The term Avant Pop refers to music that incorporates the conventional pop idioms, such as engaging melodies, harmonies and catchy hooks while putting an unpredictable, experimental spin on things. This can be accomplished using different elements such as industrial samples, irregular trap beats, unusual song structures, latex and fart-sounding synthesizers, and any other wacky innovations you can think of. Here are some examples.
One of the pioneers in the modern underground Avant pop scene and the head of record label PC Music. Not to mention he’s also produced for a number of pop artists like Charli XCX, TOMMY CASH, and Hannah Diamond. His label PC Music has divided critics debating whether this music is either revolutionary or a parody. The label had been known for producing strange rubber-like sounds and highly manufactured image, blurring the lines between art and artifice.
Another producer from the PC Music collective, SOPHIE’s overall image toys with the idea of gender and consumerism. It was only recently that she’s revealed herself to the public due to a gender transition. Her collaborators used to refer to her as male – now, the PR literature uses “she.”
This may come unexpected to some as Charli XCX has well established herself in the mainstream music featuring on hit songs like Iggy Azelea’s Fancy and Icona Pop’s I Love It. Not to mention the success of her song Boom Clap. But before gaining all that fame, she’s been dwelling in the underground electro scene in London, playing witch house and dark trance music. Now, she’s slightly going back to those experimental roots, collaborating with both A.G. Cook and SOPHIE in her recent albums such as Number 1 Angel and Pop 2.
The Tribeca New Music Festival defines “avant pop” as “music that draws its energy from both popular music and classical forms.” It may be true that this genre of music is the equivalent of post-modern futuristic classical music, as it captures the classical elements of progression and dynamic. With producers like A.G. Cook and SOPHIE, there’s no doubt this musical movement will continue to grow and gain recognition to eventually become mainstream in the near future.