IDM or Intelligent Dance Music remains a hugely niche genre as far as Indian listeners are concerned. Although much progress has been made in its pursuit, it still is elusive in its understanding and production in context to Indian shores.
What happens most of the time is that, very often genres like Electro-dance, Deep House and even Minimal House are confused with being IDM. The fact is that the basic tenet of IDM is sonic individualistic experimentation as opposed to a particular set of musical characteristics. The main rule being that all sounds have to have their base in an electronic medium.
So how far has that tenet carried forth to Indian shores? Well not very far according to me. The furthest and most relatively successful we have come so far is with the artists Shaa’ir & Func. They model and create their music on an entirely electronic base, the only organic element being the seemingly free flowing vocal arrangements. Yet still, that has been fit into a song arrangement mode, complete with catchy choruses and thumping rhythm sections.
One of the earliest expositions into electronica, which became a huge influential commercial success and still holds up today, is the 1977 album by Giorgio Moroder called From Here To Eternity. A sensation when released, it was the first album to have been completely created using electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
The first side of the LP (1977, remember?) featured an epic non-stop mix of 5 different songs, which has gone on to inspire many house music producers and DJ Composers since. Of course, it also helped that it created a new trend called Disco, a trend that has resulted in today’s global party scene in many ways.
But coming back to the talk about IDM and its unconventional approach to the structuring of electronic sound, it is yet to be explored in complete honesty on Indian shores. There are a few groups that keep having sessions where electronic music is supposedly played, but sadly those sessions turn into an excursion into house and club and trance and techno and what not.
So here’s my final assessment, the reason it is Intelligent Dance Music is that the focus is not on the ‘Dance’ but on the ‘Intelligence’, it is not music to dance to, but to listen to and enjoy the intelligent juxtaposition of eclectic and unconventional electronic sounds. I would like to urge IDM fans to listen to artists like Autechre, Venetian Snares and Prefuse 73 for further reference.
Indian musicians who have the aptitude and the disposition to create such electronically mental manipulations are at the gateway to an explosion of a criminally underrated genre of sonic nirvana…if I may say so.