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Category: Live Electronic Music

Intro Tracks in EDM

Lately I’ve noticed more and more intro tracks on EDM albums. It’s an interesting trend, and it makes sense when you think about the evolution of EDM and the live performance of EDM. Except between artists, there is typically no breaks in the music during a live EDM performance. The DJ plays one track after the other without a break. Sometimes they are mixed together. Other times, there is a sharp break that immediately transitions into the next track.

The point is that 90% of the time, live EDM tracks do not begin with silence. Live EDM evolves continuously from one track to the next. Often, the lines between tracks are blurry or non-existent. It’s not like a rock show, where the band might talk to the audience between tracks, tell a joke, or relay an anecdote about a song. At a rock show, there is a distinct break between tracks, but this doesn’t happen in live EDM.

So it makes sense that EDM artists don’t want their music to start from silence. The intro track, or prelude, is a way of setting up the first track on the album.

I compiled a playlist of some of my favorite intro tracks. These mostly fall under the broad umbrella of “EDM” but there are a couple hiphop artists in there, and some of the tracks don’t us much electronics, they are simply by an electronic musician.

The playlist shows how intro tracks have a distinct identity. There is frequently talking in intro tracks. This often seems to relay the concept or feeling that underlies the album. Musically, these tracks are often unrelated to the rest of the album. Sometimes, as in the case of Steve Aoki, they are similar to the rest of the album, but other times they are quite different.

GenJam by Al Biles

At MUME 2013 this weekend I had the opportunity to hear Al Bile’s GenJam. GenJam is a jazz improviser that improvises using genetic algorithms. In his TED Talk he performs with the system and explains its inner workings.

Intubation by LRM Performance

LRM Performance is an interdisciplinary collective – group, or company if you prefer – seeking to breach borders between art disciplines. Created by composer David Aladro-Vico and plastic artist Berta Delgado, their lineup is variable including performers from mixed disciplines. Their works are live visual, auditive and movement creations, usually non-narrative or abstract. [1]

Fieldwork by Christopher Burns

Fieldwork is a software environment for improvised performance with electronic sound and animation. Two musicians’ sounding performances are fed into the system, and analyzed for pitch, rhythm, and timbral change. When the software recognizes a sharp contrast in one performer’s textures or gestures, it reflects this change by transforming the sound of the other musician’s performance. As a result of this process, the musicians are not only responding to one another as in conventional improvisation, but they are also able to directly modify their duo partner’s sound by interacting with the software. Fieldwork emphasizes rapid, glitchy, and polyrhythmic distortions of the musician’s performances, and establishes unpredictable feedback processes that encourage unexpected improvisational relationships between the performers and computer.

Performed by Amanda Schoofs (voice) and Christopher Burns (guitar) on October 27, 2011, as part of the Unruly Music festival, a co-production of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. [1]

Frrriction, an Album of Music from an Electrically-Augmented Drum Kit

Frrriction is a live solo improvisation with the electronically augmented drum kit. The instrument consists of a traditional jazz drum kit mounted with sensors, contact microphones, speakers and bespoke software programmed in MaxMSP. The acoustic kit becomes the control interface of the electronics by using various machine listening techniques, resulting in a very direct interaction between the two sound worlds. [1]

You can buy Frrriction by Christos Michalakos at bandcamp.