Electronica is an umbrella term for a wide range of musical styles which are either composed or manipulated using either analog or, more recently, digital technology. The myriad sub-genres range from minimalist ambient soundscapes to fast, distorted, percussion-dependent compositions.
Electronica as a genre became widespread in the 1980s due to the increased availability of electronic instruments. Prior to companies such as Yamaha and Roland mass manufacturing affordable synthesizers and Drum Machines, these were incredibly expensive items limited to the already wealthy, for example the popular French composer, Jean-Michel Jarre.
Early examples of the genre include New Order and Gary Numan, who draw influence from New wave. More recent acts that could be described as electronica are Moby, Fischerspooner, and The Chemical Brothers.