The Land of Obscure Music

It is music that can create different portals and world we can escape to. Dive into the world of various musical sub-genres that push aside the status quo. Music has always been made best through the eyes of questioning. Through the nostalgic and experimental sounds of “Hypnagogic Pop”, “Simpson Wave”, “Glitch hop”, and “Lowercase Music” one can learn the true essence of music altering procedures.

The world of obscure music: I have never met a person that hated music. However, in my humble musical opinion: the weirder, the better.

What brings my musical mind into a cornucopia of happiness and inspiration is when music has been tampered and reconstructed into a world of experimental energy.

It is my idea that music (as many other creative entities do) should dismantle the musical status quo.

The generic pop implications we endure through the mainstream sounds of radio are constantly boxed, unable to weave out of the mechanical music machine it is created in.

Through a musician’s lens, music should be painted with obscurity. Musical implications that are not clearly understood or expressed, gives room for interpretation.

As genres have been clearly presented to the masses, many offspring called sub-genres form with experimental precision.

From obscurity, genres such as ‘Hypnagogic Pop’, ‘Simpson Wave’, ‘Glitch Hop’ and ‘Lowercase Music’ present a fresh interpretation within musical reality.


Hypnagogic Pop

Emerging from the nostalgic grave of the late 2000s, Hypnagogic Music, in essence, derived from the psychedelic pop scene with a heavy focus on the music and pop culture of the 1970s-1990s.

Through musical synthetic implication of hazy lo-fi, to the 1970s’ grainy texture of synth rock, the genre does not copy or recreate the pop music of the past.

It views the genre in a revivalist approach to modern experimental music.

Some individuals of the sub-genre of music deem a prominent influence pulled from the new wave and radio pop sounds of the 1980s.

Journalist, David Keenan, coined the name in an August article of a British music magazine, The Wire, in 2009.

The article describes the obscure genre as a developing music trend that centres on subjective memory.

Mirroring the same implications as Chill Wave, artists such as American Musician Ariel Pink and James Ferraro have been defined as creating modern psychedelic music with a strong relationship with the British sub-genre Hauntology

The response of the article caused an uproar within the music community as many believed that the genre was the worst genre created by a journalist.

It even affected artists of similar genres and interests, resulting in the disassociation of the contributions to the sub-genre. However, the genre continued to expand over the years.

The micro genre of electronic musical proportions, Vapor Wave, is essentially the same thing.

Throughout the years, the music subculture continues to expand and create a following eager for the vintage sounds of the 80s and 90s.

Listen to Burned Out Love by Ariel Pink Now


Simpson Wave

Based on the highly famous 1989 American cartoon, The Simpsons, Simpson Wave is a genre of YouTube videos that incorporate the funny cartoon with the sounds of Vapor Wave.

Arranged in a foggy, psychological and psychedelic atmosphere, synths along with vintage saxophones and electronic drum machines will take over your eardrums with an ambient experience.

YouTuber, FrankJayCee conducted a how-to video describing the creation of Simpson Wave videos.

From there, the genre created a world of its own. The idea of a sub-genre that sparks from an already existing sub-genre with the essence of an animated cartoon, entices me.

This notion, lends to the idea that many different forms of art can bleed together in a creative and innovative way.


Glitch Hop

Who knew that failure through technology could cause a whole genre? Glitching into the music scene, Glitch Music is a genre of electronic music that is created by malfunctions of audio recording devices.

Situations such as CD skipping, digital or analog distortion, and bit-rate reduction, become a focal point for all thins music.

With the basis of Noise Music and the essence of Glitch Music, Glitch Hop is a similar design, but it takes a more urban approach. In 1997, American hip-hop producer, ‘Push Button Objects’, shaped the genre

A few years later, Glitch Hop gained popularity from labels such as Warp Records and Merck Records.

Its popularity would begin to decline in the late 2000s however; it recovered again through the electronic stylings of EDM and Dubstep.

Artists such as David Tipper, KOAN Sound and GRIZ continue to keep the obscure genre alive.


Lowercase Music

Made from the land of ambient music: Los Angeles, California, Lowercase Music is an extreme form of tone and atmosphere of minimalism. Unheard sounds purely amplified at a higher level.

Artist Steve Roden captivates this sub-genre of musical obscurity in the album Forms of Paper, in which the artist made a recording of him handling paper in various ways.

The ASMR style music captivates with tranquility and easy by the stress to a calm simmer.

For some, these intricate sounds of an Avant Garde behaviour, may seem a bit strange at first. However, it is through music where comfortability meets peace in the world of transformation.

We use music as an escape from the troubles of our lives, or enhance the happiness in the room, but can we as listeners allow and invite experimentation from the artist?

From the artist’s perspective, musical influence is constantly evolving and changing. To fit into a normative music standard, would only bore them and or shrink their freedom to reinvent their sound.

So, when you are in the mood to expand your musical horizon, embark into the world of sub-genres.

It is safe to say, that music listeners can find a strong appreciation for heavily experimental and obscure music.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

Dive into more of our music collection here:

Music Can Repair the Mind

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