Electronic body music

Electronic body music
Electronic body music
Stylistic origins Industrial music, electronic dance music, synthpunk, synthpop, post-punk
Cultural origins Early 1980s, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada
Typical instruments Synthesizer - drum machine - sequencer - keyboard - sampler
Mainstream popularity Small
Derivative forms Anhalt EBM, new beat, goa trance, dark electro, electro-industrial

(complete list)

Electronic body music (EBM) or industrial dance is a music genre that combines elements of industrial music and electronic dance music.[1] It first came to prominence in Belgium.[1]

Emerging in the early 1980s, the genre's early influences range from industrial music (Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire), European synthpunk (DAF, Liaisons Dangereuses, Portion Control), and electronic music (Kraftwerk).



From its inception, the style has been characterized by hard and often sparse danceable electronic beats, clear undistorted vocals, shouts or growls with reverberation and echo effects, and repetitive sequencer lines. At the time the genre arose, important synthesizers were the Korg MS-20, Emulator II, Oberheim Matrix and Yamaha DX7. Typical EBM rhythms are based on 4/4 beats, mainly with some minor syncopation to suggest a rock music rhythm structure.



The term electronic body music was coined by Ralf Hütter of the German electronic band Kraftwerk in 1978 to explain the more physical sound of their album The Man-Machine.[2] DAF from Germany used the term "Körpermusik" (body music) to describe their danceable electronic punk sound.[3] The term was later used in by Belgian band Front 242 in 1984 to describe the music of their EP of that year, No Comment.[4][5] Front 242 characterized their approach as falling between Throbbing Gristle and Kraftwerk.[5] Nitzer Ebb, influenced by DAF[6] and Cabaret Voltaire, followed soon after. Groups from this era often applied socialist realist aesthetics, with ironic intent.[7] Other prominent groups include Die Krupps,[8] à;GRUMH...,[9] and A Split-Second.[10]


In the second half of the 1980s, American and Canadian music groups such as Front Line Assembly,[11] Ministry,[12] and Schnitt Acht[13] started to use typical European EBM elements. They combined these elements with the roughness of American industrial rock, particularly in the case of Revolting Cocks.[14] Nine Inch Nails continued the cross-pollination between EBM and industrial rock [15] resulting in their album "Pretty Hate Machine" (1989).

Meanwhile, EBM became popular in the underground club scene, particularly in Europe. In this period the most important labels were the Belgian PIAS and Antler-Subway, the German Zoth Ommog, the North American Wax Trax! and the Swedish Energy Rekords. Significant artists included And One,[16] Armageddon Dildos,[17] Bigod 20,[18] The Neon Judgement,[19] and Attrition.[20]

Between the early and the mid 1990s, many EBM artists split up, or changed their musical style, borrowing more distorted industrial elements or elements of rock or metal. The album Tyranny For You by EBM pioneers Front 242 initiated the end of the EBM epoch of the 1980s. Nitzer Ebb, one of the most important artists, also became an industrial rock band. Without the strength of its figureheads, the original electronic body music faded by the mid-1990s.


Electro-industrial is an outgrowth of the EBM and industrial music that developed in the mid-1980s. While EBM has a minimal structure and clean production, electro-industrial has a deep, complex and layered sound, incorporating elements of ambient industrial. The style was pioneered by Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, and Wumpscut:.[21] In the mid-'90s, the style spawned the dark electro and aggrotech offshoots.


In the late 1990s and after the millennium, Swedish and German groups such as Tyske Ludder, Jäger 90 and Spetsnaz[22] have reproduced the old[clarification needed] EBM style. In the same time period, a number of artists from the European techno scene started including more elements of EBM in their sound. This tendency grew in parallel with the emerging electroclash scene and, as that scene started to decline, a number of artists associated with it, such as The Hacker, DJ Hell,[23] Green Velvet, and Black Strobe,[24] moved towards this techno/EBM crossover style. There has been increasing convergence between this scene and the old school EBM scene. Bands and artists have remixed each other. Most notably, Terence Fixmer joined with Nitzer Ebb's Douglas McCarthy to form Fixmer/McCarthy.[25]


Futurepop is a derivative form of EBM[26] that evolved in the late 90s with Covenant, VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk. The term "futurepop" was coined by VNV Nation lead singer Ronan Harris to describe their sound at the time, and that of similar groups.[27] The scene grew in the early-to-mid 00s as artists such as And One, Assemblage 23, Ayria, Colony 5, Icon of Coil, Neuroticfish, Rotersand, and Seabound formed or began incorporating elements of the genre into their music.[28]

Futurepop music retains some elements that are popular in EBM and industrial music, including heavy use of sampling and an absence of vocal modification that is popular in many other forms of electronic music. In addition, it incorporates influences from synthpop (such as song structure, focus on lyrics and vocal style) and uplifting trance (grandiose and arpeggiated synthesizer melodies) to create beat-driven, club-oriented music that is considered more danceable and upbeat than EBM.[29][dead link][30][dead link]

Some songs in the genre have become popular in dance clubs, particularly in Germany, where several bands in the genre, such as Covenant, Apoptygma Berzerk and VNV Nation has enjoyed chart success. Futurepop music is popular in the cybergoth and general alternative electronic scenes. Music festivals that feature futurepop bands include Infest, Wave-Gotik-Treffen and M'era Luna.

Trance Influences & The Island of Goa

Many of the most popular EBM artists have significant trance, goa/psy-trance or acid techno influences both in how their music subjectively sounds and explicitly cited as an influence. In Ishkur's guide to electronic music he suggests that Goa Trance came from EBM. Many Goa trance artists and djs mention that EBM was played heavily in Goa as well. So it is clear there is a significant crossover between the two scenes in the early to mid 90s at the very least.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dan Sicko, Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk, Billboard Books, 1999, p. 142.
  2. ^ (2007-11-25) Klein, MJ WSKU Radio (Kent - Ohio) - Ralf Hütter - 19/06/1978 kraftwerk.technopop.com.br (retrieved on 2008-01-28)
  3. ^ Uncle Dave Lewis, D.A.F. bio, Allmusic. [1] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  4. ^ (2004-06-20) Monsoon, Jon EBM - A revolution in progress iAfrica.com (retrieved on 2007-08-03)
  5. ^ a b Ernie Rideout, interview with Front 242, Keyboard Presents the Best of the '80s, Backbeat, 2008, p. 57.
  6. ^ Ned Raggett, That Total Age review, Allmusic. [2] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  7. ^ Ned Raggett, Die Kleinen und die Bösen review, Allmusic. [3] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Release Magazine: Die Krupps - Too Much History
  9. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( à;GRUMH... > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p12121. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  10. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( A Split Second > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p12127. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  11. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "((( Front Line Assembly > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p26434. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  12. ^ "... this album probably owes more to Front 242 than anything." Alan Esher, Twitch review, Allmusic. [4] Access date: March 11, 2009.
  13. ^ "((( Subhuman Minds > Overview )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r17497. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  14. ^ Jeffries, David. "((( Revolting Cocks > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p14075. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  15. ^ Huey, Steve (1965-05-17). "((( Nine Inch Nails > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5033. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  16. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "((( And One > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p385218. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  17. ^ McDonald, Steven (1993-08-10). "((( Homicidal Dolls > Overview )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r185216. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  18. ^ Bush, John. "((( Bigod 20 > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p12359. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  19. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( Neon Judgement > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p13777. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  20. ^ by MacKenzie Wilson. "((( Attrition > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p15533. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  21. ^ Harper, Jim (1997-01-14). "((( Music for a Slaughtering Tribe > Overview )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r582484. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  22. ^ Vorndran, Daniela: Spetsnaz, Reflections of Darkness: A Dark Music webzine, March 6, 2006.
  23. ^ Theakston, Rob (2002-11-26). "((( Electronicbody-Housemusic > Overview )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r617464. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  24. ^ Kellman, Andy (2004-06-01). "((( Chemical Sweet Girl > Overview )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r692810. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  25. ^ "Music | CD Reviews". Gothtronic. http://www.gothtronic.com/?page=23&reviews=4963. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  26. ^ Nancy Kilpatrick, The goth bible: a compendium for the darkly inclined , St. Martin's Griffin, 2004.
  27. ^ "Being a little bit productive". Sorted magAZine. 2002. http://sortedmagazine.com/Sordid.php3?nID=261. 
  28. ^ "Assemblage 23 - I've never been fond of the 'future pop' moniker". Side-Line Magazine. 2009. http://www.side-line.com/interviews_comments.php?id=40977_0_16_0_C. 
  29. ^ "Review :: Frozen Plasma - Monumentum". ReGen Magazine. 2010. http://www.regenmag.com/Reviews-2045-Frozen-Plasma-Monumentum.html. 
  30. ^ "Review :: Endanger - Addicted to the Masses". ReGen Magazine. 2006. http://www.regenmag.com/Reviews-293-Endanger-Addicted-to-the-Masses.html. 

The "Trance" section of "Ishkur's Guide to Electronic music"

Interview with a famous goa trance dj where he namedrops various EBM artists in terms of the 80s goa music scene

Velvet Acid Christ Official profile on Vampirefreaks.com

Ektoplazm pre 95 goa/psy scene classic/recommended releases

Contains an interview with someone who namedrops a bunch of EBM artists in reference to early 90s goa

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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