Mojodojo Media

 

 

Rise of popular electronic music

 

In the late 1960s, pop and rock musicians, including The Beach Boys and The Beatles, began to use electronic instruments, like the theremin and Mellotron, to supplement and define their sound. By the end of the decade, the Moogsynthesizer took a leading place in the sound of emerging progressive rock with bands including Pink Floyd, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Genesis making them part of their sound. Instrumental prog rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, andFaust to circumvent the language barrier.

 

 

Their synthesiser-heavy "Kraut rock", along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synth rock. Electronic rock was also produced by several Japanese musicians, including Isao Tomita's Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock (1972), which featured Moog synthesizer renditions of contemporary pop and rock songs, and Osamu Kitajima's progressive rock album Benzaiten (1974). The mid-1970s saw the rise of electronic art musicmusicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tomita, who with Brian Eno were a significant influence on the development of New Age Music.

After the arrival of punk rock, a form of basic synth rock emerged, increasingly using new digital technology to replace other instruments. Pioneering bands included Ultravox with their 1977 single "Hiroshima Mon Amour", Yellow Magic Orchestra from Japan, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, The Human League,Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Tubeway Army from the UK, and Devo from the US. Yellow Magic Orchestra in particular helped pioneer synthpop with their self-titled album (1978) and Solid State Survivor (1979). The definition of MIDI and the development of digital audio made the development of purely electronic sounds much easier.These developments led to the growth of synthpop, which after it was adopted by the New Romantic movement, allowed synthesizers to dominate the pop and rock music of the early 80s. Key acts included Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, A Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, Talk Talk, Japan and the Eurythmics. Synthpop sometimes used synthesizers to replace all other instruments, until the style began to fall from popularity in the mid-1980s.