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.