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Electronic body music

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Title: Electronic body music  
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Subject: Industrial music, Futurepop, Hardcore (electronic dance music genre), The EPs (Apoptygma Berzerk), Industrial dance
Collection: Electronic Body Music, Electronic Dance Music Genres, Industrial Music
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Electronic body music

Electronic body music (EBM) is a music genre that combines elements of post-industrial music and synthpunk.[1] It first came to prominence in Belgium[1] and was considered a part of the European New Wave movement.

Original electronic body music is sometimes referred to as old-school EBM and should not be confused with aggrotech, dark electro or industrial music.[2]


  • Origin of the term 1
  • Characteristics 2
  • History 3
    • 1981–1987 3.1
    • 1988–1993 3.2
    • Revival 3.3
  • Derivatives and Alternative terms 4
    • Electro-industrial 4.1
    • Industrial dance 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Origin of the term

The term electronic body music was coined by Ralf Hütter of the German electronic band Kraftwerk in 1978 to explain the more physical sound of their album The Man-Machine.[3] DAF from Germany used the term "Körpermusik" (body music) to describe their danceable electronic punk sound.[4] The term was later used in by Belgian band Front 242 in 1984 to describe the music of their EP of that year, No Comment.[5][6]


The clip illustrates some characteristics of the genre, such as beats, sequences and sampling (′beating on metal′).

A harsher variant of the genre, prevalent in Sweden (cf. Pouppée Fabrikk).

Problems playing these files? See .

From its inception, the style has been characterized by hard and often danceable electronic beats, clear undistorted or slightly electronically distorted vocals, shouts or Emulator II, Oberheim Matrix and Yamaha DX7.

Typical EBM rhythms are based on 4/4 beats, mainly with some minor syncopation to suggest a rock music rhythm structure.

Samples, e.g. metal rod, machine and alert sounds, are often used to create a "factory ambiance". Other samples include political speeches and excerpts from science fiction movies.



Emerging in the early 1980s, the genre draws heavily on the music of bands such as Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, DAF, Die Krupps,[7] Liaisons Dangereuses, Portion Control, and the danceable electropop of Kraftwerk. Archetypes of the genre are "Verschwende Deine Jugend" and "Mussolini" (DAF), "Wahre Arbeit, Wahrer Lohn" and "Augenblick" (Die Krupps), "Etre assis ou danser" and "El Macho y la Nena" (Liaisons Dangereuses), and "Body to Body" and "U-Men" (Front 242).

Front 242 characterized their approach as falling between The Neon Judgement,[10] à;GRUMH...,[11] and A Split-Second.[12] "The Invicible Spirit" - look for this band at


In the second half of the 1980s, the genre became popular in Canada (Front Line Assembly[13]) and the U.S. (Ministry,[14] Revolting Cocks,[15] Schnitt Acht[16]) as well as in Sweden (Inside Treatment, Pouppée Fabrikk, Cat Rapes Dog) and Japan (2nd Communication, DRP). North American bands started to use typical European EBM elements and combined them with the roughness of (hardcore) punk and thrash metal (cf. industrial metal). Nine Inch Nails continued the cross-pollination between EBM and rock music[17] resulting in the album Pretty Hate Machine (1989)."Plastic Noise Experiance" was formed in the end of 1989, look for this band at

Meanwhile, EBM became popular in the underground club scene, particularly in Europe. In this period the most important labels were the Belgian Play It Again Sam and Antler-Subway, the German Zoth Ommog, the North American Wax Trax! and the Swedish Energy Rekords. At the time, significant artists included And One,[18] Armageddon Dildos,[19] Bigod 20,[20] Insekt, and Attrition.[21] Der Prager Handgriff (German band)- Look for this band at The Eternal Afflict is a band from Germany. Belgian band "Insekt" -look for this band at

Between the early and the mid-1990s, many EBM artists split up, or changed their musical style, borrowing more distorted "industrial" elements or elements of rock or metal. The album Tyranny For You by EBM pioneers Front 242 initiated the end of the EBM epoch of the 1980s. Nitzer Ebb, one of the most important artists, became an alternative rock band. Without the strength of its figureheads, the original electronic body music faded by the mid-1990s. Orange Sector German band. Scapa Flow from Sweden.


In the late 1990s and after the millennium, Belgian, Swedish and German groups such as Ionic Vision, Tyske Ludder, and Spetsnaz[22] had reactivated the style. In the same time period, a number of artists from the European techno scene started including more elements of EBM in their sound. This tendency grew in parallel with the emerging electroclash scene and, as that scene started to decline, a number of artists associated with it, such as The Hacker, DJ Hell,[23] Green Velvet, and Black Strobe,[24] moved towards this techno/EBM crossover style. There has been increasing convergence between this scene and the old school EBM scene. Bands and artists have remixed each other. Most notably, Terence Fixmer joined with Nitzer Ebb's Douglas McCarthy to form Fixmer/McCarthy.[25]

Derivatives and Alternative terms


Electro-industrial is an outgrowth of the EBM and industrial music that developed in the mid-1980s. While EBM has a minimal structure and clean production, electro-industrial has a deep, complex and layered sound, incorporating elements of ambient industrial. The style was pioneered by Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Ministry and Front Line Assembly. In the early '90s, the style spawned the dark electro genre, and in the end of the decade a strongly techno- and hard-trance-inspired style called "hellectro" or "aggrotech".

Industrial dance

Industrial dance is a North American alternative term for electronic body music and electro-industrial music. Fans associated with this music scene call themselves rivetheads.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dan Sicko, Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk, Billboard Books, 1999, p. 142.
  2. ^
  3. ^ (2007-11-25) Klein, MJ WSKU Radio (Kent - Ohio) - Ralf Hütter - 19/06/1978 (retrieved on 2008-01-28)
  4. ^ Uncle Dave Lewis, D.A.F. bio, Allmusic. [1] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  5. ^ (2004-06-20) Monsoon, Jon EBM - A revolution in progress (retrieved on 2007-08-03)
  6. ^ a b Ernie Rideout, interview with Front 242, Keyboard Presents the Best of the '80s, Backbeat, 2008, p. 57.
  7. ^ Release Magazine: Die Krupps - Too Much History
  8. ^ Ned Raggett, That Total Age review, Allmusic. [2] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  9. ^ Ned Raggett, Die Kleinen und die Bösen review, Allmusic. [3] Access date: October 7, 2008.
  10. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( Neon Judgement > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  11. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( à;GRUMH... > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  12. ^ Huey, Steve. "((( A Split Second > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  13. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "((( Front Line Assembly > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  14. ^ "... this album probably owes more to Front 242 than anything." Alan Esher, Twitch review, Allmusic. [4] Access date: March 11, 2009.
  15. ^ Jeffries, David. "((( Revolting Cocks > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  16. ^ "((( Subhuman Minds > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  17. ^ Huey, Steve (1965-05-17). "((( Nine Inch Nails > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  18. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "((( And One > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  19. ^ McDonald, Steven (1993-08-10). "((( Homicidal Dolls > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  20. ^ Bush, John. "((( Bigod 20 > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  21. ^ by MacKenzie Wilson. "((( Attrition > Biography )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  22. ^ Vorndran, Daniela: Spetsnaz, Reflections of Darkness: A Dark Music webzine, March 6, 2006.
  23. ^ Theakston, Rob (2002-11-26). "((( Electronicbody-Housemusic > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  24. ^ Kellman, Andy (2004-06-01). "((( Chemical Sweet Girl > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  25. ^ "Music | CD Reviews". Gothtronic. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 

External links

  • "20 best: industrial & EBM." Fact magazine article.
  • "Electronic body music on Avant-Avant"
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