The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Playlist: Once Upon A Time In The Midwest

October 2017

Writer Jacob Arnold compiles a selection of tracks featured in his article documenting the Midwest IDM scene of the late 1990s

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s” says Arnold, “interconnected communities of artists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois experimented with electronic music ranging from punk and gabber-inspired breakcore to hip hop and post-rock-tinged IDM. Some artists tinkered with tracker software, trading the results via FTP. Others combined analogue instruments and hardware. The common thread was an instinct to make sounds no one had heard before. For a brief but vibrant period, Midwestern IDM (named for the "Intelligent Dance Music" listserv) could be heard live at a variety of venues, supported by local music shops and radio. Eventually more dance-oriented styles of electronic music made a comeback. By 2008 most IDM artists had moved on from music making, but their recordings are ripe for rediscovery.”

Jacob Arnold's feature Once Upon A Time In The Midwest is included in The Wire issue issue 405. Subscribers can access the full article via the online archive.

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