In actuality, IDM doesn't as much refer to the intelectual level of the music, but more to the fact that it sounds like dance music that only someone with a major degenerative neurological disease could even pretend to dance to it.
Techno/electronica that was meant to be heard more in the living room than on the dance floor, yet without becoming ambient


you don't see this link

According to audiogalaxy's electronica editor, IDM is:

  • Uses weird sounds. Odd, noisy, alienating and obscure samples. Squelched beats, jagged synth lines, static washes, electrical shorts.
  • Defies rhythmic convention. Most good IDM draws from harsh jungle or arrythmic ambient drift, and throws in plenty of curves: sudden starts, stops, and odd changes. It's like electronic free jazz.
  • Presents an academic image. All good IDM artists will either refuse to be photographed, use building blueprints as album art, call themselves Cerebral without irony, or claim to build all their own synthesizers. From scratch.
  • Can't be danced to, unless you do the Robot.

Is anyone else confused? I've listened to some of the genre's poster-children... I'm sorry, I'm not a big fan of static. Every song I've gotten has a large amount of static as part of the background sound. It sounds like they're trying to do something different, but it just comes out like they started the recorder and beat the crap out of it.

I really don't like the third point. Academic image? Blueprints? Now, I know there is kind of a tradition as to emo album covers, but this seems silly. Is it just the editor trying to sound important, or did he catch some subset of the artists who are also geeks?

"Also, anyone who applies the term IDM to my music deserves to be shot."
- Chris Jeffs (Cylob)

It's not the artists, nor the record companies who came up with the term Intelligent Dance Music. It is the name of said mailing-list only, and has since been adopted by the fans as a descriptor for the genre.

It should be noted that I personally don't care much for genre descriptors, as they tend to get too narrow for even a single artist. Single songs can even cross multiple genres easily.

Audited January 14, 2002

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