|Intelligent dance music (commonly IDM), is a genre of electronic derived from dance music of the early 1990s which put an emphasis on novel processing and sequencing. IDM's roots in electronic dance are responsible for the term "Dance" in the genre name, which was originally applied to musicians like Aphex Twin and those on the Warp Records label.
The experimental sequencing and audio processing techniques used in IDM production separate it from other electronic genres. As a genre, it is derived from many other styles including drum and bass, ambient, house, techno, hip hop, UK garage and even jazz. Other influences include musique concrète and avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis.
Tempo in IDM varies from quite slow in downtempo IDM to very vast in breakcore-derived styles, with most pieces lying between 100 and 140 beats per minute. Drum sequences tend to be complex, with some artists incorporating disorienting rhythmic figures. Many IDM artists create drum lines which obscure the downbeat, which makes some IDM very hard to dance to. Much of the melodic and harmonic content of IDM is influenced by the kinds of lead instrument and pad sounds used in the conventional electronic music of the early 1990s.The structure of IDM pieces resembles that of improvisational jazz. A typical IDM piece has a single motif which varies slowly over the duration of the track. Modes of variation include changes in timbre of the melodic and harmonic elements, addition and removal of accompaniment, and changes in rhythm. Artists which primarily use this form include Autechre and Boards Of Canada. Artists which use other musical forms, including "AABA" form, include Aphex Twin, The Redneck Manifesto, Squarepusher, and Venetian Snares.
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