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Stylistic origins: New wave, Gothic rock, Synthpop, Neofolk, Neo-Classical, Industrial
Cultural origins: Late 1970s / early 1980s Europe (most notably, England, Germany, France and Italy).
Typical instruments: Guitar, Bass, Drums, Synthesizers, Flutes
Mainstream popularity: Small to medium
Derivative forms: Death pop, Ethereal

Darkwave is a generic term which refers to an 1980s movement that coincided with the popularity of new wave. Building upon the basic principles of new wave, darkwave evolved through the addition of dark, thoughtful lyrics and an undertone of sorrow.


In the 1980s

The first usage of the term appears to have been in the 1980s, to describe the dark variant of New wave music (dark synthpop, gothic rock or the French coldwave) and refers to the dark/moody electronic music of bands like Anne Clark, Gary Numan, Fad Gadget, Psyche and Depeche Mode or the early gothic rock and guitar bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Clan Of Xymox.

In the 1990s

In the early 1990s, Darkwave was used to describe the music of bands like Das Ich, Deine Lakaien, Lacrimosa, Diary of Dreams, The Frozen Autumn and others. These Bands were inspired by the Wave music from the 1980s.

Shortly after, in the United States the term "darkwave" became associated with the late Wave music produced on the Projekt records label because it was used as the name of their printed catalog.

The Projekt label carried bands such as Lycia, black tape for a blue girl and Love Spirals Downwards, all characterized by slow, moody ethereal female vocals, with a strong Cocteau Twins influence (something like the neo-classical music of Dead Can Dance). This sense of the term Darkwave would also apply to similar music (e.g. neofolk) from other labels carrying similar work (e.g. World Serpent and Middle Pillar).


Joy Division - Closer (1980)
The Cure - Pornography (1982)
Depeche Mode - Black Celebration (1986)
Clan Of Xymox - Medusa (1986)
Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss (1987)
Psyche - The Influence (1989)
Comsat Angels (Dream Command) - Fire On The Moon (1990)

See also

Home | Up | Darkwave | Mod Revival | New Romantic | New wave of new wave

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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