Electronic music recommendations
February 3, 2010 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Seeking artsy electronic music recommendations like Moby and Air.

I want artsy electronic music recommendations.

I like all of Moby's music, and a lot of Air. They sound more "musical" to me, more cohesive while still being experimental with sound. While the song can rock hard, I'm trying to avoid crossovers with hip-hop.

Lyrics/no lyrics don't matter to me.

I do *NOT* want anything like The Chemical Brothers or Ghostland Observatory. To me, these sound like someone doing the electronic version of playing water glasses, too messy and unorganized to my ear.
posted by Dukat to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
Check out BT, particularly his latest two albums, "This Binary Universe" and "These Hopeful Machines."

The latter just came out two days ago and already people are off the wall about it which I can definitely understand after listening to the album preview. The man is rightfully considered a musical genius.
posted by Elminster24 at 10:09 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Boards of Canada for one.
posted by bigmusic at 10:17 PM on February 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

Zero7, Royksopp, The Orb, Massive Attack, Orbital, Beth Orton.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fever Ray - Makes you feel like you're listening to some cutting-edge, avant garde shit, but it's melodic enough to enjoy unpretentiously.
posted by eggplantplacebo at 10:27 PM on February 3, 2010

Amon Tobin---check out the album "Supermodified". You won't regret it.
posted by tss at 10:30 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

The inimitable Stereolab
posted by pompomtom at 10:34 PM on February 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

You would love, love, love Ulrich Schnauss. Here's one example. Here's another.

Also: Apparat. Telefon Tel Aviv.
posted by setanor at 10:44 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Let's see. How about The Field, Fila Brazillia, Four Tet, or The Future Sound of London?
posted by aubilenon at 11:15 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding BT and Amon Tobin. Adding Portishead, Delerium, and possibly Mandalay to the list. You might also try Amorphous Androgynous, though I'm not sure it's *quite* what you're looking for.
posted by MuChao at 11:22 PM on February 3, 2010

Lusine, and other artists on Ghostly International.

I think Luomo is amazing.

Trentemoller (Try "Miss you" & "Always Something Better")

Junior Boys

A whole bunch of artists on Morr Music.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:25 PM on February 3, 2010

2nd Royksopp. Maybe Ladytron?
posted by Gilbert at 11:29 PM on February 3, 2010

adding: have you gone backward any? Some of the early New Order might fit your prescription.
posted by Gilbert at 11:31 PM on February 3, 2010

Juno Reactor, Delerium
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:12 AM on February 4, 2010

I think people are naming a lot of good old standbys. Part of that, I think, is because Moby and Air are kind of from a bygone era in electronica; I don't know if you're mentioning that era intentionally because that's what you like, or because you don't really know beyond it.

In either case, there's a lot of incredibly cool stuff going on right now, particularly in house music. Over the last three years, some really interesting progressive-y experimental house house has been released. Here are three albums I would highly recommend; they're very melodic and sonically interesting, often even lush.

  • Gui Boratto, Chromophobia
  • [2007]

    This disc was a hugely popular crossover hit; unlike most electronica/house disks, it actually caught the ears of the indie scene, and a lot of them (Pitchfork, for example) reviewed it highly. It well deserves all that adulation; it's interesting, often quite beautiful, and uses its syncopated rhythm in conjunction with very well-crafted melodies which are rare for a house disc. In particular, if you've ever enjoyed New Order - or even if you haven't - you will almost certainly love the excellent track "Beautiful Life," an awesome happy-clubbing anthem if I've ever heard one.

  • The Field, Yesterday and Today [2009]

  • Another crossover hit, Yesterday and Today is Swedish musician The Field's second disc – he's influenced by glitch, the exploration of electronic errors and noises, but he mixes strange samples of other things into wholly new creations. These new creations usually sound nothing like the DJ-esque mashings of samples and influences you may be used to; they're their own beautiful, sometimes melodic creations. Check out, for example, the excellent cover of the old hit by the Korgis, "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime;" you can quite clearly notice the aspects which have been lifted from elsewhere, but they're so seamlessly integrated electronically that it's a new creation of laid-back stuff which reminds me a little of Air in tone. That's why I recommend it.

  • DJ Sprinkles, Midtown 120 Blues

  • This is the more obscure of the three, but in a lot of ways I like it best. DJ Sprinkles produces a very lush, shimmering atmosphere which amazingly fits the title of the album perfectly, though it sounds nothing like a street uptown. It's also the most intellectual of the three discs I'm recommending here; Sprinkles is concerned with what house means, with its history in the lives of those who had no other better expression for their sexualities, for their racial and social identities, for the people they were and the people they wanted to be. He sets this tone quite clearly in the sonic essay which prefaces the album, "Midtown 120 Intro." There are some banging house beats on this disc, but DJ Sprinkles has the ability to pull back into an introspective chillout tone. I highly recommend this beautiful and interesting album. If you dig drum-n-bass-n-piano-styled electronic beats - what Sprinkles calls 'fagjazz' - then you will love it.
    posted by koeselitz at 12:18 AM on February 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

    Sorry, Midtown 120 Blues is from late 2008.
    posted by koeselitz at 12:19 AM on February 4, 2010

    Oh man, Luomo! Now I gotta do L's. These guys are good too: Lamb, Lemon Jelly, Luke Vibert, a different track by Luomo
    posted by aubilenon at 12:19 AM on February 4, 2010

    Royksopp, Amon Tobin, Ulrich Schnauss, John Hopkins, William Orbit, Zero 7, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, Orb, Orbital, Gui Boratto, Phonat, Trentemoller, FC Kahuna, Mint Royal, Lemmon Jelly, Sneaker Pimps....
    posted by jnnla at 12:20 AM on February 4, 2010

    Mum. Postal Service. Everything But the Girl.
    posted by gnutron at 12:23 AM on February 4, 2010

    Old standbys indeed! DJ Sprinkles (as Terre Thaemlitz) was on the same label as Moby (Instinct Records) back in '94
    posted by aubilenon at 12:39 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Blonde Redhead, maybe?
    posted by Violet Hour at 12:48 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Lali Puna - Faking the Books * Micronomic
    Schneider TM - Reality Check * The Light 3000
    B. Fleischmann - Play the Big A * Sleep
    ISAN - Cathart * the race to be first home
    The Notwist - Gloomy Planets * This Room
    posted by at the crossroads at 12:58 AM on February 4, 2010

    Vangelis. The "Esper Edition" of the Blade Runner soundtrack ought to be a good start. He's the father of it all really.

    Also check out some of the Berlin dub techno; Maurizio / M4.5 is a good example of the sound - 13 minutes of a perfect loop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgqrWvi9Ils. Rhythm and Sound featuring Tikiman is beauuutiful '90s dub techno, and the only case where allowing an MC near a microphone has proven to be worth it.

    Carl Craig has done some very good "artsy" Detroit house. He's very random, check out a few different ones - Youtube should have something good.

    Then also "Iambic 5 Poetry" by Squarepusher. Beautiful.

    The Mouse on Mars track Albion Rose is a perfect introduction to their kinda random works.

    The grandpa of everything in this thread would be Raymond Scott. "Manhattan Research" and the "Soothing Sounds for Baby" series. Be sure to read up on his story.
    posted by krilli at 1:36 AM on February 4, 2010

    Ulrich Schnauss or Bjork might be to your tastes.
    posted by arcolz at 2:58 AM on February 4, 2010

    Manuel Göttsching - E2-E4
    posted by porn in the woods at 3:03 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Wisp on warp records
    posted by lahersedor at 3:34 AM on February 4, 2010

    Older but still great albums:
    Unlearn from Psykosonik
    Axis Mutatis from The Shamen

    Note that both of those albums represent departures from the techno-heavy previous albums for each of the above groups into more melodic territory so I wouldn't recommend their other albums for what you're looking for.
    posted by reptile at 4:13 AM on February 4, 2010

    You might want to check out the blog motel de moka. A lot of the bands mentioned here--and similar music--are featured in their almost always excellent playlists.
    posted by pasici at 4:21 AM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

    Some of the Fabric discs are great. I love Fabric 12 by Amalgamation of Sounds.

    Death in Vegas are nice too.
    posted by backwards guitar at 4:24 AM on February 4, 2010

    Ms. John Soda
    People Press Play
    posted by Jaltcoh at 4:31 AM on February 4, 2010

    Casino Versus Japan (the pictured album)
    posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:17 AM on February 4, 2010

    Lamb, especially their first self-titled album which is just beautiful.
    posted by seppyk at 5:22 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Also, if you like the Postal Service, definitely check out the amazing song by Styrofoam called "Couches in Alleys." It's similar to the Postal Service (same singer, on guest vocals) but perhaps even more suited to your taste.
    posted by Jaltcoh at 6:54 AM on February 4, 2010

    Thaemlitz/DJ Sprinkles is a bit ambient, a bit "messy". Though great stuff, it might not be what the asker is looking for.

    Future Sound of London is pretty good. Might start with stuff around the Cascade/ISDN period. I would stay away from the Amorphous Androgynous release, which was mostly disowned by the FSOL crew.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:14 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Schrapnell by Isolee
    Beach Party by Air France
    things will never be the same again by jj
    posted by lizbunny at 7:45 AM on February 4, 2010

    how about Enigma? too generic? just me, maybe...
    posted by Redhush at 7:51 AM on February 4, 2010

    Jaga Jazzist
    The Stix
    posted by SarahElizaP at 7:59 AM on February 4, 2010

    More BMSR
    posted by kaseijin at 9:00 AM on February 4, 2010

    Bexar Bexar
    posted by kaseijin at 9:01 AM on February 4, 2010

    Mouse on Mars
    posted by kaseijin at 9:06 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Absolutely not to be missed: Tomas Dvorak's soundtrack to the game Machinarium.

    There's a taster in the form of a free 5-track EP but the album itself is pure, undiluted genius.

    It's free with the game, which is itself a work of art, but the soundtrack stands on its own merits too. As Dvorak explains:

    'It is maybe good to point out, that the music is not totally the same as in the game. It was carefully re-mixed and mastered for the purposes of the “standalone soundtrack”.'
    posted by Acey at 9:06 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Also: the little-known Boom Bip.
    posted by Acey at 9:09 AM on February 4, 2010

    At work so no youtube links. Many I like are already up here.

    Bonobo (esp. Live Sessions)
    Chemical Brothers
    Old Brian Eno
    posted by mai at 9:19 AM on February 4, 2010

    Susumu Hirasawa.
    posted by Lobster Garden at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2010

    Summertime Cowboy by Husky Rescue -- reminds me exactly of Air
    posted by lizbunny at 10:54 AM on February 4, 2010

    Hmm - you've said that you don't like the Chemical Brothers, because to you they sound "too messy and unorganized"; I'd be interested to hear which album(s)/song(s) you've listened to, as in my experience they're usually extremely structured - particularly their early stuff (e.g. Exit Planet Dust).

    Some of the other recommendations on here may well fall foul of the definition used above - for example, Future Sound of London (try Lifeforms, or Environments II) can sometimes throw weird loops/noises into an otherwise soothing and structured song, as do Boards of Canada (Twoism, Music Has The Right To Children)... but both groups are (generally) totally awesome once you give them a chance, and very often you'll notice a structure within what you may originally have thought was just random noise; there's plenty of highly lauded groups who do similar things: Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Radiohead even.

    Some other stuff that (I can't believe) nobody has mentioned yet which may suit:
    2 Bit Pie - 2 Bit Island
    Adam F. - Colours
    Apollo 440 - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub
    Archive - You All Look The Same To Me
    Blue States - Nothing Changes Under The Sun
    Chicane - Behind The Sun
    Fluke - Six Wheels on My Wagon, Risotto, Puppy
    Leftfield - Leftism
    M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us
    Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts
    Primal Scream - Screamadelica
    Quantic - Apricot Morning, The 5th Exotic
    Sabres of Paradise - Haunted Dancehall
    Syntax - Meccano Mind
    Way Out West - Way Out West

    Personally, what I do when I have loads of recommendations like this is to check out the Amazon reviews, maybe see if there's anything on YouTube, and for the ones that it seems likely I'll enjoy, I (cough)download(cough). And listen. And rate in iTunes. And then buy. There's no way that I'd hop off to Amazon on the back of this thread and just drop a few hundred quid. Try before you buy is the way that I reckon DRM should be used for - but that's a separate rant! :)

    Anyway, I'm off to investigate some of the stuff that the others have listed...!
    posted by Chunder at 11:19 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    You could very well be someone who might enjoy Caribou/Manitoba. I'm that kind of person, too!
    posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:00 PM on February 4, 2010

    Squarepusher has some semi-conventional "tunes" but you really have to sift through some rough drillnbass stuff. He's great because his training is as a jazz drummer and bassist so he really has groove. When he wants to. Definitely catch him live, he plays incredible electric bass.

    Port Rhombus

    Red Hot Car

    Come on my Selector ("Let the bass kick.")

    and who could forget...

    Theme from Ernest Borgnine
    posted by supremefiction at 3:08 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

    posted by Demogorgon at 3:14 PM on February 4, 2010

    Current American electronica and associated indie-pop irritates Gen-X-ers, as it uses cheap-ass '80s commodity bleeps-and-bloops that we associate with lazy, crap-pop. Very, very, very few artists use this to its best effect, and none of them have the gospel-choir-meets-orchestra-meets-William-Gibson feel of Moby at his late-'90s best. Gotta go back in time until it comes around agian in another ten years. Orbit, Orbital, Junkie XL, Da Rude, Utah Saints (Mortal Kombat!), DJ Shadow, R2DJ, and, if you can get over the hip-hop aversion, Deltron 3030, otherwise the Instrumental Deltron 3030. Oh, and BT. He's good, fuck him all to hell.
    posted by Slap*Happy at 8:12 PM on February 4, 2010

    Carbon Based Lifeforms.
    posted by Who_Am_I at 5:46 AM on February 5, 2010

    early Magnetic Fields
    To Rococo Rot
    posted by minkll at 7:44 AM on February 5, 2010

    Hey, Dukat, be sure to write back when you've checked out a few of these. This crack team of experts will be able to map your insides a little better based on which of these clicked and which ones didn't ...

    It's an interesting experiment. "Electronic music" is such a big old label. Some of it is good, and then some part of that will be to any given person's taste ...
    posted by krilli at 8:11 AM on February 6, 2010

    Boards of Canada, Younger Brother, Shpongle, M83, Mum, BT's next-to-most-recent album that's full of lullabyes.
    posted by talldean at 12:40 PM on February 6, 2010

    I didn't see Bonobo mentioned

    Really lovely and chilled instrumental breakbeat sort of stuff, with a delicate melancholic undercurrent.

    I'd highly recommend his albums 'Dial M for monkey' and 'Animal Magic.'
    posted by brisbane at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2010

    Plaid, Biosphere, Shuttle 358, Jean Michel Jarre ...
    posted by krilli at 3:48 AM on February 19, 2010

    Tangentially: El Perro del Mar. Beautiful stuff.
    posted by krilli at 3:48 AM on February 19, 2010

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