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This Month in Electronic Music History, Vol 5: July

the word electronic with genres in background

The electronic music we know today has evolved immensely since its beginnings, even after it broke into the mainstream in recent years. Learning about the history of some of our favorite genres, artists, events, and labels helps us to understand and fully appreciate the growth of our scene, as there’s always something new to learn and subjects to dive deeper into. We delve into our fifth volume of that education, as we celebrate some iconic labels and songs from the month of July.

Events in History, July 2007: mau5trap is born

It all originally starts in June 2007, when Joel Zimmerman aka deadmau5 wanted to create a something new for similar, like-minded musicians. Previously signed to Play Records in 2006 for the release of his only album on the label Vexillology, the founding of of this new label began the start of an era. In July 2007, the iconic label we know today as mau5trap was born.

Since then, deadmau5 has been releasing his albums through the label, including some of his most popular albums Random Album Title and 4 x 4 = 12. The first release off mau5trap was deadmau5’s tracks Not Exactly and We Fail on August 28, 2007. Not Exactly was also the first single off Random Album TitleYou can view all of the releases by mau5trap since its initial beginnings on the label’s website!

In 2013, mau5trap partnered with the label Astralwerks, a branch of Universal Music Group, which has released tracks from artists like Empire of the Sun, Porter Robinson, Swedish House Mafia, and more. Deadmau5, always been vocal of his independence, valued the lack of commercialism in his music, causing a rift between himself and Universal Music Group. In October 2015, mau5trap became a solely independent label after going through the music rights company, Kobalt.

Mau5trap may be a smaller label, but the quality of artists over the years is not something to ignore. Current artists include some of our favorites, such as REZZ, Blackgummy, ATTLAS, Feed Me, and more! The label also celebrated its birthday accordingly with a 10th anniversary show on July 21st in Toronto, featuring artists from the label including, deadmau5, REZZ, Blackgummy, ATTLAS, Matt Lange, and Monstergetdown.

There are a vast amount of additional memorable artists that were on the label at one point. Some examples include Skrillex’s monumental album Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,  Excision’s X Rated LP, Noisia’s special edition album of Split the Atom, Chris Lake’s Sleepwalker, and more! In celebration of their 10th anniversary, mau5trap released a compilation of various tracks through the label. Check it out below!

Songs in History, July 1994: The Prodigy makes it big

Music is more than just the beat—it’s full of heart, passion, and often times, a message. In 1994, the UK and European club and rave scene was expanding vastly in the mainstream, making it much harder to ignore. Many today grumble at the poppy styles of modern EDM, and this was no different in its earliest beginnings.

It started initially with the passing of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994. The goal of the bill was to enforce and minimize “anti-social” behaviors, and raves were certainly in the crossfire. Iconic heavy-hitting electronic music group, The Prodigy, responded to these changes in the rave scene with their 1994 album, Music for the Jilted Generation.

The album had an IDGAF attitude, and as THUMP described it, was “about dragging the music back into the fist-pumping, chant-along experience of rock music.” Many perceived the track Their Law, with the sample “f*** ’em and their law,” as a stance against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. As the album title insinuates, Music for the Jilted Generation was a way to branch out from the mainstream habits evolving in the early electronic music scene. It strayed away from the American-influenced acid house of the time, toward a unique take on heavier British breakbeat techno and drum n’ bass.

Other vital tracks off the album, such as Charly and Everybody in the Place, were monumental in shaping the electronic music scene today. That heavy, hard-hitting, gritty, and somewhat-robotic in-your-face bass is a staple sound in many of the bass artists we hear today, demonstrated by the massive riffs and harsh drops featured in tracks by artists from Pendulum, Skrillex, Excision, Black Tiger Sex Machine, and more. The Prodigy certainly paved the way for the styles we know and love today.

What are some of your favorite artists and/or tracks off mau5trap? Do you have a favorite track off The Prodigy’s Music for the Jilted Generation? Are there any topics you think we should delve into for future editions of “This Month in Electronic Music History?” Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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