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Electro music, also called electro funk, is essentially electronic music that fits into the hip hop genre. This type of music is characterized by electronic sounds as well as the deadpan delivery of any included vocals. When vocals are included, they are made to sound very mechanical. Often, this effect is produced using a vocoder or another type of instrument capable of creating appealing electronic distortion. Speech synthesis is also used in this type of music, creating robotic-sounding lyrics.
Electro music is typically defined, though there are some exceptions, by the use of drum machines. In this type of music, drums are used to provide rhythmic base. The rhythmic patterns produced are frequently similar to breakbeats and incorporate syncopated kick drums. Snares and claps are often used as well, accenting downbeats. This type of music is produced using synthesizers, computers, signal processors, and flutes. It is worth noting that virtually anything capable of producing sound can be used in making electro music, including traditional orchestras.
Many listeners are most familiar with electro music that has a very quick tempo. However, this music doesn't always fit into that category. Electro music can be fast, upbeat, slow, rhythmic, slow or even spacey. Many fit this type of music into one category. However, it is important to note that electro music can cross many different genres.
One of the first records in this genre was Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic force. Released in 1982, it is credited not only with being he first electro funk song, but it is also recognized as one of the most music-changing rap songs. It wasn't a mega-hit in North America and the United Kingdom. However, it is said to have greatly influenced dance music and hip hop.
Electro music was most popular in the early 1980s. By most accounts, these were the days of its musical reign. However, it did see a comeback in the late 1990s via Mr. Velcro Fastener, DMX Krew, and Dave Clarke as well as others. A new type of electro music is growing in popularity in places like Finland and Sweden. This music has been branded Scandinavian Funk or Skweee. However, the popularity of this type of music hasn't spread to other countries so far.