, mixing and producing, and is one I will always listen to to inspire my own creating.
Tell me, WHAT IS NOT TO ENJOY.
Rolling Stone. (May 31, 2012). "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531