Recently I had someone ask me for some “must have” electronic records. Now, this is a rather tall request as the genre “Electronic” covers a very wide variety of musical styles, from Industrial to Hardcore to Techno and on and on. Because of that, I thought that instead of creating a “Top 10 list” (this isn’t Digg, after all), I’d try to create a list of records that I feel “speak to me” in some way and convey something about not only the musicians who made it, but something deeper about what that style of music has to say. I’ll just list them (un-numbered) and in no particular order with no descriptions, but I’ll include Amazon links for more info.
- Computer World – Kraftwerk
- Ultravisitor – Squarepusher
- Selected Ambient Works 85-92 – Aphex Twin
- I Care Because You Do – Aphex Twin
- Dubnobasswithmyheadman – Underworld
- Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld – The Orb
- Endtroducing… – Dj Shadow
- Music for the Jilted Generation – The Prodigy
- Violator – Depeche Mode
- Freeze Frame Reality – Haujobb
- Music Has the Right to Children – Boards of Canada
I know there are tons I am leaving off, and this is by no means a complete list, especially considering just how many disparate genres and countercultures it cuts across. Not all the music on this list is especially easy to listen to, but then again, one commonality amongst all the artists who made this list is a need to create something which is more than a genre-influenced “sum of its parts”.
Looking back at this list, it leans heavily toward 90′s era electronica, but considering how electronic music has always (for very practical reasons) followed the development of electronic equipment and modes of communication, and the explosion of both of these things in the 1990′s, it is not really much of a surprise. Also worth noting is that for every album on this list, there are several more “if you like it you’ll like this..” records in the same genre which perhaps could have/should have made the list too.
But hopefully, for someone who is new to the boundless expression which electronic music offers, this is a good place to start…