October 29, 2004 8:16 AM   Subscribe

HellFreezesOverFilter: I'm actually interested in finally giving electronica a chance. The only previous songs of the genre I've appreciated were tracks by Moby (esp. "Flower") and Fatboy Slim ("Going Out Of My Head") and the Avalanches ("Frontier Psychaitrist"). Most of you know my sensibilities well enough to make reccomendations. (for those who don't, here's an idea.) Fire away, kids.
posted by jonmc to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
*passes out*
posted by anathema at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2004

People I know (not I) like Postal Service. It's sort of like TechnEmo.
posted by Evstar at 8:25 AM on October 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


jon, e-mail me a postal address & I'll send you mix CDs galore as I don't currently have five days spare to type in everything I could recommend.

I am your father Luke...
posted by i_cola at 8:30 AM on October 29, 2004

The Crystal method "Tweekend"
Fatboy SLim "You've come a long way baby"
Moby "Play"

IMHO, Postal Service is really really boring.
posted by aacheson at 8:30 AM on October 29, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, i_cola, but remember I'm looking for stuff that an old rocker fossil like me could actually get into. That's not a diss just a cautionary note.
posted by jonmc at 8:35 AM on October 29, 2004

Chemical Bros
posted by matteo at 8:37 AM on October 29, 2004

Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx, William Orbit, St. Germain, The Verve Remixed Album (I like #2 better than #1), Royksopp, Moloko, Jamiroquai. Just brainstorming.
posted by gramcracker at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2004

Aphex Twin - selected ambient works. Nice calm introduction.
posted by humuhumu at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2004

Based on your examples, you may (or, hey, may not) be leaning towards big-beat stuff. Check out the Chemical Brothers ("Exit Planet Dust" or "Dig Your Own Hole"). I second the Crystal Method recommendation, too, noting that "Vegas" is also really good. Finally, an old vinylhead like yourself might appreciate the psychedelia/gospel/pop freakout that is Spiritualized. They're not really electronica, but fuck it. Check out "Lazer Guided Melodies" or better, their masterpiece, "Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space."
posted by Skot at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2004

pseudo electronica/drum n bass/who knows, but not Rock per se, i highly recommend Massive Attack and Lamb. Crazy Bjork remixes?

Postal Service i adore, but you may find it a bit lightweight.

looking thru your playlist--read the whole thing, a playlist is such a window into a brain--i think you also need some more Dan Bern.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:46 AM on October 29, 2004

Don't worry jon...I'll be gentle.
posted by i_cola at 8:47 AM on October 29, 2004

Jon joins the 20th century (the last bit of it, but still...). Welcome.
posted by zpousman at 9:07 AM on October 29, 2004

What i_cola said... I have electronica coming out of my ears. I'd be happy to mail you a compilation CD or two.
posted by nthdegx at 9:10 AM on October 29, 2004

My music tastes often coincide with Jon's, but as an old punk, I very much like "Fat of the Land" by Prodigy. "Dubnobasswithmyheadman" by Underworld is pretty good, too: the track "Mmm skyscraper I love you" kicks ass.
posted by Pericles at 9:10 AM on October 29, 2004

That's the scariest playlist I've seen in two decades.

Here's a track by Cornelius and one by Live Human and one by Mt. Florida and some Red Snapper and Khan (featuring Jon Spencer).

If you like percussion with your electronica, here are some Illy B samples, which is a side project of the amazing Billy Martin, percussionist for Madeski Martin and Wood.

Try this Bobby Birdman MP3. Here's another that sounds quite different.

Or try these Caribou tracks.

If you've got Real, check out track 9 by the Troublemakers on this.

This Boards of Canada flash site has some tunes.
posted by dobbs at 9:15 AM on October 29, 2004

Response by poster: That's the scariest playlist I've seen in two decades.


I'm at work now, but I'll nab those tracks after finishing up and going out. Thanks.

If it all works out I'll be happy to make CD primers on old school metal, 60's garage, bubblegum, southern soul, etc. for whomever.
posted by jonmc at 9:22 AM on October 29, 2004

I LOVE the Chemical Brothers! I might send you some Chemical Brothers goodies later, jon. I can't remember the name of the 2 CDs I own but one of them is fabulous.

Prodigy - you will like
Amon Tobin - electronica with hip hop, funk, jazz, blues overtones
Brian Eno - classic electronica
Dave Beer - punkish ;)

jon, I really recommend logging into audioscrobbler or lastfm and streaming the radio stations (we all have them, you do too) of people who are listening to electronica - you'll be blown away by some of it. lately I've been discovering some amazing music of all genres there via the streams.
posted by iconomy at 9:22 AM on October 29, 2004

Autechre - Amber

Boards of Canada - Music has the Right to Children

Bola - Soup

Squarepusher - Feed Me Weird Things

The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

V/A - Putting the Morr Back into Morrissey (a collection of Morr Music; really entirely unrelated to Morrissey)

Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By

Fennesz - Endless Summer This one's different than the rest; moreso composed of digital artifacts but beautifully composed and I think incredibly emotional

A few of my favorites. Mostly trend to the melodic, maybe even emotional side of electronic music.
posted by xmutex at 9:29 AM on October 29, 2004

Aphex Twin. I'd recommend getting the Richard D. James Album. Very poppy, very dense beats, very unpredictable.

Far from the stereotypical electronic album, it's the most essential one.

Ditto all recommendations on Boards of Canada, and anything on Warp Records, really. They're pretty much the only label (outside of Morr) that matters in electronic music.
posted by rocketman at 9:35 AM on October 29, 2004

Department of Eagles

Check out "Noam Chomsky Spring Break 2002"
posted by saladin at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2004

Okay I can't help myself with this topic.

Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album

Mouse on Mars - Idiology

Oval - Ovalprocess

Cylob - Cylobian Sunset

Biosphere - Substrata

Future Sound of London - Dead Cities

Lexaunculpt - The Blurring of Trees

Seefeel - CH VOX

Dan Abrams - Stream

A lot of this is all over the electronic map; from melodic happy beats to minimal digital ambience. Maybe you hate it all, maybe you like it all. Please check it out, though.

I love this music and could really keep posting records all day.
posted by xmutex at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2004

Woops; wrong link.

Mouse on Mars - Idiology
posted by xmutex at 9:43 AM on October 29, 2004

Paul Kalkbrenner - Self
Because it's accordian driven...
posted by clockwork at 9:49 AM on October 29, 2004

Much has already been said. I too have to strongly recommend Crystal Method - all of their albums, and Vegas in particular. Chemical Brothers too. You might also consider Propellerheads - Decksandrumsandrockandroll. They made the song that plays during the lobby scene of the original Matrix (Spybreak).
posted by swank6 at 9:49 AM on October 29, 2004

Does DJ Shadow really count as electronica? Probably not, but give Enndtroducing a listen if you can. Seems more rockerly and solid than a lot of this stuff. Also David Holmes: Let's Get Killed... but again, I'm not sure if he fits very well into this category.
posted by picea at 10:16 AM on October 29, 2004

Does DJ Shadow really count as electronica?

Who cares? F the purists. It's a good recommendation. How about other stuff with guitar/guitar samples (like Chemical Brothers "Exit Planet Dust" mentioned above)?

Maybe RJD2. Both of his albums have lots of rock sensibility (along with hip-hop).

Maybe M83? Their most recent album (Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts) is great and has guitar. Some of it is mellow/soothing, but there's plenty of rock-ish stuff.
posted by pitchblende at 10:31 AM on October 29, 2004

The Go! Team, whose album just came out, combine 80s theme show rock with a sort of protoelectro hip hop thing.

To paraphrase The Fork, it's the perfect music to turn a drive to the grocery store into a car chase.
posted by hughbot at 11:00 AM on October 29, 2004

I had to find that quote, because I love it so much:

"...nostalgic, fist-pumping, awesome glee that makes a drive to the supermarket seem like The French Connection."
posted by hughbot at 11:04 AM on October 29, 2004

Although, now that I think about, they don't REALLY count as electronic music. They do use samples and stuff though.
posted by hughbot at 11:07 AM on October 29, 2004

It looks like a lot of people here are just listing their faves as opposed to paying much attention to Jon's preferences...

I'd agree with Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Massive Attack and possibly DJ Shadow (if you have some interest in hip-hop). Many of the of the others (Oval, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Fennesz, etc.), seem pretty far off base.
posted by sad_otter at 11:39 AM on October 29, 2004

Some of these recommendations are going to be duplicates of what people have already recommended, so consider those "me too"s:

Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album - one of the most important electronic albums of the nineties.

Boards of Canada - Music has the Right to Children - hauntingly beautiful. Evokes things in me that no other electronic album has (and I listen to a lot of electronic music).

Prodigy - The Fat of the Land - heavy bass and some punkish attitude. It's sometimes dismissed as mainstream pap, but I like it a lot.

Amon Tobin - Out from Out Where - Amon Tobin is a Brazilian DJ who makes songs primarily out of samples from old records. Very moody, trippy, engrossing stuff.

Orbital - In Sides - absolutely the best Orbital album ever. Organic, melodic, magical. It's too bad this is a fluke in their backcatalogue (although their other albums are good as well).

Autechre - Amber - Autechre is essential, and Amber is probably their most accessible album. In other words, it's from before they started getting really weird. More melodic than their later releases, too.

this is the point where I diverge from the mainstream. these artists are often described as "technoid", which is an obscure term that doesn't really mean anything. all of these are on Hymen Records, my electronic-crack record label of choice:

Gridlock - Formless - Gridlock is a bit like Autechre, in combining cold mechanization with warm beauty. Absolutely gorgeous atmospherics.

Scorn - Plan B - Scorn changes with every album, but for the most part is deep dub that is more subtle than it sounds on the first listen. a little different from all my "spacey" recommendations.

Xingu Hill - Alterity - an astoundingly engrossing sonic journey. I'll quote the press release: "This album is free from stylistic limitations; it travels through groovy ambient tunes with surrealistic atmospheres to chaotic soundscapes towards slower, more experimental pieces which however form an intimate coexistence." Yeah, that's about right.

I'd be willing to make a mix CD if you're interested.
posted by neckro23 at 11:48 AM on October 29, 2004

sad_otter: he said he wanted to listen to electronic music. I offered what I thought was the best of the genre. He mentioned a very, very limited list of what he's heard. He didn't say only tell me similar acts.
posted by xmutex at 11:56 AM on October 29, 2004

Response by poster: To whoever offered mix CD's:

Send me an e-mail and we'll arrange it.

In return I'll make a mix of one of my favorite genres (70's hard rock, 60's bubblegum, 60's garage punk, british glam, southern soul, old blues, old school metal, outsider music, weird novelty stuff) that you've left previously unexplored. It may take a while, but they'll get there.
posted by jonmc at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2004

Aphex Twin. I'd recommend getting the Richard D. James Album. Very poppy, very dense beats, very unpredictable.

Far from the stereotypical electronic album, it's the most essential one.

Yeah, get it.
posted by lbergstr at 12:10 PM on October 29, 2004

Response by poster: Add rockabilly to the list of genres above.
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on October 29, 2004

Boards of Canada seconded (check my user page). :-)

A couple of other groups (note that these cover MANY genres of "Electronica", from very light to very hard -- I've tried to categorize them for you)

System 7 (Light Techno/Trance), Chicane (Heavier Ambient), Air (Ambient), Arling and Cameron (Uh... just odd), Dieselboy (Drum 'n Bass), Dom and Roland (Drum 'n Bass), Felix Da Housecat (Electro), Adult (Electro), Fischerspooner (Electro), Global Communication (Ambient), Future Sound of London ("Pop"), Groove Armada (Ambient), Jondi and Spesh (Techno), Junkie XL (Big Beat), Lamb (Odd... again), Logic Bomb (Techno/Trance), Members of Mayday (Techno), u-Ziq (Techno), Photek (Drum 'n Bass), Plastikman (Techno), Shpongle (Psy-Trance), Salt Tank (Ambient, IIRC), Tosca (Ambient), TRS-80 (Techno), Underworld ("Pop"), Wagon Christ (Techno).

My list is probably a year or two behind. I've not been collecting albums as much as I was when I was a (very) amateur radio DJ.

I can offer a mix CD too! :-D
posted by shepd at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2004

i would personally steer you away from the chem. bros, crystal method type stuff. while it's really accessible, i've come to hold the elitist opinion that these sorts of groups are basically the britney spears and jessica simpsons of electronic music (no offense, anyone, but you have to admit that You Have Bad Taste In Music.) They are very very good at what they do, but only slightly more obscure than moby. which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't know if you're really looking deep into the genre with those folks, if that's what you're interested in.

the one thing you have to remember with electronic music is that THERE'S FUCKING SHITLOADS OF IT, and a good NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of it is crap, or identically arranged. there are standout tracks in every genre, and there's also loads and loads of poo. don't get discouraged if, say, you step into a record store and start putting stuff on indiscriminately and hate like, 3 out of 4 tracks. you probably hate them because they are bad.

i'd second, heavily, the aphex ambient collection -- that's a great album -- and the early autechre recommendation (early autechre is great!). You don't necessarily have to go straight to being an arrogant electronic music nerd, i mean, you don't have to grow a beard and get glasses or anything, but i think you'll ultimately find it more rewarding to listen to the non-dance stuff. Although I *do* love me some straight-forward trance and prog house and the occasional jump-up jungle, it's not anything I listen to outside a club anymore.

for recommendations slightly off the beaten track, I'd try flipping through a Grooves magazine.

man, i'm an asshole
posted by fishfucker at 2:25 PM on October 29, 2004

oh and check out this guide to electronic music to get a sense of what different genres sound like, then go to your local record store and ask for recommendations -- after they stop laughing at the fact that you're a massive happy hardcore fan (yes, it's true, i used to play happy hardcore because I am a dork), they will probably hand you a stack of records to go through if they know their shit.
posted by fishfucker at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2004

Khonnor! (",)
posted by mr.marx at 4:37 PM on October 29, 2004

Another thing to keep in mind with "commercially available" electronic music is that sometimes Sturgeon's Law can even apply to a single album from the same artist, in that many artists are still locked into the old corporate model of record making. Push the hit single, sell it on an album stuffed with crap.

If you like Chemical Bros, The Crystal Method and Fatboy slim, you'll probably really like Delusions of Grandeur by Hardkiss, which I still find myself playing even though it's been out for 8 years. Check out John Kelly's DJ sets. Almost all of this stuff is what most call breakbeat, some of it like Crystal Method and Hardkiss would be west coast breakbeat. You might also like Portishead, but you might not. It's pretty moody and downtempo.

My current favorites: Plaid. Boards of Canada. Rino Cerrone. Casino vs. Japan. Mark Farina. Up, Bustle & Out. Surgeon. Lexaunculpt. Amon Tobin. Pthalocyanine. Danilo Vigorito. Lisa Carbon Trio. ASCII Disco. Not Breathing. Cari Lekebusch. Commie64. Jega. Ninjatunes. goto80. Neuropolitique. Thievery Corporation. Nullsleep. Hexstatic. DJ Food. Marufura Fufunjiru. Wagonchrist (AKA Luke Vibert).

And so much more. Argh. I'm just pulling artist names up at random that I find myself replaying often. Email me if you have any questions, jonmc. Or want a custom sampler disc.

I love electronic and experimental music. The really good stuff communicates with it's own invented language, but that's true of almost all good music, and I listen to that as well.
posted by loquacious at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2004

One thing, quite accessible, that nobody has mentioned here yet is BT's ESCM. If you like Moby, you'll probably like BT, and of his albums I prefer ESCM.

And for an old-skool recommendation, you know, I can't resist Tangerine Dream's Exit. It sounds a bit dated, but it's still really quite good. I'm quite a fan of TD's early-to-mid-80s output, that featuring the Froese/Franke/Schmoelling lineup.
posted by kindall at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2004

FFWD's sole (s/t) album is good. Features a bona-fide guitar hero.
posted by kenko at 6:58 PM on October 30, 2004

my current heavy rotation:

autechre - tri repetae
orchestral/industrial creepiness. not as accessible as incunabula or amber but just plain better when the album as a whole is considered. this is before they get super weird.

fizzarum - monochrome plural
glitchy snap crackle fizz echoey melodic stuff by a bunch of russian guys.

phoenecia - brown out
creepy ambience by guys that did some amazing electro stuff under the name of soul oddity.

telefon tel aviv - fahrenheit fair enough
melodic electronica with the occasional r2d2 solo of squelchy modem noises.

skalpel - skalpel
ninjatunes-style nu jazz like neckro23's description of amon tobin but lighter with less dsp, less agressive beats.
posted by juv3nal at 9:15 PM on October 30, 2004

If you can find it, I highly recommend Matmos 'The West'. It's electronica that uses traditional instruments. It's a great album. I also second The Orb, Amon Tobin and Squarepusher. You might want to start with early electronic pioneers like the Silver Apples.
posted by snez at 12:46 AM on October 31, 2004

I see you have two Talking Heads tracks in there jonmc - not so much an oasis in a desert as a thimble-full of holy-water in an apocalypse.

A minimal shock to your system:

Boards of Canada - music has the right to children;
Brian Eno - Another Green World;
***Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush of Ghosts;***
Fripp & Eno - No Pussyfooting;
The Art of Noise - Who's Afraid of the Art Of Noise?
posted by Blue Stone at 7:40 AM on October 31, 2004

Response by poster: I see you have two Talking Heads tracks in there jonmc - not so much an oasis in a desert as a thimble-full of holy-water in an apocalypse.

Geez. I din't think my collection would be considered that bad, Blue Stone. A lot of it is stuff you probably don't recognize, but might like, such as the '60's garage rock, old soul and funk, pre-war blues, and rockabilly.

But I thank everybody for the suggestions and will work on obtaining these songs through completely legal means.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on October 31, 2004

Alright, I'm posting what will undoubtedly be redundant choices only because a lot of people seem to have listed their favorite artists instead of answering the question. As someone who indoctrinated a highly resistant girlfriend, I can tell you how I did it.

Trip hop mainly: Massive Attack, Portishead (Live in NYC is a good start) and Morcheeba. She has a thing for stuff she can sign along with though, so that skewed my direction a bit. After that I busted out my fav, Underworld (their live album is a good start) and then went with ass-shaking stuff: Basement Jaxx (first album is best), Fatboy Slim, Propellerheads, Crystal Method, etc.

That's about as far as I ever pushed it. Ranking her top 3 in descending order, I would say: Basement Jaxx, Morcheeba, Massive Attack. I haven't gone further because it's a waste of time. She's never going to dig the glitch stuff or the really hardcore things I love (e.g., Shitmat, Squarepusher, Kid 606) and I'm ok with that.
posted by yerfatma at 9:31 AM on October 31, 2004

Oh yeah, Banco de Gaia. I quite like Big Men Cry. Again, fairly accessible. Even got a Pink Floyd moment on track 2.
posted by kindall at 9:47 AM on October 31, 2004

posted by Blue Stone at 10:28 AM on October 31, 2004

A few additional suggestions:

Felix Da Housecat - Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever

U.S.E. - United State Of Electronica

RJD2 - The Horror

Peplab - Drive

Armand Van Helden - New York A Mix Odyssey

Timo Maas - Loud

IQU - Sun Q

Scanty Sandwitch - Because Of You [+ upcoming album]

Big Bad Baz - [various remixes/mashups]
posted by darainwa at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2004

Response by poster: Reporting back:

Crystal Method, Aphex Twin: pretty damn good, and not at all what I expected.

Spiritualized: excellent.

Propellerheads & Chemical Brothers: fuckin' badass and my favorites so far.

Underworld & Boards of Canada: interesting but not grabbing me as much, might take a few more listens.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2004

"10 Amazing Years" by Jason Forrest is a fun track that samples the Who's "Who Are You"
posted by todd at 3:16 PM on October 31, 2004

no-one has mentioned groove armada. maybe that's hardly electronica, but given your comments above, you might give them a try. listen to a few tracks, as they can vary a bit.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2004

My favorites:

Brian Eno (you know)
VNV Nation (awesome, not sure how to pigeonhole them)
Apoptygma Berzerk - "pop"
Aphex Twin (some of)
Assemblage 23 - industrial with a depressive bent
ATB - melodic techno? haven't updated on him in a while
Bassic - louder ambient
Biosphere, Mystical Sun - ambient
Chicane, Gridlock - I only have 1 track of each =( but they're good
Icon of Coil - pop-ish industrial
Informatik - noisy industrial
Saint Etienne
Tomoyasu Hotei
VAST (not sure if this qualifies)
303infinity, Aura, Ayla - techno junk
posted by azazello at 4:32 PM on October 31, 2004

Last proper Groove Armada album would definitely be worth checking out, jonmc.
posted by yerfatma at 7:19 PM on October 31, 2004

jonmc, it sounds like you have some of the same musical formatting that I do, so I think you'll find a lot to enjoy in the electronic realm. Here's my getting-your-feet-wet list"

Eno/Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
Thievery Corporation - Mirror Conspiracy
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
Crystal Method - Vegas

Most of that list isn't really considered "pure" electronica, but that's what makes 'em ideal for the beginner.

If, down the road, you find yourself looking for the real poop in ambient, try these:

Aix Em Klemm
Shuttle 358
Higher Intellegence Agency

Good luck! And if you could post or send me a primer on the jug band sound, I would love it. I'm currently listening to Memphis Jug Band, and I need more!
posted by squirrel at 8:28 PM on October 31, 2004

If you like the Propellerheads, possibly: Luke Slater, Wireless
posted by yerfatma at 6:20 AM on November 1, 2004

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