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Square Notes, Round Pegs, & Big Bass

Tech Heads, Pay Heed
While searching for new tracks for play on Kiwi Classics, I often come across tracks which feature a style that is overwhelmingly difficult to describe: it is music that incorporates elements of techno and dubby’ bass, while floating unsynthesized instruments and vocals.

Let me show you’ something here – Come with me, on a musical excursion, into the web.

An up and coming Drum-and-Bass duo from NZ, ‘State of Mind’, presents music that is closely related to this… aforementioned style… yet not so foreign as to present a challenge of classification. Listen, if you please,to ‘Sun King’, by the band ;State of Mind’. [“DubStep?”, you might ask. “Not Hardly”, I’d respond ] – This, is ‘drum and bass’: a synth. dominated style that hosts an almost overwhelmingly quick pace, yet not so quick as to exclude the possibility of overlaid harmonic, flow changing riffs.

“So What?”, you say. Well, We’re getting there – keep this drum-and-bass information in the back of your mind for the moment.

Now, consider taking a listen to ‘We Are Roman’s’ song ‘Draw the Lines’. The band’s Facebook page classifies their music as “Electronica/Alternative”. Take a listen.. The opening melody is carried by an almost rhythmic (rhythm being the key here) distorted guitar piece, this riff hands off the melody to the vocalist who now (30 seconds in) floats above a Gordian mess of sythn. and electro-coustic sounds. I believe it’s fair to knock ‘purely alternative’ out of the discussion at this point. What ties all of this post’s rambling together, is the driving beat beneath the layers of synth. Though it shares characteristics with D&B, it is not drum and bass, It’s not techno, and definitely not Dub. And for categorization’s sake, this music isn’t electronica either, just listen to the vocals, and ‘electro-fied-geetar’!

Perhaps this genre already has a strict definition and I’m just woefully unaware; but until the wool is lifted from my eyes, or the music world becomes more organized, I will set to calling this style: Electro-Poprock. [and only *in part* due to a childhood affinity for the lolly.]


Written by DJ Marsupial. Tune into Kiwi Classics every Thursday from 6-7pm on 90.7fm KJHK.