At first glance it might seem that Asheville is stacked in favor of roots music, what with a guitarist on every corner and an Americana band in every bar. But there's also much to suggest Asheville as an electronica hot bed, despite that scene's apparent underground status.
Exhibit A: Asheville is where Robert Moog — pioneer of electronic music and inventor of the Moog synthesizer — worked as a research professor of music at UNCA, based his electronic musical instruments manufacturing company and lived out his final years.
Exhibit B: Asheville has (perhaps in spite of itself) embraced live band-electronica fusion acts like Telepath (since moved on to Philadelphia) and electronic music/arts festivals like Trinumeral.
Exhibit C: Take a walk around downtown and check out the posters affixed to power poles and displayed in shop windows. Every other one is for a DJ show. Same thing with Facebook events. Many electronic artists eschew conventional publicity methods in favor of new media. Not seeing many electronica shows? Go online.
Exhibit D: Even the rootsiest of venues is booking electronic acts. The Rocket Club is home to a free weekly Super Dance Party (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.), with DJs Crick Nice and Adam Strange (GFE) and DJ Mark Davis (who has been spinning underground dance music in Asheville since the '80s). Mo Daddy's welcomes its first-ever hip-hop show with local artist Foul Mouth Jerk, PyInfamous from Crystal Springs, Miss., and Charlotte's One Big Love on Friday, March 5. The Grey Eagle hosts Baltimore duo Beach House on Friday, April 30.
But even with new developments — and nearly everyone seems to agree the local electronic scene has grown exponentially in the past few years — electronic music isn't a new phenomenon. Its roots reach back to '70s-era disco, dating the genre older than not just its current practitioners, but many of their parents.
Fueling Asheville's newfound fondness for electronica is certainly the live band/electronic fusion — anything from the live instruments-meets-computers of The Nova Echo to live sequencing of engineered loops and beats as performed by Freepeoples Frequency. But more than sonic accessibility, it's technical accessibility that brings new fans to the multifaceted genre. Music makers no longer need to be piano or guitar virtuosos — computer proficiency and a desire to create are the instruments of this under-represented but increasingly available art form.
Want to know more about local electronic music? Read on …