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There has never been a better time to reset the term IDM, welcome ELM


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I think if the "intelligent" in IDM implies "intelligent life", as in something that is alive and has consciousness, rather than "music for intelligent people" lol, then that fits the whole A.I. theme much better - the music itself is alive and has consciousness, which is what autechre's music has sounded like more and more over the years. Living beats and pads.
But yeah I just say "electronic music" most of the time since it's broad and unpretentious. Unfortunately, I then have to elaborate further since most people nowadays will equate that basic term with EDM or dubstep or whatever other more common/generic types of electronic music come to their mind first, which is not what I mean 99% of the time lol. I've never found a quick way to say it, when being specific is important. "Experimental electronic music" probably conveys it best to normies, although "experimental" can bring up lots of issues as well. (e.g. Couldn't you say that all music is experimental in nature? Is it still "experimental" if the artist has honed their craft? Etc)

Edited by toaoaoad
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There were occasional sporadic bursts of let's change the name on the actual mailing list whose name people think of as a musical genre, and nothing came of it then, and nothing will come of it now. The name of the mailing list was semantically overloaded to refer to the music that was discussed on the list - it was fine by me 30 years ago, and it's fine by me now. It's just a pointer, a label, and it should be treated like IBM, which hasn't been an acronym for a long time, but a proper name. In recent years I've preferred to expand the not-an-acronym as it already was on this thread - It's recursively pretentious to try and change something that's already seen as such.

It.

Doesn't.

Matter™.

We're having this conversation on a discussion forum that got its name from a Gene Wilder recitation of the first stanza of a 1873 poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy, included in a 1971 movie adaptation of a Roald Dahl book, and sampled by an artist (among others) belonging in the not-a-canon of the aforementioned mailing list (among others) - but I guess everyone knows that.

Edited by dcom
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13 hours ago, toaoaoad said:

"Experimental electronic music" probably conveys it best to normies, although "experimental" can bring up lots of issues as well. (e.g. Couldn't you say that all music is experimental in nature? Is it still "experimental" if the artist has honed their craft? Etc)

If you think of it in that way you cannot give any music a name. If you try to explain an Aphex Twin to someone who isn't in the scene, it doesn't matter that he has honed his craft. The person you are explaining it to will see it as weird and experimental music anyway. That's why I feel like it's the best term. This music is objectively more difficult to get into than, say, an EDM so that's why I feel like not all music can be named expermimental. Even if, in a sense, it's true that all music can be named experimental I guess.

 

13 hours ago, toaoaoad said:

I think if the "intelligent" in IDM implies "intelligent life", as in something that is alive and has consciousness, rather than "music for intelligent people" lol

I don't really have anything against the term IDM, imo it sounds quite nice. But to people that don't listen to this type of music it might come off as pretentious. Even if it doesn't mean music for intelligent people it would be too much explaining to do.

Edited by thumbass
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2 hours ago, thumbass said:

If you think of it in that way you cannot give any music a name.

Lol for sure, I agree with all you've said here. I was just pointing out that there is never going to be a perfectly accurate term, semantics is a rabbit hole etc.

I personally think "alternative" would be a better descriptor than "experimental", but then "alternative" has other connotations because of its application in the 90s so that would confuse people too.  Either way, "experimental electronic music" is probably our best bet at describing this kind of music to your average normie in one shot, even if it's not perfect.

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28 minutes ago, Sean Ae said:

I actually like dcom’s ‘It Doesn’t Matter’, wish I’d thought of that. I don’t think it’s up to us though. Back in 89 we were calling it ‘rogue techno’ for some reason. That didn’t last long. ELM pre-dates IDM so I guess it’s more correct but it’s also a bit silly because all music is for listening to. 

no other genre of music has seen a roster of successful musicians spend literally decades struggling to find a name that isn't shit. and it's clear that no-one on this forum - or anywhere - can think of something better than "IDM".

fuck it, sean can you just write a patch that is capable of naming its own genre? computers can do that now right?

 

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5 hours ago, NewSchoolScience said:

It’s just techno, innit

yes

techno is what I called it at the time, before internet and mailing lists were a thing, and still would do except it confuses most people who just think of techno as, I dunno, Blueprint or Ostgut Ton or whatever, 4ttf stuff

i settle for 'electronica' these days, though I don't really think it's a genre at all - just some people who wanted to do a personal and/or experimental and/or hybrid take on the established electronic dance genres - and if it is a genre then I would only include within it all the imitators of those guys who came afterwards

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in my mind i think of it all as IDM but without the letters standing for anything at all: it once stood for intelligent dance music but that meaning was stripped from it quickly with just IDM remaining as the name.

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On 11/2/2022 at 9:01 AM, ignatius said:

i just say electronic music because less pretentious/annoying sounding. then, if someone wants to talk it about it more i add details in the discussion. 

same. most of the people I encounter out in the wild aren't really going to know what the hell IDM is, so just saying electronic music keeps it open for potential further discussion. if someone is into any of this, then you can tell pretty quickly and get into a good conversation about it. otherwise if they listen to all the mainstream radio stuff, then IMO it's not worth trying to talk about. the times I've said "electronic music," usually the other person jumps to talking on stuff like deadmau5 or some other EDM type stuff I'm not much of a fan of. or I've heard "yeah I like the aphex twins." I just crack up at that shit internally, try and be polite about it on the outward front.

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I literally joined this forum to completely geek out on this question. In the earliest days of electronic and experimental music the term used was "musique concrete." This turned into avant-garde, or experimental music. 

The term was used to describe the use of recorded sounds, essentially music that comes from working with static materials to create a piece. Like carving a statue, the finished product was recorded and once again set in stone, never to be altered. 

Thanks to the technology of today, these same techniques have grown to include the ability to make a fully dynamic performance of materials with live production techniques. Performances can include all the same materials as their recorded counterparts but could be altered at will by a skilled performer. 

With this concept I'd like to throw the term 'Musique Plastique' into the ring. Plastics can be flexible or more solid depending on what is used to make it, or how it is treated during its creation. Not only that but it's French and pretentious to boot! 

OK sorry for being the new guy and writing a thesis, but the music nerd in me has not had many outlets with people who even might know what their talking about. 

-ShemS

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If a label attempts to have too firm a hold on its referent, and that referent is an extremely fluid and broad thing like a body of musical work from multiple different artists, it's bound to fail. I have always had difficulties categorizing music, except in very broad terms, especially because a lot of my favorite music attempts to defy categorization.

On the other hand, people use labels to find new music, so I've picked tags that I think might direct future fans to my music.

I find the whole argument from authority, "this big-name artist doesn't like the term IDM, so we're deprecating it", to be pretty sad and obsequious. I mean, of course, anyone can have their own opinion, but altering your own language based on something like that is pretty weird. I'm not saying anyone has ever thought like that besides me in the past.

"Intelligent Dance Music" - I guess it was coined by the US music press, right? Makes me think the music has a mind of its own, which is why it's so twisting and unpredictable. "Braindance" is pretty good, too. "Electronic Listening Music" is laughably redundant and vague.

@dcom made a good post about "Electronica" and microgenres recently. I find it very difficult and pointless, though, to taxonomize the music I like, and if I were to do so, I think it would negatively alter my impression of it. Still, when using some online distribution platforms, it feels strange to have to shovel my music into the category "Electronica".

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