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Resident Advisor | Letter from the Editor: Electronic Music in the Age of Technological Evolution


Major Contributor
Sep 26, 2017

Resident Advisor​

Letter from the Editor: Electronic Music in the Age of Technological Evolution

1 Jun 2022

Announcing our BBC Radio 1 takeover and a series of future-focused topics launching across our platform in June.

This article is part of Resident Advisor’s technology month, dedicated to coverage at the crossroads of electronic music and future-forward innovation throughout the month of June.

Since its inception, electronic music has always pushed the frontiers of sound into the unknown. Early pioneers of the genre, like Egyptian ethnomusicologist Halim El-Dabh and French composer Pierre Schafer, responsible for developing musique concrète, understood the revolutionary impact of technology on augmenting the limitations of traditional instruments and fundamentally liberating their means of expression.

This genre's long legacy of innovation can be traced back to the early 20th century, when composers began experimenting with using electricity to create new noises, leading to the development of various electronic instruments, such as the theremin. In the 1960s and 1980s, electronic music began to mutate and splinter into unprecedented sounds, [...]

Today, electronic music and technology have become more democratic than ever before. The arrival of digital audio has meant music production is increasingly accessible to anyone who wants to create and distribute their work to the masses. [...]
But now, artists are also experimenting with programming language to create their own custom instruments, composing for omnidirectional 4D sound environments or virtual clubs and befriending artificial intelligence to hurtle far beyond the human limitations of music-making (but not without a small frisson of anxiety).

In Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst's Interdependence podcast, guest Cherie Hu—founder of technology and music media outlet Water & Music,—expounds that what was previously a field where "tech" solely meant hardware and software—drum machines, modular synths and DAWs—has become engulfed in discourse around algorithms, Web3 and the Metaverse, shaking the very bedrock of how we conceptualise electronic music culture. Why is it that technology is now so advanced, yet many artists are still waiting for their financial and productivity gains? With the dawn of infinite possibility, there also exists excessive speculation, implications on data privacy and endless ethical quandaries—as protective legislation and copyright laws struggle to keep up.

Beginning this month, Resident Advisor will remain poised at this intersection. June's forward-facing theme jump starts with a BBC Radio 1 mix series partnership (the first of its kind to explore a specific topic). This exploration of technology will then sweep cross-platform, continuing to be expertly threaded throughout RA's multimedia coverage [...]

There will be informative video essays, including one on the Metaverse, from RA's Film section. Our features output will investigate the recent uptick in live audiovisual performances
and why TikTok is becoming the next biggest platform for electronic music.
On the industry side, senior staff writer Nyshka Chandran delves into the benefits of Web3 on IRL venues and unpacks her findings on an Exchange "Reflections" podcast. We'll scrutinise the consequences of data collection with the advent of Cloud DJing, and consider the impact of online gaming on club culture and the ways in which we experience dance music post-pandemic.

The technological evolution barrels forward. [...]


Active Member
May 19, 2022
I guess I'm getting old. When I read the original articles, the buzzwords like platform, AI, immersive-experience just made me go back to the 80's and kick my tv in.

Like Rick did on the very first episode of the Young Ones, where they actually take a jab at themselves, where Rick wants to watch his favorite new show for young adults Nozin' Aroun'. :)

About 23:20 into it is when he tunes in.

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