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An electroclash track example. Note the bass at 0:15 and the rich synth sound at 0:45.

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Electroclash, also known as retro electro, tech pop, nouveau disco, the new new wave[3] – and ambiguously both synthcore and electropunk[6] – is a genre of music that fuses 1980s electro, new wave and synthpop with 1990s techno, retro-style electropop and electronic dance music.[4][7][8] It emerged in New York and Detroit in the later 1990s, pioneered by acts including Collider, I-F and those associated with Gerald Donald, and is associated with acts including Peaches, Adult,[9] Legowelt,[9] and Fischerspooner.[9] It was popularised by the Electroclash Festival in 2001 and 2002 and subsequent European tours, but faded as a distinctive style in the early 2000s, when it was fused with tech house to form the electro house genre.[10]

Terminology and characteristics[edit]

The term electroclash was coined by New York DJ and promoter Larry Tee[7][8] to describe music that combined synthpop, techno, punk and performance art. The genre was in reaction to the rigid formulations of techno music, putting an emphasis on song writing, showmanship and a sense of humour,[4] described by The Guardian as one of "the two most significant upheavals in recent dance music history".[11] The visual aesthetic of electroclash has been associated with the 1982 cult film Liquid Sky.[12]


Electroclash emerged in New York at the end of the 1990s. It was pioneered by I-F with their 1997 track "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass"[4][13] (which, "introducing old-fashioned verse-chorus dynamics to burbling electro in a vocodered homage to Atari-era hi-jinks," is the "record widely credited with catalysing" the electroclash movement),[4] as well as Collider with their 1998 album Blowing Shit Up (though Collider called its own style "electropunk" as the genre had not yet been named).[6] The style was pursued by artists including Felix da Housecat,[14] Peaches and Chicks on Speed.[15] During the early years, Ladytron were sometimes labeled as electroclash, but they rejected this tag.[16] Goldfrapp's albums Black Cherry (2003) and Supernature (2005) incorporated electroclash influences.[17][18]

It came to media attention in 2001, when the Electroclash Festival was held in New York.[19] The Electroclash Festival was held again in 2002 with subsequent live tours across the US and Europe in 2003 and then 2004. Other notable artists who performed at the festivals and subsequent tours include: Scissor Sisters, ADULT., Fischerspooner, Erol Alkan, Princess Superstar, Mignon, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, Mount Sims, Tiga and Spalding Rockwell. The style spread to scenes in London and Berlin, but rapidly faded as a recognisable genre as acts began to experiment with a variety of forms of music.[20][21]

Popularity chart[edit]

Successful records from the electroclash movement include:

Year Song Label Artist UK
UK Dance
2001 "Silver Screen Shower Scene" City Rockers Felix da Housecat featuring Miss Kittin #39 #2
"Emerge" Capitol Fischerspooner #25
2002 "Set It Off" Kitty-Yo Peaches #36
"Sunglasses at Night" City Rockers Tiga and Zyntherius #25
"Rippin Kittin" Zomba Records Golden Boy with Miss Kittin #67 #1


  1. ^ David Madden (2012). "Crossdressing to Backbeats: The Status of the Electroclash Producer and the Politics of Electronic Music". Retrieved January 3, 2015. Electroclash combines the extended pulsing sections of techno, house and other dance musics with the trashier energy of rock and new wave. 
  2. ^ a b Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Carpenter, Susan (August 6, 2002). "Electro-clash builds on '80s techno beat". The Spectator. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e D. Lynskey (22 March 2002). "Out with the old, in with the older". Guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011 
  5. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Go to Berliniamsburg, the Brooklyn club at the epicentre of New York's eighties-inspired 'electroclash' scene, and you feel a peculiar sensation: it's not exactly like time travel, more like you've stepped into a parallel universe, an alternative history scenario where rave never happened. 
  6. ^ a b Potter, Josh (3 November 2011). "Walking Mix Tape". Metroland. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b The Electroclash Mix by Larry Tee | Music Review | Entertainment Weekly
  8. ^ a b Larry Tee Biography on Yahoo! Music
  9. ^ a b c Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Electro House". Tumblr. Retrieved 12 June 2012. It was in the early 2000s when a big movement of electroclash being mixed with synthpop. Meanwhile, tech house was also becoming more known and gaining some serious buzz. When the two were combined that is when Electro House came to be the way it is now. ... 'Satisfaction' was one of those songs that people would have stuck in their head for days. This song still continues to receive a lot of attention even now. It won world wide rewards as well as make Benny Benassi the father of Electro House. 
  11. ^ "The female techno takeover", The Guardian, May 24, 2008
  12. ^ "The Great Electroclash Swindle". Retrieved August 10, 2008.
  13. ^ "I-f – Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass". Discogs. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  14. ^ M. Goldstein (22 March 2002). "This cat is housebroken". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011 .
  15. ^ J. Walker (5 October 2002). "Popmatters concert review: ELECTROCLASH 2002 Artists: Peaches, Chicks on Speed, W.I.T., and Tracy and the Plastics". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011 .
  16. ^ Ladytron rejected the electroclash tag
  17. ^ Phares, Heather. "Black Cherry – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Oculicz, Edward (23 August 2005). "Goldfrapp – Supernature". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Quinnon, Michael: "Electroclash". World Wide Words, 2002
  20. ^ Harris, John (2009). Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll: The Ultimate Guide to the Music, the Myths and the Madness. Sphere. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-84744-293-2. 
  21. ^ "So-cool U.K. quartet Ladytron brings electro-pop to Gothic.
  22. ^ Search song on EveryHit.com database

External links[edit]

See also[edit]