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Alternative dance

Music Sound

Alternative dance

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Alternative dance (known primarily as indie dance in the United Kingdom) is a term used for the genre of music combining elements of dance-pop (or other forms of electronic dance music such as house or techno) and alternative rock genres such as indie pop. Alternative dance music is typically predominantly electronic, with programmed beats from drum machines or sampled drum loops and sequenced synthesizer melodies, and thus musically very similar to commercial dance-pop. The indie element is most prevalent in the songwriting; unlike much dance music, alternative dance typically contains lyrics, and, as in indie pop or indie rock, these are often more thematically complex and/or less polished than those of commercial pop.

It could be argued that the seeds of alternative dance were sewn when New Order, inspired by Kraftwerk and the New York club scene, started combining sequenced electronic elements with their often dark and uncommercial lyrics. (Their best-selling single, "Blue Monday," is a prime example of this.) Other Manchester bands, such as the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays continued the tradition of combining traditionally guitar-based indie music with electronic instrumentation and production; this culminated in the Madchester scene.

Alternative dance gained in popularity after the Second Summer of Love, when the sounds of Acid House music had filtered through to and influenced the sounds of chart pop. Various people from an indie background soon adapted the equipment and techniques of dance-pop, combining it with a more astute and less populistic songwriting sensibility. Well-known examples of this movement include Saint Etienne and Dubstar.

As both the financial costs and levels of musical virtuosity required to make passable-sounding electronic music drop under the influence of technological improvements, and people who grew up listening to electronic pop take up music, the electronic style epitomised by alternative dance is increasingly becoming the mainstream of independent music, with the once dominant guitar-based form of pop that dominated low-budget independent recordings now becoming just another subgenre.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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