First published on 29 May 2012. Updated on 24 Feb 2014.
Yes, disco is that feel-good Donna Summer/John Travolta fare, but it gets a bit more technical than that: 2/4 syncopated rhythms are laid beneath soaring vocals to make tracks that will melt your soul. The style returned to popularity with the mid-’80s Italo-disco movement (more electronic) and the current nu-disco trend (think Prins Thomas and Classixx).
Hear it at: Retro Fridays at Club Retro offer three floors of disco from the '70s, '80s and '90s.
First dropped on dancefloors in Chicago in the early ’80s, the repetitive style features 'four to the floor' beats (where the kick drum thuds on every beat) and a BPM averaging between 120 and 135. Multiple subgenres include soul-tinged deep house, tech-house and funky house.
Hear it at: You can find at least one strain of house at most late night Melbourne venues, and Bar 161 in particular is always a sure thing.
A more experimental and minimal offshoot of house that was born in Detroit. It involves layers of minimal and melodic lines, with limited vocals getting in the way of the thump-thump.
Hear it at: Locals and touring internationals spin a range of techno sounds at the Mercat Basement on sporadic occasions.
You’ll find more four to the floor here, but often cracking at a faster pace than traditional house. Tracks frequently use a single melodic refrain, similar to those of classical music, and very minimal vocals. Think PPK’s ‘Resurrection’ and Tiesto’s ‘Adagio For Strings’.
Hear it at: Trance heads can get their fix at 3D Nightclub.
With the BPM cranked up to the 160-190 mark, drum’n’bass is characterised by breakbeats, which use syncopated 4/4 rhythms rather than the rigid 4/4 of house. The genre exploded with ’90s rave culture.
Hear it at: Monthly sessions at Wobble.
Features a two-step beat and a wobbly, grinding ‘dubbed’ bass line, dubstep was pushed into the popular consciousness by Chase & Status, Skream & Benga, Skrillex and Mary Anne Hobbs’ Dubstep Warz BBC Radio 1 show.
Hear it at: Dubstep nights are a regular occurance at The Workshop Bar.
The Brian Eno school of electronica sits somewhere between art and music. The sound is more challenging than house or techno, and is about creating images in the mind. Think Aphex Twin, the Orb and Autechre.
Hear it at: Big name ambient producers often swing by Melbourne, and on a more regular basis it can be found at Loop Bar.
Electro was born on the downslide from disco when funk producers began experimenting with drum machines to make electronic breakbeats. It had a renaissance in the mid-’00s thanks to the French electro movement and artists like Daft Punk.
Hear it at: Electro tunes get a decent spin at the Wah Wah Lounge on Wah Wah Saturdays.