Rhythm and Blues
Possibly given its name in the 1990s by British music mag Melody Maker, electronica music is a sort of post-rave electronic music known for its preoccupation with arrangement, sound and innovation rather than its ability to make people dance. The term, while still used often, is widely accepted to be very general; electronica music covers any type of electronic music that doesn't strive to reach the dance floor, though there are varying styles of music within electronica. With time, electronica music began to encompass any music that used electronic elements more frequently than live guitars, bass or drums, and the term became known as a selling point for major music corporations to market electronica bands and artists to the general public.
Electronica Artists and Bands and their InfluencesElectronica music is rooted in both the late-80s fascination with synthesizers and sequencing (used most frequently by new wave) and the early-90s explosion of rave culture. Electronica artists such as Underworld, Autechre and Aphex Twin began making records that used almost exclusively electronic elements to create sound. These electronica bands' focus on songwriting set them apart from techno or house artists who seemed to be making music simply as background to huge parties or club nights. dubnobasswithmyheadman, by Underworld, is often cited as the first truly electronica CD ever released and gave way to a number of other electronica artists: Autechre and Aphex Twin are considered more experimental electronica music while Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead are in the subdivision of trip hop, and the Chemical Brothers in the realm of big-beat electronica music.
By the late 1990s, electronica music was so widespread that electronica bands were no longer just a novelty; they were full-fledged, powerful members of the music industry. Electronica bands who had previously shown no affiliation with the form began working with electronica bands and releasing one-off electronica CDs and singles. Bjork paired up with electronica artist Tricky for her second record Post and has remained aligned with electronica music ever since. Madonna released Ray of Light, perhaps the most mainstream single found in this era, effectively popularizing a resurgence of electronica music and rave culture. Longtime electronica artists like Moby, Fatboy Slim and Daft Punk suddenly became superstars and producers haggled to get electronica bands to contribute to mainstream releases.
Like any trend, of course, electronica music and its mainstream success slowly died, but electronica artists have continued to release well-received records. Modern electronica music offshoots like Stereolab and Radiohead have enjoyed massive success and early electronica bands such as Daft Punk and Aphex Twin often come back with incredibly popular electronica CDs.