a&d (other abbreviations are AD, Analord, analogue digital, and, a+d, a’n’d, etc.) is a genre of electronic music emerging from Great Britain that has gained popularity especially in Belgium, Ireland, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and the United States of America. Notable artists include Ceephax and Aphex Twin (under his guises AFX, Analord, and The Tuss). The core philosophy of a&d is the desire to make music to dance, party, and chill out to either at a rave or at home with friends. Equally important is the exploration of the possibilities inherent in electronic music combined with the methodology of using real studio equipment rather than digital audio workstations. a&d tracks are often considered by critics and artists to have a strong sense of humour and playfulness.
Aesthetic, methodology and influence
Analogue and digital influenced the electronic music community to think more about aesthetic and methodology when making electronic music. The genre is named after the two main areas of electronics because exploring electronics in music is the key idea of the genre. Sound creation in a&d features both analogue and digital synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines; however a&d recordings are mostly done in the analogue domain due to a perceived better sound quality and individuality of the recording.
The main non-musical characteristics of a&d include: working in a music studio with real studio equipment (based on analogue and digital electronics) rather than modern computers, recording the music to magnetic tape on a high quality tape machine, and releasing the music primarily on vinyl (especially high quality 180 gram).
It has been known for a&d musicians to compromise by recording to digital audio workstations due to cheaper cost, despite the fact that a&d pushes itself towards a purer more classic aesthetic of recording an analogue signal to magnetic recording tape. Other compromises are made at the discretion of the artist.
Musical influences & progenitors
a&d is heavily inspired by pioneers such as Larry Heard, Juan Atkins, Rob Hubbard, 808 State, Underground Resistance, and Drexciya. The early pioneers of tape based electronic music such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernard Parmegiani and Delia Derbyshire are also an influence, as well as synthesizer music such as Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Vangelis, and Wendy Carlos.
- Acid – Modern version of acid house made mostly with Roland music gear like Roland TB-303. (Song titles often begin or end with the word “acid”)
- Computer Music – Music made with academic computer software such as SuperCollider, PureData, Max/Msp, and ChucK. Hardware includes the Eventide Orville and Eventide DSP 4000. Aphex Twin has used UPIC but has yet to release any tracks. Analogue computers and digital logic trainers include Comdyna, CES, Heathkit, & Romtek.
- Oldschool Hardcore – nearly identical to the hardcore of the early 1990s. (Sample trackers such as Octamed on the Amiga are often used.)
- Chiptune – Music made with microprocessor computers such as the Commodore 64 and Nintendo Gameboy.
- a&d d&b – Jungle or drum and bass, made with hardware samplers by manufacturers such as Akai,E-mu,Roland, and Yamaha. Arrangements and drum programming are slightly more intricate and sophisticated than oldschool jungle yet offers a similar vibe. A good first stop for a&d artists due to the cheap price of high quality (due to unpopularity) of hardware samplers.
- FM– Bizarre rhythmic music created with the frequency modulation synthesis discovered by John Chowning in 1967. Named after the Yamaha TX/DX range of FM synthesizer. Track title often contain TX or DX or both.
Example analogue and digital electronic equipment
|Analogue Monosynth||Fenix Modular||EMS Synthi 100||Korg MS-20||Roland 100m||Yamaha CS30|
|…||Roland MC-202||Roland SH-101||Roland TB-303|
|Analogue Organ||Yamaha GX1||Yamaha E70||Yamaha E75||Yamaha D80||Allen Continental Carousel|
|Analogue Polysynth||Yamaha CS80||Yamaha CS70m||Roland Jupiter 8||Roland Jupiter 6||Kawai SX-240|
|Digital Synth||Yamaha DX7||Kawai K4||Roland D50||Yamaha TX7||Yamaha TX816|
|Sampler||Akai S950||Akai S6000||Yamaha A5000||Yamaha A3000||E-mu Emulator III|
|Sequencer||Atari ST||Roland MC-4 Microcomposer||Roland MC-202||Roland TB-303||Yamaha QY300|
|Drum Machine||Roland TR-606||Roland TR-707||Roland TR-727||Roland TR-808||Roland TR-909|
|Microcomputer||Amiga 500||Commodore 64||Nintendo Gameboy||ZX Spectrum||Atari ST|
Each a&d artist makes up his or her own mind what to use. Nowhere near being a comprehensive database. Contributions welcome.
Analogue effects such as spring reverb, plate reverb, and tape echo feature heavily. CV/Gate, V/Hz, MIDI, DCB and DIN sync controlled synths and drum machines are a must. Live performances are often done by the artist playing live keyboards, live effect knob twiddling, and live mixer slider sliding. Classic Roland synthesizers and drum machines, nicknamed the x0x series, such as the Roland TR-606, Roland TB-303, and Roland SH-101 often feature. a&d artists use whatever electronic equipment they prefer to create, modify, or do what they please to sounds. Artists such as Ceephax use classic Roland equipment (popular) while Florian Hecker uses a rare Comdyna Analog Computer along with Serge Modules (rare). Each artist has his or her own preferences.
Track titles and record artwork Song titles and artwork proudly display the electronic equipment used to create the music. For example Analord featured the sounds of the Synton Fenix programmed by a Roland MC-4 Microcomposer. Confederation Trough EP by The Tuss featured the rare Yamaha GX1 synthesizer.
Rejection of early 2000’s fashionable trends a&d as a genre mostly rejects trends such as digital audio workstations, VST, and virtual analogue synthesizers. a&d is mostly created with classic studio gear. Analogue recording is a must. a&d is based on the idea that the process is as important as the end result, though not the only important feature of making music. Even the usefulness of stereo sound has been questioned, Naks Acid (mono) by AFX poking fun at the fashion of the time for surround sound technology and 24-bits/96KHz, was recorded on a Nakamichi high quality 3 head cassette deck, and could be heard (slightly subversively) on the soundtrack for the Sony PSP game Wipeout Pure. Naks is the shortening for Nakamichi used by the fan site naks.com
Nomenclature a&d is sometimes mistakenly referred to as ‘analogue music’, however while the recording medium is often strictly analogue in nature, the sound generating and control devices are a mix of analogue and digital, hence the genre title. For example digital samplers and digital drum machines feature prominently in many tracks. Around the world the genre is spelt with the spelling “analogue” rather than “analog” (U.K. spelling rather than U.S.A. spelling).
The Lessines Chelmsford Prendergast Foundation In 2002 Ceephax along with Firstcask records created The Lessines Chelmsford Prendergast Foundation with its goal to “promote innovation in electronic music and popular cultures!”. A website was created detailing old synthesizers and old techniques in electronic music, but the site is no longer available. 
The Star Wars argument
The argument states that the virtual analogue, VST, and digital audio workstation music from about the year 2000 was similar to the new Star Wars movies (Computer Graphics for the sake of the argument was considered unacceptable and undesirable). The qualities of the original (non-Computer Graphics) Star Wars movies were more desirable so the argument was to lead the electronic music community away from virtual studio music towards real studio equipment. The original Star Wars movies were filmed using film cameras, and the space ships were real life scaled models and the aliens were puppets or people dressed in costumes. However the new Star Wars movies were filmed with digital techniques and the space ships and alien characters were created with computer imagery. Analogue & digital is basically the old Star Wars movies. Analogue & digital rejects the “new Star Wars movies” of music like the public rejected Jar Jar Binks. – Arnold “House” Dicá (explaining the reasoning behind a&d to an electronic music periodical).
The Knight Rider argument
The introduction sequence for the original Knight Rider series was a masterpiece of beauty and excitement, though the programme itself wasn’t always as great as the title sequence. A lot of the credit for the beauty goes to the Trans AM car used in the series, the 80s setting, and the stunning desert view. Later movies such as Knight Rider 2000 and remakes such as Team Knight Rider and Knight Rider 2008 were aesthetically and financially unsuccessful because the creators used talking cars instead of a talking Trans AM. What is Knight Rider without the Trans AM? – Gordon the Gopher (Explaining why achieving a perfect aesthetic is the true goal of a&d)
Aphex Twin online Around the time of Analord’s release, Richard James went online and discussed his feelings about analogue equipment and VSTs in general, as well as software emulations of the TB-303, on the Planet Mu website forum. Because no interviews were conducted at the time, it was the only public conversation that James has conducted related to his Analord series. Three Aphex’s comments(search for “Analord”) He also explained his thoughts on electronic music gear on the Analog Heaven mailing list: Aphex Twin under pseudonyms Montly-Catalog and Panflet*Search*
- Influential article by Warp Records artist Vincent Gallo criticising stereo sound
- Vincent Gallo’s “strict aesthetic and methodology” recording studio
- Rephlex Manifesto
We Are The Music Makers
American Aphex Twin fan site run by a fella from Texas called Joyrex.
Electronic music website. Keep on topic and don’t be rude otherwise pub landlord Mr F. Bastard will clonk you over the head with his Ken Griffey Jr baseball bat. Safe.
Planet Mu closed its forum and the members started a new community.
Shout outs to Dutch Acid Crews!!!