I've always thought IDM–intelligent dance music–to be somewhat of a strange name for a microgenre. Its implications seem rather assumptive, namely that most dance music (and, by extension, dance music audiences) is stupid. Also, since dance music's primary function is to move our bodies, does the brain even need to be engaged? Doesn't rhythm happen on an instinctual/synaptic level? And can one wear black turtlenecks with silver go-go boots?
Furthermore, while artists like Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga wouldn't seem too appropriate for a Mensa function, there's plenty of IDM that's not officially named as such, from old-school world-tinged new wave like the Talking Heads' “I Zimbra,” to message-laden Afrobeat from Fela to Antibalas, to DJ Shadow and Portishead's atmospheric trip-hop soundscapes.
Still, while the idea of cerebral club music might seem like an oxymoron, there's no denying that UK producer Jega is one of IDM's pioneers. A mainstay of the Planet Mu label–known for their experimental forays into avant-garde techno–in the late '90s and early '00s, Jega has been somewhat M.I.A. for most of this decade. He returns with a bang with his third album Variance, a double CD which should bring joy–or at least facilitate some serious ideological discussions–among the IDM community. Jega appears this Saturday, August 22nd, at the LiPo Lounge, courtesy of the Night Kitchen, along with Kush Arora [live set], Jus Wan, and Staypuft DJ Vs. Harbour. More info is here and here.