Electronic dance music guide

For two weekends, Ultra Music Festival attendees rage away for hours on end to electronic dance music (EDM). While dancing each day away, it can be difficult to distinguish the various types of music each DJ is playing. From changes in bass lines to the addition of vocals, each artist has their own sound that falls into a different category of EDM. Here is your guide to distinguishing between dub step artists, like Bassnectar, house artists, like Benny Benassi, and many more.


A trio in Detroit started mixing beats in the early ‘80s, and then the techno movement emerged. According to gridface.com, a non-commercial webzine covering deep electronic music, techno was born after Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson were influenced by a radio DJ named the Electrifying Mojo, who played European tunes at the same time as Prince and the B-52’s. According to the site, Atkins and Richard Davies, also known as 3070, started releasing records as Cybotron. In 1981, techno was born. Check out “Clear” by Cybotron. Sound familiar? Missy Elliot, Ciara and Fatman Scoop added lyrics to the track when they released “Lose Control” in 2005.



House music got its name because it was born in the basement of the artists who created it. The tunes are extremely similar to techno music, but house tends to have more organic or human-like qualities involved (i.e., a voice). On the other hand, techno is much more industrial, rhythmic and at times, even robotic. Want to know more how this sounds? Check out Steve Aoki’s track, “I’m in the House,” released in 2010.



Known as the “lovechild” of classical, house and techno, trance music blends all three genres and subgenres to form the slow-moving, yet club-raging beats. These tunes were born in Germany (the first trance melody was born in Frankfurt in 1993). While some suggest the music got its name for the emotional, euphoric feel the music emits to its listeners, others suggest its name came from an album released in the early ‘80s. Check out theuntz.com/best-trance-songs-of-2012-top-10-tracks for the top trance songs of 2012.


Dub step

Though many people think the dub step movement started with Skrillex, the movement actually began in the late ‘90s in England. The style sounds like broken beats, and at times includes drums, percussion patterns and deep bass beats. For more dub step, check out Spin’s list of the best dub step of all time at spin.com/articles/30-greatest-dubstep-songs-all-time.