Electronica is a term that refers to a large range of different electronic music that has been made for different uses, like dance, background or foreground music, and other such activities. But it is not made for dancing specifically, like electronic dance music. Electronica is an umbrella term that emerged in the early years of the 90s, and was used to encompass such genres as downtempo, ambient, drum and bass, and techno, that emerged into the commercial mainstream in America in the late 90s from the alternative or underground scenes. Before the emergence of the term electronica, terms such as trance and electronic listening music were used to describe the scene. As a genre, electronica found its beginning in the underground music scene in the early 90s and since then has influenced many different types of music in even the mainstream music scene, a prime example of this being found in the 2005 release of Madonnaâ€™s album â€œConfessions on a Dancefloorâ€. But there are many artists and performers whom have incorporated influences from the electronica genre into their own forms of music.
Advancements in technology that forwarded the abilities of music productions made electronica possible. Devices such as synthesizers, drum machines, music sequencers, electronic instruments, and digital audio workstations all played key parts in the advancement of the electronica scenes movement. During the beginning of the scene, huge amounts of very intricate equipment with large groups of operators were required for live performances, while new technology has allowed for small groups with much more minimal setups to be able to produce live shows, and record in much smaller workspaces and recording studios. Around the middle years of the 90s the term electronica was being used by many record labels and even MTV to label electronic dance music in the mainstream scene, such as the music produced by acts like The Prodigy, and Orbital. More recent years have seen the term used to describe other acts, such as Aphex Twin, Goldfrapp, Boards of Canada and Autechre, and other bands that are known for a highly electronic production in their music. The early 90s saw many bands of the genre come into the mainstream spotlight before electronica was even termed, such as Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Underworld, Moby, and The Chemical Brothers, to name a few. The genre has always been noted for its much larger production value than most other genres, due to more layering, the complexity of the rhythms and beats produced, and the high number of remixes done to any one given song.
During the late 90s, while electronica was highly popular in the United States and Australia, it remained mainly as a form of underground music. Though in Europe, electronica had come to be one of the most popular genres of its time. Some have even said that France in the early 90s was the source of the original emergence of the electronica scene, and from there it spread into a global phenomenon. The late 90s and early 2000s saw much experimentation in the genre, with a large amount of DJs and performers getting together from different countries to make music together. New York City was a prime example of this, with DJs from Brazil and even Asia bringing their work to the cities famous nightclubs. Many bands from the 90s through the 2000s incorporated elements of the genre into their music on various albums; bands include U2, R.E.M., Pop, The Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, Radiohead and Blur. Regardless of the popularity in the mainstream music scene of the word electronica, many performers and artists that were apart of its emergence and movement hate the word, and refuse to be labeled as such. They say that it is in their opinion the term was simply made up by the music industry to label their form of music for selling electronic music. This is not surprising, considering the main heart of the electronica movement itself was greatly against commercialism and the media.