The term ‘EDM’ is too broad to really refer to anything anymore, and this is a great thing.
It’s a sign of the eclecticism of electronic music these days. Genres are cross-pollinating like never before, spawning things like folk trap, abstract hip hop, aquacore, and the list goes on.
No better example of genres coming together is Astronomyy’s remix of Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish.
Don’t get me wrong; the original’s good too. Eilish’s vocals feel like ice crystals: so close to breaking apart, but never quite doing so. The themes of love and loss feel understated and elegant – and somehow even sadder for it. But Astronomyy’s edit takes what was good about the song – heartfelt lyrics, pristine vocals, dreamlike melody – and turns it into something closer to an incantation.
The line ‘You really know how to make me cry’ becomes almost primordial. The echoes feel angelic. The trap-inspired drum hits buoy Eilish’s voice, making it seem even more urgent, more spooky than before.
The song’s effectively a tutorial in the power of subtle production. The aquatic sound effects (bubbling water, Eilish’s vocals seeming to fade under an ebbing tide) are perfection.
This is most noticeable in the song’s ending. The chorus of ‘Your ocean eyes…’ fades into the sounds of shifting water. It sounds like Eilish is vanishing to the bottom of the sea. But it also feels like EDM shifting into new realms of possibility.