by Ayanna Jacobs-El
What do you think about when you hear the words electronic dance music (EDM)? You are probably thinking about a lot of things, like partying, summer festivals, bright lights, and huge drops, but I’m pretty sure you didn’t think about jazz music. A number of EDM artists have actually been combining these two seemingly unrelated genres to make electronic music that breaks down the conventional EDM song structure.
Tennyson is a Canadian-brother and sister duo made up of Luke Pretty (production, keyboards) and Tess Pretty (drums, percussion). These young artists are currently amassing a healthy following and selling out shows across the USA. Their primarily instrumental music meanders through musical territory that the listener wouldn’t expect. One of their most popular songs, “Lay-By,” creatively utilizes a car seatbelt warning tone as a loop throughout the song. The song starts out pretty mellow with a lush chord progression and a bubbly synth lead setting up a relaxing musical environment. The song continues to grow until out of nowhere a jazzy breakdown and Luke’s soulful synth solo is introduced. “Lay-By” is definitely a musical treat and the same distinctive approach can be found throughout all of their songs.
Another artist I enjoy who blends jazz, EDM, and also classical is Haywyre. The artist behind the project is Martin Vogt, who has an extensive background in piano performance and improvisation. His astounding proficiency in both of these areas definitely comes across in his virtuosic songs. The music takes the listener on a musical journey that could evolve at any moment. One of my favorite tracks of his is “Insight.” His superb production skills, compositional talent, and piano training are all showcased throughout. In “Insight,” Haywyre lays out smooth and funky grooves that shift to the massive builds characteristic of the EDM genre and reach soaring and melodic climaxes. He also posts incredible videos of him performing his songs live on Youtube, and he went viral with his video of him performing his remix of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”
20-year old Scottish producer and DJ Sam Gellaitry creates experimental music that employs unusual instrumentation and unpredictable rhythms. The way that he combines trap-influenced production with melodically and harmonically rich ideas makes him music really stand out at as an artist. I like mostly everything he releases but a good place to start is with his song called “DREAMSCAPES.” With this track, you can really get a sense of just how eclectic Sam Gellaitry’s music really is.
Producers Medasin, JR Jarris, and multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer Masego teamed up to work on a few tracks that perfectly represent jazzy EDM. On Masego’s website, he calls his unique type of music “Trap House Jazz.” One of my favorite songs from their collaboration is “Love Be Like.” The track features smooth saxophone lines interlaced with captivating synths and catchy vocals.
The artists mentioned in this article are just a small sampling of those out there currently blending the Jazz and EDM genres. A few others to consider are Point Point, Decap, Brasstracks, Aaron London, GEOTHEORY, Big Gigantic, and Lido. I have also created a playlist featuring songs that blend jazz and electronic music so take a listen and let your musical journey begin!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ARTISTS YOU LIKE THAT BLEND JAZZ AND EDM? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!