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Contemporary music is a vast and confounding landscape of sounds, and those who say modern music is boring need to dig deeper. Underneath the Katy Perrys and Justin Biebers of the world are some really interesting artists doing some bizarre stuff. Not all of it is good, but at least it isn’t boring. Here are some of the most unique music genres out there today:

Danger Music

Most “danger music” is purely hypothetical, existing only as written compositions. And for that we are thankful. Takehisa Kosugi’s “Music for a Revolution” includes the instruction that the performer must gouge out his or her eyes five years from now. Nam June Paik’s “Danger Music for Dick Higgins” tells the performer to “creep into the vagina of a living whale.” Noticing a pattern here? Yep, danger music is all about sound as a weapon. Probably the most infamous piece of danger music to ever be performed was when Japanese band Hanatarash treated their audience to the sounds of a bulldozer being driven through the back wall of the concert venue. “But that’s not music!” I hear you protest. Well, it’s sound arranged for the purpose of art, so you can go right straight to hell.

Baby Metal

Okay, 30 million YouTube views isn’t exactly obscure, but I couldn’t write this article without including baby metal, the increasingly popular Japanese art of mixing the kawaii with the brutal. There’s a few bands out there today mixing the choreographed dance numbers of J-pop with thrash and death metal. Whether it’s good or not I’ll leave up to you, but again, at least it’s interesting. Thanks, Japan, for once again proving that anything cute can be made horrifying and vice versa.

Chap-Hop

A tiny subgenre out of England that’s basically Rappin’ Duke but with Victorian bullsh*t instead of cowboy bullsh*t, chap-hop is awful. I know I promised to leave it up to you to decide whether these artists were good or not, but holy hell. Chap-hop takes everything gritty and real about hip-hop and turns it into a gimmick Weird Al would turn up his nose at. If the thought of a white guy with a stupid mustache trying to rap about cricket gets you a boner, be my guest, but this one’s not for me.

Drone

Okay, back to the good stuff. Drone music is exactly what it sounds like: minimalist, usually instrumental tunes consisting of long, droning tones overlaid over each other. Listening to drone is like watching a fish tank for a couple hours — just turn off your brain, get relaxed, and let the dopamine flow through you. Drone actually contains a ton of subgenres, like drone ambient, drone metal, noise drone, and drone techno. Plus, legendary artists like The Velvet Underground, Brian Eno, and John Cage have dabbled in drone. It’s not for everyone, but if you need help sleeping, it might be for you.

Japanoise

WARNING HEADPHONE USERS: This will make you deaf.

Remember when I said that danger music was “sound arranged for the purpose of art” and so it still kind of counts as music? Japanoise pushes that definition to the extreme. It’s exactly what it sounds like: noise made in Japan. The video above is from the most “famous” Japanoise artist ever, Merzbow, whose works are often considered more social protest or performance art than “music”. To be fair to Japanoise, it has a pretty broad range, including melodic acts like the incredible Melt-Banana. But next time your dad criticizes your music for being “just noise,” show him this.

Splittercore

Normal “fast” music runs at between 120 and 150 beats per minute. “Speedcore”, a variant of hardcore electronic music, goes much faster. And then there’s splittercore, the fastest of the fast, which runs anywhere north of 600 bpm. It goes so fast that the beats are almost indistinguishable, and definitely impossible to dance to. This is music for bobbing your head angrily. If that appeals to you, give splittercore a try.

Whatever Boredoms Is

I’ll be honest, this article only exists so I can tell you all about Boredoms, the greatest band in the world. Their Wikipedia page describes them as experimental rock, noise rock, psychedelic rock, space rock, krautrock, and dub rock, but none of these tags comes close. Their output has ranged from straightforward (if insane) rock like “Acid Police” to tribal electronic like “Ant 10” to the insane stunt of getting 77 drummers arranged in a spiral under the Brooklyn Bridge and having them all play solos. Completely unique, one hundred percent punk, and totally awesome — get some Boredoms in your life today.

 

7 Strange Music Genres You Didn’t Even Know Existed

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