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Darkwave (sometimes with a space in-between, like dark wave) is a sub-genre of electronic rock, and taking a look at the name, it's easy to figure out that there will be some "dark" characteristics. When it came out, it was due to the rising popularity of the similar genres, new wave and post-punk. It then took these genres, and added its own flare into the mix, adding lyrics to suit the mood and a general feeling of sorrow or hopelessness.
Some typical instruments you can hear in this genre include the guitar, bass and drum, typically found in a rock band, infusing synthesizers, pianos and sometimes even violins. A drum machine is sometimes used to replace the actual drums.
After this genre rose in popularity a bit, some American groups started to fuse this genre with another, called ethereal wave (a genre with influences from ambient and gothic rock). Other groups would mix it with electronic dance music or even trip hop (a very fusion-heavy genre, mixing elements from ambient, hip-hop, funk, acid house, electronica and more).
Darkwave first emerged during the late 1970s, at around the same time disco started to fade from existence. It came from Australia and Europe, mainly from the countries Italy, Germany and France. The term was created in Europe, to mean a darker, more depressing form of new wave. Depeche Mode, Joy Division and The Sisters of Mercy are a few of the artists who took this style into their music.
Another genre of electronic rock was spawned during this time, called coldwave. Coldwave was born because of the international move of darkwave. It's basically a French variant of post-punk.
After that, many other genres started to influence each other, resulting in several new sounds, like electronic new wave, with hints of gothic rock, ambient and post-industrial music.
In the 1990s, after the new wave scene sunk in popularity, dark wave was transitioned into the underground status, and was fueled by several German groups like Deine Lakaien and Diary of Dreams. Many bands from other countries also participated, such as The Frozen Autumn from Italy, The Awakening from South Africa and Corpus Delicti from France.
During the early to mid-1990s, the term for this genre was mainly associated with the Projekt Record label, due to the fact that it was printed on their catalog, and promoted artist and groups within this genre. Some of the groups of this time included Love Spirals Downwards and Lycia.
What will happen to this genre? It's up to time to tell. It remains as an underground genre for now, but there are more and more artists and groups coming forth, and with the help of the massive amount of resources at today's artist's exposal, we can't know what will happen in the long run of this music.
Average Beats Per Minute: 120-140
Where It Originated: Europe
Stylistically Similar To: Post-Punk, New Wave, Gothic Rock
Year Developed: Late 1970s
General Electronic Rock - Back to the overview of electronic rock.
Alternative Dance - Mixing different element of rock music with electronics, nice!
Darkwave - Has the elements of rock and electronica...with a hint of darkness.
Synthcore - Interesting for sure, mixing metalcore, post-hardcore and electronica!
More sub-genres coming soon.
You are at darkwave.