Nobody ever wanted to call it IDM.
Braindance, electronica, bleep techno – anything was better than the US-centric (and still awkwardly disparaging) ‘intelligent dance music’, but over time the term has stuck. We can thank early ’90s mailing list the IDM List for the awful acronym. The list was used as a platform to discuss a growing set of artists pursuing experimental forms of dance music, and became oddly popular as the music flourished in tandem with the internet itself. Eventually it was being used so much that we all stopped fighting it and gave in, even if it was just to make sure we could sell that rare Skam 12″ on eBay or Discogs without having to re-list.
If there’s ever an artist who survived the great IDM slump and emerged stronger, it’s Travis Stewart. He hit an early wave of hype thanks to his two early drops on the Merck label – the glitchy, Autechre-influenced album as Syndrone, and Now You Know as Machine Drum. Now we do indeed know that his Machine Drum material would become a Biblical tome for Scotland’s LuckyMe collective, and these days Stewart is headlining European main stages with his spiky take on footwork and jungle.