Though it's been around for a solid 20+ years, electronic music has seen popularity like never before in the last five. Maybe it's because of better computers and production software, or maybe it's just the need for something different, but electronic synthesizers have made their way into all genres of music from pop to indy. And while the most popular tv and radio stations are bumping techno-style dance music, indy artists are experimenting with deep, melodic electronic sounds. So, we here at Dish decided to share some of the coolest acts, the chillest of the chill in the world of electronica.
Scott Hansen, better known as Tycho (Tai-ko), is an ambient electronic artist and producer out of San Francisco. With a coastal, California aesthetic, Tycho syncs down-tempo, vintage synthesizers with dream-like rhythms and melodies to create the atmosphere of a lazy beach. After a successful launch of his third album Dive in 2011on Ghostly International records, Tycho found his niche in the booming electronic music scene. Featuring songs such as “Dive” and “Daydream”, this introspective album received a surprising amount of success and esteem among the indy crowd. His most recent album Awake was released in March of 2014, along with title song “Awake”.
Not all artists on the list are up-and-comers. English duo Massive Attack, consisting of Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, have been together since the early nineties-- making these pioneers way ahead of their time. Their smooth, atmospheric sound is almost jazz-like in coolness, as they often use dynamic crescendos and sultry female vocalists in popular tracks like “Teardrop” and “Angel”. Both their debut album “Blue Lines” and their biggest album “Mezzanine” are listed in Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time. Though they set out to defy genre, the term “trip hop” was coined to define them in the nineties. Their songs have shown up in several smart, cool movies over the years, such as Guy Ritchie's Snatch.
This French electronic band, led by frontman Anthony Gonzalez, was formed in 2001 in Antibes, France. Originally a two-piece act featuring Nicolas Fromageau, this atmospheric band separated shortly after touring for their second studio album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. However, Gonzalez continued producing with his brother Yann Gonzalez and vocalist/ keyboardist Morgan Kibby to release several more albums, including 2008's retro-inspired breakout album Saturdays=Youth, which hit the U.S. Charts for the first time. Using themes and sounds from the youth culture of the 80's, Gonzalez experimented with vintage synthesizers, highly distorted guitars and modern production methods to make his own “shoe-gaze” style of music. Songs such as “Kim and Jessie” and “Graveyard Girl” were some of his most well-known songs, until 2011's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming shot them toward the top of the charts with their most successful single “Midnight City”.
Joe Corrales Jr., also known as Yppah (Yi-pah) is an ambient electronic artists that resides in Long Beach, California. As his name suggests-- Yppah is “Happy” spelled backwards--, this musician creates upbeat songs with a mellow temperament. By mixing various electronic styles of music, psychedelic soul, and heavy re-verb and effects, Yppah produces the kind of California day-dreaming that can really carry listeners away. His first album, 2006's You Are Beautiful At All Times produced singles “Again with the Subtitles” and “It's Not the Same”, which ironically appeared in dark trailers for the movie 21 and the video game Alone in the Dark. Regardless of this ironic media appearance, songs such as “Playing with Fireworks” can only take you to your happy place.
This Canadian-based duo, formed in 2010, creates hip hop/trip hop rhythm structures behind ambient, psychedelic melodies and the ethereal voice Megan James. The 2012 release of Shrines set them apart with singles like “Fineshrine”. Instrumentalist and producer Corin Roddick teamed up with James after they split from their previous band Born Gold, in which Roddick played drums and James played keys. For this duo, artistry is everything. They not only experiment with music, they create an entire experience for their fans. Roddick uses a custom-built, electronic instrument to drive both sound and lighting, while James designs and sews costumes for the live performance and writes lyrics based on written material she originally kept private. Innovative and creative, this duo could be described as many different genres: synth-pop, trip hop, and even one named witch house.