Underappreciated music genres: electronic music

William Hartner

Everyone knows dubstep, everyone knows techno, but that isn’t what we’re here for. Right now we’re here to read about genres of electronic music that you may have never heard of until now. The sub-sets of the genre I’ll be breaking down for you are drum ‘n’ bass, ambient and chiptune.

Drum ‘n’ bass:

If your average dubstep song is a nice drive through the countryside, drum ‘n’ bass is going 20 over the speed limit in a 75 MPH zone. It’s defined by its frantic tempo (usually between 150 and 180 beats per minute), frequent use of sampling and hard-hitting bass lines. Drum ‘n’ bass has a wide range of influences from jazz to industrial. I appreciate drum ‘n’ bass because of its complexity and groove.

Recommended albums: Big Loada by Squarepusher and Richard D. James Album by Aphex Twin.


Keeping with the same analogy, ambient music is sitting in the back seat of a car that is going slowly so you can soak in the majesty of nature. Ambient music is all about creating an atmosphere or mood, rather than focus on traditional musical structure like rhythm. Ambient is great for going to sleep, relaxing, studying or anything where not much is going on. I adore ambient’s ability to relax me.

Recommended albums: Ambient 1/Music For Airports by Brian Eno, and Tomorrow’s Harvest by Boards of Canada


Again in the analogy, chiptune music is playing Super Mario 3 while the car is headed to your best friend’s birthday party. Chiptune, plain and simple, is old-school video game music. Sometimes created for a game, sometimes not. Chiptune is fun, and nostalgic in the best ways. I love Chiptune for its timelessness and incredible fun.

Recommended albums: Dawn Metropolis by Anamanaguchi and Level by Disasterpeace.