Jul 9, 2010

Chosen Words: R is for Rhythm

Fat Roland's A-Z guide to the most important words or phrases in electronica and their associated "facts"

Natter in the comments section on my previous post leads me nicely to a slightly important element of electronic music: rhythm.

Rhythm in music is probably the one thing that separates modern generations from those that lived through the age of the whinging crooner and all that screechy violin stuff they call "classical".

You can tell rhythm has become more popular from a simple statistic: there were more hit singles with 'rhythm' in the title in the 1990s than there had been in the entire history of chart music. The same is true for the words 'sexy', 'fat' and 'roland' (probably).

Drum machines helped bring repetitive beats to the forefront of modern music. A notable drum machine is the Rhythm Ace, which was distributed by Bentley pianos. The combination of Bentley and Rhythm Ace gave rise to an influential big beat collective called Midfield General. No. Fatboy Slim. Wait. Um... Chemical Brothers? I forget.

The Roland TR-808 was a crappy sounding drum machine that rose, Cinderella style, to claim an affectionate place in pumpkin-- er-- music history. Its fake, electronic sounds were as similar to real drums as Scouting For Girls are to real music.

The rise of the drum machine and the endless thirst for rhythm has lead to a two-word phrase that strikes fear in the heart of any responsible music fan: "more cowbell". You see? The 1994 Criminal Justice Bill was right after all.

For more Chosen Words, click the tag at the bottom of this post.

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