Why is it that the UK has so many sub-genres of music?

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onthebandwagon
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Why is it that the UK has so many sub-genres of music?

Post by onthebandwagon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:51 pm

Just in dance music alone: jungle, drum and bass, dubstep, etc.—I only casually listen to these and know their is a slew of other styles I haven’t even heard of. Seems like the UK still has more regional rivalries in the music scene or did 10+ years ago than the US...but maybe I’m mistaken. Any thoughts on this subject? I’m far from an Anglophile but listen to a lot of music from the UK and could drink a glass of crème anglaise if left to my own devices.

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Post by Slothrop » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:39 am

I _think_ the reason that this happens so much is that UK dance scenes tend to involve absolutely ridiculous numbers of releases coming out, many of them from producers you've never heard of before, a lot of them not on labels or on labels you've never heard of before, and you're often hearing them played out in a club with no information at all, so pretty much the only way to get a handle on the whole thing is to say "okay, that lot of tunes all sound pretty similar so we're going to say they're psychedelic funk-step now".

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Re: Why is it that the UK has so many sub-genres of music?

Post by PeterHanes » Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:33 am

onthebandwagon wrote: Any thoughts on this subject?
It's (a) tiny island/s, crammed with over 60 million people, with notable cultural links to Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, and parts of Africa. News travels fast and so novelty is prized.

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Re: Why is it that the UK has so many sub-genres of music?

Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:37 pm

PeterHanes wrote:
onthebandwagon wrote: Any thoughts on this subject?
It's (a) tiny island/s, crammed with over 60 million people, with notable cultural links to Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, and parts of Africa. News travels fast and so novelty is prized.
Sounds about right.

There for a while the US was trying match the number of dance genres with rock genres: Slow core, sad core, alt-rock, twee pop, crabcore, post-rock, post-punk revival, nü metal, post-metal, sludge metal, stoner rock, desert rock, etc.

Also, those genres are like 30 years old. Keep up, son!

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onthebandwagon
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Re: Why is it that the UK has so many sub-genres of music?

Post by onthebandwagon » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:02 pm

GuyaGuy wrote:
PeterHanes wrote:
onthebandwagon wrote: Any thoughts on this subject?
It's (a) tiny island/s, crammed with over 60 million people, with notable cultural links to Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, and parts of Africa. News travels fast and so novelty is prized.
Sounds about right.

There for a while the US was trying match the number of dance genres with rock genres: Slow core, sad core, alt-rock, twee pop, crabcore, post-rock, post-punk revival, nü metal, post-metal, sludge metal, stoner rock, desert rock, etc.

Also, those genres are like 30 years old. Keep up, son!
That’s a good point... thinking about it now it might also have to do with the UK having a stronger underground club scene while here in the US we at one point had a lot of small venues for hardcore...punk...”indie music” (hate that term).

Btw—you forgot the all important “mathcore” so stop sleeping :lol:

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Post by rew_ » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:19 pm

The UK has a healthy dance music subculture. The three styles you named—jungle, drum and bass, and dubstep, but also UK Garage, Funky, etc—are all part of a lineage and are not rivals but styles that evolved in sequence (and sometimes in parallel).

It's true that many of those styles remained largely unique to the UK, which is due to a number of factors—a pre-established soundsystem culture owing to a substantial number of Caribbean transplants, a more liberal nightlife scene centered around clubs and not bars, a committed pirate radio community, etc. Also, as mentioned above, it's an island with a bazillion people living on it.

Simon Reynolds is your expert on this, and Energy Flash is his text. He refers to the evolution of dance music in the UK as "The Hardcore Continuum."

It's not a rivalry, it's a history.

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Post by MarcelP » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:24 am

Because we like grouping ourselves into boxes that make “us” distinct from “them”; and from our well defined little box we can be judgemental about the occupants of all the other boxes we have decided to tip everyone else into - whether they agree to the classification or not - or whether they are even aware. Or all the labels are just shorthand for a fistful of tracks that “belong together” for arbitrary reasons. Or we love talking about things we enjoy but don’t have sufficient words to describe songs or tracks individually in terms of their essences so we like to simplify the terms of reference by applying a label that our audience can decipher by grouping together a set of songs/tracks that share some arbitrary characteristics. Or maybe the U.K. has a higher percentage of people who have taken higher education courses in “music” that require them to write about “music”, and the labels developed over time as worthless self-referential markers that helped the writers of 15000 word essays believe they were making profound distinctions between genres whereas a disinterested member of the public would think they were splitting hairs at best and at worst classifying the types of angels that dance on different kinds of pins.

Or.... I haven’t a clue to be honest, and all the labelling and classifying makes me feel limp.

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Post by Liddlepud » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:03 am

When I used to go out clubbing back in the day :youkids: it just made it easier to know what type of evening you were letting yourself in for. There were so many different nights and no internet so you either had to follow DJ's, labels, or go by the sub-genre on the flyer.

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Post by dubonaire » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:13 am

rew_ wrote:The UK has a healthy dance music subculture. The three styles you named—jungle, drum and bass, and dubstep, but also UK Garage, Funky, etc—are all part of a lineage and are not rivals but styles that evolved in sequence (and sometimes in parallel).

It's true that many of those styles remained largely unique to the UK, which is due to a number of factors—a pre-established soundsystem culture owing to a substantial number of Caribbean transplants, a more liberal nightlife scene centered around clubs and not bars, a committed pirate radio community, etc. Also, as mentioned above, it's an island with a bazillion people living on it.

Simon Reynolds is your expert on this, and Energy Flash is his text. He refers to the evolution of dance music in the UK as "The Hardcore Continuum."

It's not a rivalry, it's a history.
I think that's the answer.

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Post by StrangeAttraction » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:04 am

Having been an outsider and an observer of UK culture for over 17 years...two things immediately spring to mind:
- UK is a very musically diverse and rich conutry (collection of nations). Think the Beatles, Elton John, then Queen, Led Zeppelin, punk, the 80s, 90s rave, IDM, DnB, Dubstep, etc. thousands of artists came from the UK
I think it's one of the most rich and musical places on this planet. This is because people from the UK have quite complicated internal lives and a lot of things and emotions in the UK are not allowed to/not being expressed directly. This IMHO translates to a lot of internal feelings and emotions being expressed, received and processed through music, hence all the richness and variety.
- As a post-colonial nation, it has a multinational, very varied and culture-rich population, which leads to cross-pollination and all these new genres of music.

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onthebandwagon
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Post by onthebandwagon » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:05 am

I wonder how the northern soul scene in the 60s figures into this, perhaps that was the first dance genre in the UK based around black music?

StrangeAttraction, I appreciate your observations, adds another layer to the equation.

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Post by xradii » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:07 am

Not much to add as far as personal opinion but I'd refer to https://music.ishkur.com for info on micro-genres and how/why they might exist. It's *definitely* the most comical resource on this subject you're going to find.. :lol:

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Post by Muzone » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:22 am

Not to mention the notorious UK sense of humour ;)

Many of the sub-genres are really just a tongue in cheek mickey take for the consumption of gullible media, it is a sort of challenge to invent a genre and see how long before it gets adopted.....

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Post by GuyaGuy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:09 pm

onthebandwagon wrote:I wonder how the northern soul scene in the 60s figures into this, perhaps that was the first dance genre in the UK based around black music?
There were healthy scenes around ska, r'n'b, and skiffle before Northern soul.

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onthebandwagon
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Post by onthebandwagon » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:24 pm

Yea that was a woefully ill informed statement...never could listen to more than a few seconds of skiffle, no idea it had roots in blues, jazz etc...

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Post by Agawell » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:28 pm

i wouldn't be surprised if at least some of these genres were named by music journalists, to give themselves something to write about
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Post by francoprussian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:24 pm

Agawell wrote:i wouldn't be surprised if at least some of these genres were named by music journalists, to give themselves something to write about
Bingo!

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Post by francoprussian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:32 pm

LOL at Bishop Westwood of Edmonton's son acting manager of Tempz:

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Post by onthebandwagon » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:14 pm

I was reading about some Ukrainian DJ just now and they said that he’s predominantly known as a “skullstep” artist :hmm: :hihi:

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Post by GrantB » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:06 pm

Agawell wrote:i wouldn't be surprised if at least some of these genres were named by music journalists, to give themselves something to write about
This was my take as a DJ in the US back in the 90s/2000s when new dance sub genres started coming out monthly. You'd have to read their rags just to know wtf people were talking about, sometimes before the records even started showing up in shops.

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Post by Slothrop » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:29 pm

Muzone wrote:Not to mention the notorious UK sense of humour ;)

Many of the sub-genres are really just a tongue in cheek mickey take for the consumption of gullible media, it is a sort of challenge to invent a genre and see how long before it gets adopted.....
The other thing is that it's kind of hard to draw the line between describing what something sounds like ("it's kind of deep, psychedelic techno") and claiming that it's a subgenre ("no way am I playing any of that funky psychedelic techno shit, I only play deep psychedelic techno"). And I might do the first thing one day, only to realise that someone else has turned it into the other a week later.

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Post by acidbob » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:14 pm

To me (Danish) it just makes it very easy and convenient to differentiate between the styles that I like, most of the music I listen to is from the UK.
A lot of new European electro/IDM/acid has emerged lately, dunno if that even has a genre yet, I guess it does. A name like skullstep oh, I dont even think I would listen to something like that haha (Bro)

Example
www.youtu.be/elvRJSsQdAY

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Post by Panason » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:58 am

The UK is pretty much the birthplace of a lot of this stuff. This is soon coming to an end as the welfare system that supported so many UK music makers in the last few decades has been finally trashed by the Tories. If they carry on with their insane Brexit plans, it will be the final nail in the coffin and all we'll have then is garbage EDM made by soul-less corporate drones on social media...
and claiming that it's a subgenre ("no way am I playing any of that funky psychedelic techno shit, I only play deep psychedelic techno")
Many folks in that scene apparently regard the use of vocal samples a real no-no, and even snare drums may be considered unacceptably funky ! :guinness:
There are now like a dozen or more sub genres of psy (*sigh) trance that only the trance heads can distinguish... brace yourself for Trauma Trance (seriously).

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Post by ym2612 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:14 am

Liddlepud wrote:When I used to go out clubbing back in the day :youkids: it just made it easier to know what type of evening you were letting yourself in for. There were so many different nights and no internet so you either had to follow DJ's, labels, or go by the sub-genre on the flyer.
Nowadays, at least here in NY, most events don't even list the genre or subgenre of music on the flyer graphic or the Facebook event. You have to know, or you don't know. :youkids:

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Post by Panason » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:30 am

xradii wrote:Not much to add as far as personal opinion but I'd refer to https://music.ishkur.com for info on micro-genres and how/why they might exist. It's *definitely* the most comical resource on this subject you're going to find.. :lol:
I finally know where I belong ! Eurotrash -> Filthy Electrohouse! :hyper:

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