Non-repetitive electronic music?
August 30, 2010 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me non-repetitive electronic music.

I've been getting into electronic music recently, but whenever I go looking for something new, it seems too easy to find music that just repeats the same 8 bars throughout the entire song. Help me find music that breaks this stereotype.

Some examples of what I like now:

Heavyweight by Infected Mushroom
Nalepa Monday Remix by The Glitch Mob
We are the People remixed by Station X

But I'd rather they be guidelines rather than restrictions.
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Autechre's Anti EP has a track designed to be non-repetitive, so as to avoid breaking UK's anti-rave laws.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Mouse on Mars
Four Tet
Amon Tobin
posted by John Cohen at 8:15 PM on August 30, 2010

It depends how hard you want your electronic music. Bands like Air are considered electronic by many and their stuff is mostly non-repetitive and quite melodic. But it's not house, trance, or anything some people would call true "electronic" music (though vocal trance is worth a look since it's melodic).

Some specific suggestions:

Justice. (Their whole album "Cross" is like this, though some tracks are instrumental, more like typical electronic music.), Calvin Harris, Paul Oakenfold, Rob Dougan (did the Matrix soundtrack), or if you want something really "hard" Boys Noize.
posted by wackybrit at 8:16 PM on August 30, 2010

Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Plaid, Autechre, Deadmau5 (might be a little too repetitive for you, but I find it on the more interesting listen side of house rather than just the untz-untz-untz side)
posted by knowles at 8:23 PM on August 30, 2010

The Orb' s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld changed my life.

Then U.F. Orb

Then Orbus Terrarum.

After that they start to risk repetitive.

Their live stuff is the stuff of dreams.
posted by iurodivii at 8:25 PM on August 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Orb' s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld changed my life.
This. And Brian Eno.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2010

All this stuff is somewhat repetitive, if not the standard eight-bar/four-to-the-floor march. You might be interested in electronic music further afield--try some electro-acoustic free improvisation, like ISO (Ichiraku Yoshimitsu, Sachiko M, and Otomo Yoshihide) and the duo of Marcus Schmickler and Thomas Lehn, if you want to get further out...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:45 PM on August 30, 2010

posted by dydecker at 9:18 PM on August 30, 2010

Some (free) netlabel electronica that isn't repetitive:

This. (short tracks make it hard to repeat things)
Or this. (bleep bleep)
Or this. (melodic with vocals. pretty.)
posted by ropeladder at 9:27 PM on August 30, 2010

Brian Eno has a new album out at the start of November.
posted by Artw at 10:11 PM on August 30, 2010

Jan Jelinek
posted by asuprenant at 10:21 PM on August 30, 2010

fischerspooner? sort of?
posted by palacewalls at 11:04 PM on August 30, 2010

If you like the Glitch Mob and Nalepa, you might be interested in a whole lot of LA-centric, hip-hop influenced electronic music that is currently coming out. Trying checking out:

Flying Lotus
Daedelus (mentioned upthread)
Nosaj Thing

There's a lot of stuff out there that could described as non-repetitive, in a variety of styles. It depends how far from the beat-driven genres of electronic music you're willing to venture. There's stuff like Venetian Snares and Squarepusher, which emphasizes fast, hard beats with lots of rhythmic variety. Stuff like Autechre that stretches notions of what rhythm even means. You can get into very arrhythmic and beatless stuff, like Oval or AGF, but based on your examples, that doesn't sound like what you're looking for.
posted by cathodeheart at 11:46 PM on August 30, 2010

posted by Slyfen at 4:00 AM on August 31, 2010

Michael Stearns "Planetary Unfolding" - Deep space music, no beats, no recognizable melodies
Jean Michel Jarre "Oxygen" - Sort of a mixture of classical and pop forms applied to synths
posted by doctor_negative at 7:24 AM on August 31, 2010

The Flashbulb
posted by arjuan at 9:53 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Aphex Twin.

Also Stockhausen, Reich, Boulez, Xenakis, et al., but these are sort of a different thing, it seems, then what you're looking for (though still highly recommended).
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:11 AM on August 31, 2010

One thing to consider is that a lot of dance music tracks (especially techno) are very repetitive in isolation because they're designed to be used in a mix. Even if you have heard individual techno tracks that basically loop and do nothing, why not try listening to them in context to see what can be achieved.

There are loads of great DJ mixes out there, but for an extreme example of what I'm talking about, I can think of nothing better than: Richie Hawtin - DE9: Closer to the Edit, from back in 2001, which takes a lot (over a hundred) of these super repetitive tracks and mixes them together to form an ever shifting rhythmic soundscape. Still, it's pretty percussive with only dashes of melody, so still might not be your thing.
posted by iivix at 11:53 AM on August 31, 2010

"Electronic" and "repetitive" are kinda subjective, but maybe Pogo or Mocean Worker? Both are remix/sampler artists really so maybe that's not what you want.
posted by chairface at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2010

I see a lot of recommendations here, but not many specifics.

Squarepusher's catalog is mostly repetitive. But I would focus on his jazz period, starting with Music Is Rotted One Note, perhaps his most chaotic and moody work.

Early Aphex Twin is repetitive (the era of Analogue Bubblebath and Ambient Selections releases particularly), but the later stuff is more organic, particularly starting with ...I Care Because You Do and Donkey Rhubarb, which show him starting to write richer string-based compositions.

If you want a taste of music concrete, dive right in with Xenakis' La L├ęgende d'Eer. If you want to hear some more old school electronic music, pick up a copy of Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach, where she renders classical compositions through her then-novel Moog synth.

These days, the further away from rhythm you get, the closer you get to experimental chaos, noise, and generative compositions. A genre I used to call Norwegian Noise includes artists like Alexander Rishaug and Marius Watz. I would recommend Rishaug's Possible Landscape. Along the same lines, I pointed to Autechre's Anti EP, which is sort of a conceptual ancestor to the generative or algorithmic compositions in EP7 and Confield. Autechre's earlier works are a lot more repetitive (albeit highly listenable).

Brian Eno is electronic music, technically speaking, but more in the "ambient" direction. His collaborations with guitarist Robert Fripp are excellent and more spirited, particularly (No Pussyfooting). Fripp's own "Frippertronic" looping excursions are worthwhile. I'd recommend 1999.

The Orb is more DJ-focused ambient, what used to be called "chill-out" room music. It's repetitive, though not in the usual 4/4 techno style. I'd start with Live 93 or perhaps Orbus Terrarum.

A more melodic approach can be found in the video-game music or "chiptune" genre. Take a listen to YMCK's Family Music or stuff from Minibosses to get familiar with the idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2010

I'm a big fan of Violet Vision -- two samples here.
posted by spiderskull at 11:50 PM on August 31, 2010

I think Apparat might suit your taste. He has a knack for writing constantly shifting progressive techno. The album 'Orchestra of Bubbles' with Ellen Allien is one of my favorites. Check it out:

Ellen Allien & Apparat - Do Not Break
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Way Out

posted by moteldemoka at 9:46 PM on September 9, 2010

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