Industrial music comprises many styles of experimental music, including many forms of electronic music. The term was coined in the mid-1970s to describe Industrial Records artists. Since then, a wide variety of labels and artists have come to be called "industrial."
The Allmusic website defines industrial as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music [...] initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments (tape music, musique concrète, white noise, synthesizers (pictured), sequencers, etc.) and punk provocation".
The first industrial artists experimented with noise and controversial topics. Their production was not limited to music, but included mail art, performance art, installation pieces and other art forms. Prominent industrial musicians include Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Boyd Rice, SPK, and Z'EV. While the term initially referred to musicians signed to Industrial Records, it broadened to include artists influenced by the original movement or using an "industrial" aesthetic.
Industrial rock is a musical genre that fuses industrial music and specific rock subgenres, mainly punk rock and hard rock. Industrial rock spawned industrial metal, with which it is often confused. The early fusions of industrial music and rock were practiced by a handful of post-punk groups, including Chrome, Killing Joke (pictured), the Swans, and Big Black.
Industrial rock artists generally employ the basic rock instrumentation of electric guitars, drums and bass and pair it with white noise blasts, electronic music gear (synthesizers, sequencers, samplers and drum machines). Guitars are commonly heavily distorted or otherwise effected. Bass guitars and drums may be played live, or be replaced by electronic musical instruments or computers in general. Industrial rock frequently incorporates the sounds of machinery and industry. This sound palette was pioneered by early 1980s artists (SPK, Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Krupps and Test Dept), who relied heavily on metal percussion, generally made with pipes, tubes and other products of industrial waste.
Merzbow (メルツバウ Merutsubau) is a japanoise project created in Tokyo, Japan in 1979 under the direction of noise technician Masami Akita (秋田 昌美 Akita Masami). Since 1979, he has formed two record labels and has contributed releases to numerous independent record labels. As well as being a prolific artist, he has also written a number of books and has been the editor of several magazines in Japan. He has written about a variety of subjects, mostly about art, avant-garde and post-modern culture. The name "Merzbow" comes from German artist Kurt Schwitters' artwork, Merzbau. This was decided upon to reflect Akita's dada influence and junk-art aesthetic. In addition to this, Akita has cited a wide range of influences from various progressive rock artists such as Frank Zappa and King Crimson to Japanese bondage.
Musique concrète, Fluxus movement, Performance art, Electronic music, Krautrock, Noise music, Post-punk
Ambient industrial, EBM, Electro-industrial, Glitch, Industrial metal, Industrial rock, IDM, Martial Industrial,
List of industrial bands, List of noise musicians, Post-industrial music and related fusion genres