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Originating Location: early 1990s

Originating Era: UK/Europe

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IDM is a form of electronica that's very experimental in form. "IDM" stands for "Intelligent Dance Music", though that's a term that's rather contentious (and not really a great descriptor -- to me, "Intelligent Dance Music" is more along the lines of Dance music that's got intelligent lyrics -- someting more like M or Pet Shop Boys than Aphex Twin which isn't really terribly dancey, not that that's a slight or anything, they're just doing different things). IDM artists will typically draw sounds from unconventional means (and as such, it's somewhat related to the genres of DJ, Turntablism and Noise) -- "Timber" by Coldcut, for example, uses saws in the rainforest as the percussion and melody tracks, and A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure by Matmos draws its sounds from audio recordings of plastic surgery. There's a lot of micro-beats involved, giving a lot of IDM an erratic, skittery sound, which can catch the listener unawares. (As such, Coldcut is a bit farther removed from IDM, as they tend to do more dancey type music, though there is some crossover -- they're sort of a pop IDM, if you're intent on binning them in the whole IDM thing.) One of the big IDM labels is WARP, and are one of the groups credited with founding IDM as a genre with their Artificial Intelligence Vol. 2 compilation.

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