Futuristic music isn’t necessarily a genre all to itself. Rather, it is a style or ethic that can encompass all genres, from jazz and folk to hard rock and rap, as well as everything in between. There are a number of different things that artists will do in order to create music with a futuristic sound. Most important among those things are making inventive choices with instrumentation and with composition, two concepts which we’ll be exploring below.
First and foremost, those who create futuristic tunes will employ new instruments or combine existing instruments in new and inventive ways. For example, one can look back to the rock music acts of the 60s and 70s, like Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, to hear how they employed synthesizers in their music. Of course, synthesizers are everywhere in music today but when these bands were using them several decades ago, the effect of deploying them was decidedly futuristic. Today, bands and artists may employ new electronic instruments or software programs that invent new sounds entirely or to process existing instrument sounds into something new and unrecognizable.
Instrumentation isn’t the only factor in creating music of future, though. As a matter of fact, compositional techniques are equally important. With artists across the globe having easy access to recording equipment and software, songs can be arranged in ways that would’ve been unthinkable in the past. On the most basic level, this can involve upsetting trends in how the components that make up a song (verses, choruses, bridges, etc.) are arranged. However, such changes are also typically accompanied by experimentations with rhythm and tonality. For an example of what was once considered “futuristic music” along these lines, consider Miles Davis’ experimentation with jazz fusion (the combining of jazz and rock music) on his landmark album "Bitches Brew."
As music continues to evolve, what is considered “futuristic music” will continue to evolve alongside. While unorthodox choices with respect to instrumentation and composition are the primary hallmarks today, it’s possible that other factors will become equally if not more important as time marches on.