Archive for electronic music

Annual rant about the Grammys (who do not understand electronic music)

Posted in Commentary, News with tags , , on December 7, 2012 by softsynth

We’ve said it all before in each of the previous three years and it’s too exhausting to review again. In the newly renamed “Best Dance Electronica Album” (thereby now banishing anything that isn’t essentially EDM from any discussion at all) the nominees this year are:

Steve Aoki, Wonderland
The Chemical Brothers, Don’t Think
Deadmau5, > Album Title Goes Here <
Kaskade, Fire & Ice
Skrillex, Bangarang

Good to see Chemical Brothers there, albeit for inferior work. As for the rest…well, again if you’re down with the EDM, you’re rockin’…not much else to add this year. Another sigh.

Arcade Fire on Softsynth? WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on December 3, 2010 by softsynth

We’re starting to compile the always popular Softsynth Top 10 Electronic Albums of the Year list and a few songs jump out as singularly awesome, regardless of the rest of the albums they come from. Their albums wouldn’t make any best of an electronic list but they are still most cool nonetheless.

Now if you had told this blogger that one of the best of not the best electronic songs to be released this year would come from Arcade Fire we would have laughed at you and then likely slapped you for being silly and for wasting our precious, precious time. Continue reading

Yeah, so what exactly *is* this “electronic music” anyway?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by softsynth

One of the most compelling aspects of writing a blog on a topic as specific as a particular genre of music is the debate that can erupt over a given choice of word, a definition, an inclusion or exclusion from a list, on the part of devoted, perhaps passionate, perhaps utterly nutso fan of said genre. We have seen a lot of that around here lately in either emails to this blogger, comments on the blog itself, or most entertainingly, on message boards of a particular band as fans of that band pick apart our every utterance, for good or ill, about said band. Our traffic quadrupled and stayed there following our best of the decade lists and best of the year list, and we have found our thoughts shared via twitter or on web sites or message boards and many of the questions raised are genuinely fascinating and astute. Continue reading

Electronic music and the Grammys

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 3, 2009 by softsynth

Once again we raise a quizzical eyebrow at the Grammy awards, who announced their latest round of nominations and as always we turn our attention to the category, “Best Electronic/Dance album”. Now putting aside for now the notion that all electronic music is compatible with “Dance” (which would be a surprise for everyone from Cold Cave to Coil to M83) the Grammy committee continues to make odd choices when it comes to the category. The nominees:

  • Divided By Night
    The Crystal Method

  • One Love
    David Guetta

  • The Fame
    Lady Gaga

  • Party Rock
    LMFAO

  • Yes
    Pet Shop Boys Continue reading

BBC’s Synth Britania makes it to youtube

Posted in Commentary, News with tags , , on November 7, 2009 by softsynth

BBC’s brilliant, brilliant multi-part documentary on the British synth pop movement of the 80s is finally on youtube in its entirely. For any fan of this kind of music this is a revelation and brings it all home, and most importantly it makes the clear, unabashed causal link between punk and electronic music, and how its roots lay in disaffected, poor, lower class British youth, of which Softsynth has written extensively. Watching it was so exciting it made your humble blogger’s heart beat faster and actually gave us a new appreciation for Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” in the history of the movement and shows vintage live footage of bands like Human League that will blow you away. We’ve gone over an awful of this history in previous posts here but to see it laid out so beautifully and to have gotten interviews with *all* of the key players of the day is breathtaking. A must see:

Part one:

Continue reading

Flight of the Conchords get electronic music better than most

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on November 5, 2009 by softsynth

One of the legion of new albums Softsynth has been enjoying is the latest (albeit kind of uneven) album from Flight of the Conchords, I Told You I Was Freaky. Now, the album is in parts awesome, and others kind of dull and overdone (especially out of context of the episode of their television show in which each of the tracks are featured) but one thing we realize upon listening to the whole package is how cleverly the boys work in their understanding of what makes electronic music tick, for good or bad.

We kind of had a sense of this intuitiveness from their earlier “Inner City Pressure” which spoofed the Pet Shop Boys brilliantly. But with their more recent work we see just to what degree these guys get it. Continue reading

Goth and Industrial going down; “electro” going up? So says Google.

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on July 17, 2009 by softsynth

We link to this fascinating post on Side-line with little comment except to note a couple of brief points. One, interesting to note that the music consumers seem to be pursuing less material that sub-niche-labels itself; two, it shows health in the overall electronic scene (though one wonders how much this shift is accounted for within the mainstreamization of many forms of electronic music which Softsynth has blogged about ad nauseum {check back through earlier ranty posts}); three, we meant to get into this earlier when Softsynth was called out for using the term “electro” to describe VNV Nation, not in the sense of early-80s worldbeat of course, but as an increasingly acceptable umbrella term for electronic music. It’s a semantic shift, not an attempt to classify certain bands within a sub-genre to which they clearly do not belong. This piece touches on it. Check out the article, definitely worth a read and definitely interesting…