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Instrumental EDM is MOSTLY BORING ... except for ...

Welcome to WEEK 199 of 4T! (Video Episode #25) Making Art from Digital Noise – George Kranz & The Art of Noise (1984-87)

Instrumentals, especially dance instrumentals, can be super boring. Most of them exist solely to keep the beat & mood going in a club or mix. Comfort food for ravers. With that in mind, and with the strict rules put on songs like this (long intros, BPM within a very small range, breakdowns and buildups coming as expected), not a lot of thought has to go into creating for a dance instrumental to work. And that’s totally fine – it serves its purpose to a T.

BUT there are artists who have taken the dance/techno instrumental (or mostly instrumental) to more interesting places. Moby. Fatboy Slim. Skrillex. People who know more about this could name more obscure artists. The pioneers of artful instrumental dance are of course Kraftwerk (RIP Florian). Kraftwerk may have done more to influence 1980s music than any other artist. Listen to them and Depeche Mode back to back and you’ll get it. And then listen to house, industrial, drum and bass, glitch hop, and any other kind of techno or EDM. It is and has been everywhere, for decades.

Part of the reason it’s so ubiquitous is because of George Kranz & The Art of Noise. The latter in particular were essentially the Kraftwerk of my generation. They made instrumental dance not only interesting but popular, at a time when Trevor Horn’s (an AoN founder) production/style was dominating much of the charts. It eventually became big-‘80s cliché, overused, and was probably one reason Art of Noise didn’t last long. But while it was big it really set a high bar, and it showed how versatile and expressive sampling could be. And George Kranz reminds us never to mess with German techno.

I don’t do a lot of instrumentals, but I DO do a lot of techno glitchy stuff, including this vocally minimal one:

Do you know these artists? Do you have any affinity for electronic dance music? Discuss dammit!

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