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Stylistic origins Indie rock, electronica, new wave, synthpop, IDM, neo-psychedelia, dream pop, alternative dance, electro, trip hop, dub, ambient techno
Cultural origins 1990s, United Kingdom and Germany
Typical instruments Vocals, keyboard, synthesizer, sampler, drum machine

Indietronica (also called Indie electronic) is a music genre that combines indie, electronica, rock and pop music.[1] Typical instruments used in indietronica music are the electronic keyboard, synthesizer, sampler, software synthesizer, MIDI controller, and drum machine. It is also closely related to the relatively less electronic and more acoustic Chillwave (glo-fi) movement.


Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab playing a Moog synthesizer during a live performance

Important early precedents include "the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Krautrock, synth pop, and dance music by using synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and computer programs".[2] As a musical style psychedelic rock attempted to replicate the effects and enhance the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs, incorporating new electronic and record effects which included elaborate studio effects, such as backwards tapes, panning, phasing, long delay loops, and extreme reverb;[3] a strong keyboard presence, especially organs, harpsichords, or the Mellotron (an early tape-driven 'sampler');[4] and primitive electronic instruments such as synthesizers and the theremin;.[5][6] In the late sixties there appeared pioneering psychedelic rock acts which incorporated electronic sounds as a central musical approach to their music such as the Silver Apples, Fifty Foot Hose and The United States of America. Some bands moved away from their psychedelic roots and placed increasing emphasis on electronic experimentation and so German bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can and Faust developed a distinctive brand of electronic rock, known as kosmische musik, or in the British press as "Kraut rock".[7] The adoption of electronic synthesisers, pioneered by Popol Vuh from 1970, together with the work of figures like Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synth rock.[8] In Japan, Osamu Kitajima's 1974 psychedelic rock album Benzaiten utilized electronic equipment such as a synthesizer and drum machine, and one of the record's contributors was Haruomi Hosono,[9] who later started the electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (as "Yellow Magic Band") in 1977.[10]

Indie electronic began in the early 1990s, with bands like Stereolab and Disco Inferno, and took off in the new millennium as new digital technology developed, and music creation tools became more widely available. Stereolab's music combines a droning rock sound with lounge instrumentals, overlaid with sing-song female vocals and pop melodies. Their records are heavily influenced by the motorik technique of 1970s krautrock groups such as Neu! and Faust.[11] Tim Gane has supported the comparison: "Neu! did minimalism and drones, but in a very pop way."[12] This included acts such as Broadcast from the UK, Justice from France, Lali Puna from Germany, and The Postal Service and Ratatat from the US, who mixed a variety of indie sounds with electronic music. These were largely produced on small independent labels.[2] In the case of Broadcast they are heavily influenced by the 1960s American psychedelic group The United States of America,[13] using many of the same electronic effects.

Notable artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indie electronic" at
  2. ^ a b "Indie Electronic", Allmusic, archived from the original on 16 February 2011 .
  3. ^ S. Borthwick and R. Moy, Popular Music Genres: an Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), ISBN 0-7486-1745-0, pp. 52-4.
  4. ^ D. W. Marshall, Mass Market Medieval: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture (Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2007), ISBN 0-7864-2922-4, p. 32.
  5. ^ J. DeRogatis, Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Milwaukie, Michigan: Hal Leonard, 2003), ISBN 0-634-05548-8, p. 230.
  6. ^ R. Unterberger, Samb Hicks, Jennifer Dempsey, "Music USA: the Rough Guide", (Rough Guides, 1999), ISBN 1-85828-421-X, p. 391.
  7. ^ P. Bussy, Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (London: SAF, 3rd end., 2004), ISBN 0-946719-70-5, pp. 15-17.
  8. ^ V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All Music Guide to Rock: the Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), ISBN 0-87930-653-X, pp. 1330-1.
  9. ^ "Osamu Kitajima: Benzaiten", Discogs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Harry Hosono And The Yellow Magic Band: Paraiso", Discogs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  11. ^ Klein (2001); Shapiro (1996)
  12. ^ Reynolds (1996)
  13. ^ "MUSIC: Alice Through The Test Card".