Folktronica is a genre of music comprising various elements of folk music and electronica, often featuring uses of acoustic instruments – especially stringed instruments – and incorporating hip hop, electronic or dance rhythms, although it varies based on influences and choice of sounds.[verification needed] The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology describes folktronica as "a catch-all [term] for all manner of artists who have combined mechanical dance beats with elements of acoustic rock or folk."
Prior to the development of folktronica proper, turbo-folk, which developed in Yugoslavia in the 1980s, mixed local folk music with electronic genres like hip hop and Eurodance. The 1991 album Every Man and Woman is a Star by Ultramarine is credited as a progenitor of the genre; it featured a pastoral sound and incorporated traditional instruments such as violin and harmonica with techno and house elements. In the early 2000s, artists such as Four Tet, Isan, and Gravenhurst were lumped into a folktronica "scene" by the media and press. According to The Sunday Times Culture's Encyclopedia of Modern Music, essential albums of the genre are Four Tet's Pause (2001), Tunng's Mother's Daughter and Other Songs (2005), and Caribou's The Milk of Human Kindness (2005). American singer Madonna's ninth studio album American Life (2003) was heavily influenced by the genre and it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
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- Scott, Derek B., ed. (2016). The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7546-6476-5.
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- Arnold, Chuck (21 April 2018). "Madonna's 'American Life': Revisiting the Divisive Album 15 Years Later". Billboard. Retrieved 3 November 2020.