Infobox Music genre
Free jazzVarious forms of rock
United Kingdomand United States
Guitar- Bass - Drums - Keyboard
popularity= Largely underground, but some bands have had mainstream success.
Art rock- Avant-garde metal
Math rock- Post-rock
regional_scenes= Largely global, England - Scotland - Wales - Ireland - USA - Canada - Sweden - Japan - Czech Republic
Timeline of alternative rock- Timeline of punk rock
Experimental rock or avant-garde rock is a type of music based on rock which experiments with the basic elements of the genre, and/or which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique.
Performers may also attempt to individualize their music with unconventional
time signatures, instrumental tunings, compositional styles, lyrical techniques, elements of other musical genres, singing styles, instrumental effects or custom-made experimental musical instruments.
The mid- to late 60s was an era of explosive growth and experimentation in rock music. Bands drew influences from
free jazzartists such as John Coltraneand Sun Raand avant-gardecomposers like John Cageand Karlheinz Stockhausen. The Velvet Underground, which at one point counted John Cale, Angus Macliseand Tony Conradamong its members and was associated with Andy Warholand LaMonte Young, fused elements of minimalismand avante-garde music with standard rock song structures. The sounds of Indian musicand Arabic musicwere also widely admired and adapted. Even such popularly successful bands as The Beatlesand The Rolling Stoneswere able to incorporate outside and foreign influences into their songs without sacrificing their broad fanbase. Other important experimental bands in this period include MC5, The Monks, The Fugs, The Godz, Red Crayola, The Stooges, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and The Mothers of Invention. These bands were also the inspiration for Plastic People of the Universe, which emerged in the 1970s behind the Iron Curtain.
Influenced by the experiments of these groups came another wave experimental rock bands in the early 1970s. There was, for instance, the so-called
Krautrockscene in Germany, which included psychedelic bands like Amon Düül IIand Popol Vuh, sound-collage artists like Faust, and the extremely improvisational and almost unclassifiable Can. Brian Enowas another important figure, especially after his departure from Roxy Musicin order to pursue his own ideas (which ultimately led to his invention of the term " ambient music"). Some other artists in this period, such as David Bowieand Scott Walker, also departing from more pop-oriented styles in order to experiment with songwriting and production. Some of Miles Davis' early-70s work such as On the Corneror A Tribute to Jack Johnsonstraddles or even defines the line between Jazz fusion, Funkand Rock. At the same time, there was the experimental wing of the already somewhat experimental progressive rockscene, including a number of bands who were influenced by contemporary classical music-- Magma, Henry Cow, Area, Univers Zero, and so on. In the late 70s, punk rockdeveloped a number of experimental offshoots, most notably post-punk. This genre includes everything from arty punk rockers like Pere Ubu, The Electric Eelsand Suicide to the dub-influenced Public Image Ltd.. Other punk offshoots included Industrial music(bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, Einstürzende Neubautenand Throbbing Gristle) and No Wave(bands such as James Chance and the Contortionsand DNA).
Experimentalism was a large part of the
College rockand underground musicscene in the 1980s. Influenced by their punk and post-punk predecessors, bands like Sonic Youth, Band of Susans, and Live Skullwho all originated in New York's No Wave scene, The Scene Is Now, Negativland, Butthole Surfers, Swans, Beme Seedand Dinosaur Jr.further expanded the boundaries of rock by introducing influences from minimalismand conceptualism, as well as pop art, situationismand fluxusand influences from the new media cultureof the 1980s. The late 80s underground scene saw the rise of a number of bands influenced by the Velvet Underground and 1960s psychedelia, including Agitpop, Opal, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo, and Big Black. Hardcore punk, with its DIY ethicwas also a big influence on many of the experimental rock bands of the day. Toward the end of the 1980s rapemerged into a mature, experimental phase exploring the possibilities of samplingand dealing with social and racial issues. Rap's impact on experimental rock was huge, as many rock bands were impressed by the power and innovation of rap artists such as Public Enemy, Dream Warriorsand Digital Undergroundand sought to incorporate aspects of rap and hip hop into their music, with Sonic Youth's 1990 Kool Thingfeaturing an appearance by Chuck D.of Public Enemy.
The commercialization of underground music in the first part of the 1990s led to the rise of a representative "Alternative" style which featured multiple, layered distorted guitars and overwrought male vocals. The experimentalism that had characterized the 1980s declined as
grungetook hold as the dominant style in rock music. Originated in the Pacific Northwestin the 1980s by Heavy Metal, psychedeliaand punk influenced bands such as Mudhoney, and Mother Love Bone, Nirvanawas the genre's breakout artist. Soon follow up bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgardenwere dominating the charts while hewing close to the accepted list of influences on their genre and even adding elements of arena rocksuch as extended guitar solos and intricate time signatures to what had been a stripped-down, nonvirtuosic style. Bands such as the Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth discarded many unconventional and abrasive elements and began working within traditional structures. Artists such as Weenand Redd Krosscontinued their predecessors inventiveness with less impact.
In the later 1990s, many
indie rockbands diverged into a style called Post-rock, which has been described as "using rock instrumentation to make non-rock music"; major influences on this style include Godspeed You! Black Emperorand Slint, who were influenced by Hardcore punk, and Talk Talk's later works, which were influenced by Miles Davisand ambient music. By now "post-rock" can refer to almost any complex instrumental rock coming out of the indie scene, from the delicate, classical-influenced chamber rock of Rachel'sto the massive, forbidding sonic landscapes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
As the 90s passed, non-instrumental forms of indie rock also became increasingly experimental. Some of the innovators in this area were bands associated with the
Elephant 6and Jewelled Antlercollectives, such as Six Organs of Admittance, Comets on Fire, Josephine Foster and the Supposed, Neutral Milk Hoteland The Olivia Tremor Control; later experimental indie bands include Deerhoof, Liars, U.S. Maple, Xiu Xiu, Man Man, The Fiery Furnaces, and TV on the Radio. Also, British band Radiohead, who had become popular in the 1990swith their Alternative rock, began making more Avant-gardestyle music at the turn of the millennium, with the album Kid A, and then in 2001 with its sister album Amnesiac. These albums took influence from Electronica, Krautrockand at times Jazzand classical musicto create a radical shift in direction for the group.
New Weird Americamovement emerged as a distinct presence both harkening back to an imagined 1960s heyday and pointing the way forward for rock music in the era of online distribution. The punk band Mindless Self Indulgencecontains many elements of experimental rock, seamlessly combining punk, techno, and hip hop. There are many avant-prog bands still active, including Sleepytime Gorilla Museumand Koenjihyakkei. Bands like Life Without Buildingsand Chicks on Speeddraw on the No Wavesounds of the early 1980s.
A collection of second wave
post hardcoreand new progbands have dabbled in experimental stylings, notably The Mars Volta, Thriceand Circa Survive. An explosion of other experimental artists have recently emerged thanks to the unsigned-band-friendly MySpaceenvironment, Such artists as the heavily Trip hopand Dream popinfluenced Mechanical Angel.
List of avant-garde artists
List of experimental musicians
* [http://www.discogs.com/group/501] Experimental Rock Forum on Discogs
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