which I always say "IDM is a mailing list, not a style of music."
For the old timers -- who've been on the list since the beginning -- which
will be 10 years ago in august -- the focus of the list has continually
shifted. There were times when B12 and Peter Namlook were hot topics.
Hear about them lately? When did you last hear anyone talking seriously about
'Ambient'? And would anyone picking up the Orb Live 93/94 CD now not think
it is meandering, pretentious crap?
The real impetus behind IDM -- the list, not the music -- was a simple
recognition that there was dance music that works at a party, but is
monotonous over the home stereo. Then there was music that emerged from
the same scene that was worth listening to at home because there was something
more there than a simple DJ tool.
The 'Intelligent' part of the label referred directly to the title of the
Warp 'Artificial Intelligence' CD series. Soon after IDM
started, people started calling it a misnomer, or an unfortunate distinction.
IDM (the list not the music, again) has also warped (pun intended) the
direction of the music in a couple of ways. Hell the second Warp AI CD
incorporated posts from the IDM list in the album art! A lot of the people
who are now rising in prominence as musicians started out as enthusiastic
amateurs, subscribed to IDM, following every twist and turn. Prominent
artists like Autechre, Aphex Twin, and Muziq have subscribed from time
to time and thrown in their 2 bits.
Which brings me to the proximate point of Eggy's message: has IDM become
a genre now, instead of just a mailing list? Are there conventions to the
genre? Probably -- probably there are people out there that
ONLY list to IDM, and would ONLY consider a certain list of artists as
being proper IDM. There may well be artists out there that have an idea
of IDM genre conventions, and include or leave out elements from their
music based on those conventions.
But as a grizzled vet of the decade long IDM wars my opinion is this:
They're welcome to it. The best music comes from people who are able
to absorb influences, but turn away from those influences to find the
sound that is uniquely theirs. I have always, and will always, seek
that sort of music out.
On the other hand, there is music -- notably for me -- that follows
some of the current IDM conventions, and yet kicks major ass. In particular
I've yet to hear a bad CD on M3RCK. But the innovators will always resist
being pinned down. A label like City Center Offices seems to encompass
a wider range of music, but their spirit is very much in tune with the
original spirit of IDM (the list, not the music). Planet Mu, run by
original IDM Poster Boy Mike Paradinas, has followed a relentless course
of pursuing the modern inheritors of the hardcore&gabba torch -- people
like Venetian Snares, Dan Dormouse, Speedranch, and Muziq himself,
occasionally. Try putting on Dormouse and mixing it with the Orb. Actually
that would sound kinda cool...
So to sum up, the idea of IDM as a 'genre' is really a contradiction in terms.
The list (not the music) didn't used to have a narrow focus, and if it's
doing it's job right it should remain open to new and interesting music no
matter where it comes from.
On Thu, 5 Jun 2003, EggyToast wrote:
> I have noticed this a bit on the idm-list -- a lot of the new stuff
> discussed ends up having those qualities, so perhaps the genre is
> starting to close up a bit. personally, one of the reasons I always liked
> "idm" is that it *was* so broad. So I could sum up my affinity for
> autechre, amon tobin, mouse on mars, and so on, by just saying