Electro is a breakbeat genre of electronic dance music created by Kraftwerk. Electro was developed due to electrofunk (a subgenre emerged in USA at the junction of hip hop with synthfunk and electropop (Gary Numan)) and the German Kraftwerk electro music.
Birth: 1982 Bloom: 1985
During 1982-1985s the genre reached its peak. Electro helped to rid hip hop from disco rhythmic dependence. Techno evolved from electro (Cybotron, Mantronix, Model 500).
As a music genre, electro is typified by the usage of drum machines, particularly the Roland TR-808, as the rhythmic basis of the track. The breakbeat rhythm is achieved by offsetting downbeats on upbeats with the emphasis on snares and claps. The tempo typically lies in the 130–150 BPM range, syncopated electro rhythms are based on the formula «kick-snare-kick-kick-snare-kick», typical example of which is Kraftwerk`s composition — «Numbers». Electro sound is characterized by the heavy usage of effects such as analog sound synthesis, reverbs, delays, vocals processed through a vocoder, the science fiction or futuristic themes in lyrics.
One of first and the most influential composition of this genre was Afrika Bambaataa`s single «Planet Rock» released in June 1982 and quoted the melody of «Trans-Europe Express» and the rhythm of Kraftwerk`s «Numbers». Second Bambaataa`s release «Looking for the Perfect Beat» (1983) was as well successful as the first. At that time one of the electro masterpieces was released, it was the single «Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)» by Hashim. Musicians from Los-Angeles — Egyptian Lover and Arabian Prince — became founders of the electro hop style that typified by more bass and less funk sound. In Detroit evolved a new sound — techno electro/techno bass with mostly technoid sound (A Number of Names, Cybotron, Aux 88, Drexciya). In Miami a new kind of electro evolved — Miami bass, typified by a fast tempo, the emphasis on multi tonal bass and obscene lyrics, subdivided into: Miami bass Hiphop (2 Live Crew, Poison Clan, 95 South), Electro/Techno Bass (Maggotron, Dynamix II), Car audio bass (Bass 305, Bass Mekanik etc), Latin bass (DJ Laz). On the east coast in New York City and Miami electro music gave a birth to freestyle — Latin-American electro with soul pop sound.
In spite of the fact that electro was popular in the 80s there are still a lot of musicians of this style. Nowadays, a new wave of interest to electro is mostly in Detroit or New York City, but other cities try to keep up with them. That`s why almost in every megalopolis there are many local DJs and producers, whose competitions make electro sound better.
The documentary movie «Darkbeat — An Electro World Voyage» is devoted to electro music.
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