The technology used in the production of music is always changing, and since the advent of the internet the rate of change has increased exponentially. Here is a look at just a few current trends in music production technology – their sound and their impact on the wider world of music.
Big Room House and the Rise of EDM
Despite a central role in creating it, America has never really experienced such a demand for dance music as it has in recent years, with festivals springing up from nowhere and stadium shows rammed to capacity.
Artists such as Swedish House Mafia, Eric Prydz and David Guetta have collectively provided or added to the blueprint of what’s come to be known as big room house and, to a larger extent, the umbrella genre of Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Typically, this consists of an archetypical four-on-the-floor or unaccented 4/4 dance beat with sharp melodic voices and a verse/chorus structure owing much to established pop styles.
The eclectic and unpredictable sound palette of popular EDM means that many newcomers are turning to digital audio workstation (DAW) software for the flexibility and ease of sampling such an approach can offer.
One of the lesser-known recent trends in music technology, especially amongst producers and musicians, is bespoke or home-made speakers or sound solutions. Re-amping, the process of sending tracks through amplifiers or effects and re-recording the result, can be a great technique, and re-amping through a custom amplifier can provide a unique and inimitable sound.
Even producers of amp components such as toroidal transformers like Siga Transformers have noted a rise in demand in recent years.
Return of the Synths
Though the continued existence of sites such as http://www.vintagesynth.com/ is proof of the ongoing appeal of hardware synthesisers and drum machines, the last few years have seen a resurgence of synth love for both vintage and new machines. This trend has had the twofold effect of driving up the price of classic (and not so classic) synths as well as leading to the production of brand new machines such as Roland’s Aira range.
Even modular synthesisers, the modern synths’ weird older brothers, have seen a smaller spike in popularity recently, with companies such as Doepfer and Moog offering an expanded range of modules and modular or part-modular set-ups.