Dance nerds, rejoice. Iskur has updated his definitive electronic music genre guide for the first time in 18 years. Brostep, trap, moombahton and Dutch house all have their digital day — and uh, Pendulum is its own genre?
Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music is an interactive, online flow chart map created by Kenneth John Taylor, aka Ishkur. It covers more than 100 subgenres of beat-freakin’ bleep bloops and gives examples for most. It launched in 1999, covering the dance timeline from experimental music of the early 1900s to the progressive splintered sounds of house, techno, hardcore, garage and bass music until its last official update in 2001.
In 2001, “EDM” wasn’t even a twinkle in a marketing executive’s eye. It was a year before Eminem pronounced that “nobody listens to techno,” and that was pretty much a catch-all term for all things synthy with a heavy bpm. Sometimes savy ravers talked about house and disco and electronica, but these were dark days when, despite a few breakout eurotrash hits and French touch crossovers, most Americans thought listening to “techno” was to commit musical suicide.
A lot has changed in 18 years. Dance music fused with punk and metal, crossed over into pop and hip-hop three-times over. It became a mainstream phenomenon, has dipped its toes in the twangy sounds of country, and its festival culture has become a sort of college-age rite of passage.
Ishkur announced he’d update the list back in 2016, but the project slowed down due to whatever real-life stuff happens to human beings in the late 2010s, and today, we’re finally blessed with Ishkur’s 3.0, a definitive guide to modern dance music. We’ve got neo trance, we’ve got glitch house, and we’ve got “filthy electrohouse,” which is basically what a lot of people would call bloghouse from the late aughts.
However, what we don’t have anywhere on the map is future bass, which — thanks to acts including Flume, Cashmere Cat and San Holo — is absolutely one of the most influential and overblown dance music genres of the last five years. So — back to the drawing board, Ishkur?
Whether you agree with the map or not, it’s hours of fun for any music nerd to explore. Zoom in on the map to click on sonic examples of each subgenre from each year on the timeline. Visit Ishkur’s guide online when you’ve got the time, and happy hunting.