How Postmodernism is Shaping Electronic Dance Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Postmodernism is a movement that began in the mid-20th century that questions the grand narratives and absolutism of modernism.


Since the early days of electronic music, the genre has been shaped by various movements and counterculture scenes. In the 1980s, for example, acid house and techno were born out of the underground rave scene in Britain. In the 1990s, jungle and drum & bass emerged from the UK’s youth clubs and pirate radio stations. And more recently, dubstep has been influenced by both grime and UK garage.

But what about postmodernism? How has this philosophical movement shaped electronic dance music?

In this article, we’ll take a look at how postmodernism has influenced various subgenres of EDM, from Detroit techno to contemporary “bass music.” We’ll also explore how postmodernism is currently shaping the direction of the genre as a whole.

What is Postmodernism?

Postmodernism is a philosophical and aesthetic movement that began in the mid-20th century. It is characterized by a rejection of traditional values and conventions, and a focus on individual experience and expression.

In the realm of music, postmodernism has had a significant impact on electronic dance music (EDM). EDM is a broad category that includes subgenres like dubstep, techno, trance, and house.

EDM artists have embraced postmodernism by pushed the boundaries of what is considered “music.” They often use found sounds and samples, and create collages of sonic textures. This approach to making music reflects the postmodern belief that there is no such thing as an original work of art; everything is based on preexisting materials that have been recycled and repurposed.

EDM artists have also taken a postmodern approach to song structure and composition. They often make use of non-linear forms, such as loops and repeating motifs. This reflects the postmodern belief that reality is fragmented and discontinuous.

The postmodern influence on EDM has led to some very innovative and exciting music. If you’re interested in exploring this genre further, we recommend checking out the following artists: Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada, and Plaid.

Postmodernism in Electronic Dance Music

In recent years, postmodernism has become an increasingly prominent force in the world of electronic dance music (EDM).

Whereas the music of the early 1990s was characterized by a relatively unified style and sound, contemporary EDM is marked by a far greater diversity of styles and sounds. This is largely due to the fact that postmodernism has encouraged producers and DJs to experiment with a wide range of musical genres, influences, and textures.

As a result, contemporary EDM often contains elements of techno, house, trance, drum and bass, dubstep, and many other genres. This diversity of influences often makes it difficult to categorize contemporary EDM into a single genre or style.

While some purists may decry this lack of direction or focus, others see it as one of the most exciting aspects of postmodernism in electronic dance music. The freedom to experiment with different sounds and styles has resulted in some truly innovative and boundary-pushing music that is helping to shape the future of the genre.

The Future of Electronic Dance Music

In the past decade, electronic dance music (EDM) has become one of the most popular genres in the world. With its roots in disco and techno, EDM is characterized by its repetitive beats and synthesized sounds. But what many people don’t realize is that EDM is also shaped by postmodernism, a philosophical movement that began in the mid-20th century.

So what is postmodernism? In short, it’s a rejection of traditional values and conventions. Instead of seeing the world as having one objective reality, postmodernists believe that reality is subjective and constructed by our individual experiences. This way of thinking has influenced everything from architecture to fashion to, you guessed it, electronic dance music.

EDM producers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with sound, often creating songs that are more like soundscapes than traditional pop songs. This experimental approach is grounded in postmodernist principles, and it has helped to make EDM one of the most exciting and innovative genres around.

As EDM continues to grow in popularity, we can expect to see even more postmodernist influence in the music. So if you’re looking for something new and exciting, keep your eyes open for the next wave of postmodernist EDM!

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