Alternative electronic music - a futuristic art form, or just a noise?

Alternative electronic music is a collective term for a range of music that has appeared over the last few decades due to advances in electronic and computing technology. Alternative electronic music can sound quite similar to the traditional forms of popular music most people are familiar with, but some of it can also sound starkly different from what most people are used to. As a result, people who hear about alternative electronic music often have mixed reactions to it, depending on how open they are to things they are not used to, the kind of music they hear, and the opinions they come across about such music.


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Some people have come to embrace alternative forms of electronic music as futuristic, creative works of art that are just as enjoyable as music made from traditional instruments. However, other people may come across such music and have trouble making sense of it, or might simply be uninterested in learning more about it, writing it off as noise. Of course, different people are entitled to different opinions, but it is worth learning a little about electronic music before forming an opinion in either direction, as this increases one's chances of forming an educated opinion rather than a simple prejudice for or against an unfamiliar subject.

Electronic music, at its most basic level, is music made with technology that may or may not include computers. Some forms of electronic music have appeared in more popular music and even achieved widespread popularity. For example, styles of music such as techno, dance, club, synthpop, and house are all at least partially if not completely derived from electronic music. Artists you may have heard of who frequently use electronic elements in their music include Shakira, Kylie Minogue, and Lady Gaga. As a matter of fact, there is a good chance that much of the music you listen to has at least a few electronic elements in it, even if you think you listen to a genre of music that is organic or all natural. More and more popular artists these days are experimenting with electronic music to add spice to their regular work, and the results are sometimes impressive.

However, while electronic elements are finding their way into all kinds of mainstream music, there are also vast quantities of high quality music that will never be heard on the radio because commercial radio is essentially a pay to play service; if songs or artists aren't on major record labels such as Universal or Capital, they are not going to appear on the radio, as the purpose of radio is to advertise music so you are compelled to buy it.

This kind of alternative electronic music can be just as enjoyable to listen to as more popular music, and is often popular with younger individuals such as teenagers and adults in their twenties and thirties who may not listen to mainstream radio, or who may listen to mainstream radio but also find enjoyment in discovering new music. Artists and bands such as The Postal Service, Tujiko Noriko, Mahogany, and Boards of Canada make extensive use of electronic elements in their music, and produce songs and albums that are a pleasure to listen to, even if they are not wildly popular with the majority of American listeners. Some people might consider music with electronics to be noise, but isn't all noise and music in the ear of the beholder?

As you can see, while alternative electronic music may initially appear confusing or unfamiliar, particularly if you have previously only been exposed to more traditional or popular forms of music, it is quite possible to enjoy it or at least appreciate its merits as a music and art form. The most basic purpose of music is to stir and express emotions among human beings. In the end, it doesn't matter nearly as much which instruments are used to stir or express these emotions as much as it matters that they are felt.

Copyright 2011 David Breslau