Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music, as of August 2019, has seen its first updates since 2001. First and foremost: what is Ishkur’s Guide, exactly? In a nutshell, Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music, first unleashed in 1999, provides a comprehensive, extraordinarily detailed and witty history of electronic dance music in an interactive format.
Ishkur’s (real name Kenneth John Taylor) writing style and hot takes bring a particularly fun element. From his marked dislike of UK Hardhouse, thoughts on the matter of Darkwave, or nostalgia-inducing easter eggs, there’s something everyone can appreciate.
Billboard’s Kat Bein points out that the Guide is missing a Future Bass section and considering the breakout mainstream popularity of the genre that is indeed an oversight. However, the earliest French experimental Musique Concrete, Moog-made compositions, Brostep, and Moombahton all have their spots, replete with short historical descriptive essays and respective example tracks.
I took particular joy in the UK Happy Hardcore sections. That was a HUGE deal when and where I grew up, for better or for worse. It’s also worth noting that the guide also provides an extensive analysis of Hip-Hop and Rap subgenres and their respective histories. Considering the inextricable relationship between Electronic music and Hip-Hop, this is a very important inclusion.
Finally, some food for thought. Historiography is defined as the study of historical writing, basically the history of writing history. Electronic music has a relatively short history compared to classical or other modern schools of music but has evolved and grown at an exponential rate. Ishkur, whether or not one agrees with his assessments of certain genres, has effectively put together a valuable source for discourse surrounding electronic music.
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