Looking for repetitive music of a certain sort.
November 15, 2015 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Hello there. I'm looking for music with certain attributes. I want it to be electronic (is that even the word?), with a decent amount of energy but not too fast, and most of all, repetitive. Prefer no vocals but if they are repetitive and as monotone as possible that's fine too.

I don't mean that some theme in the track repeats every now and then, I mean the vast majority of the track is the same series of notes over and over again, maybe varying in pitch or whatever. Other sounds can come in and out, I don't care, but the repetition is very important. I'm not well-educated in music, nor am I very well rounded in my listening habits, so I don't have the right words for genres and the technical details. I'd love recommendations from people on specific tracks rather than genres or artists.

I mostly listen to metal, country, opera, baroque, classical, and, uh, whatever kind of music the Twilight soundtracks are. This other sort of music is very outside my usual listening habits and it sets my mind in a different place, which is very helpful for writing.

Here's a few examples of what I am looking for:

Ahrix - Nova (non-Youtube link)
M|O|O|N - Delay (non-Youtube link)
Thunderheist - Jerk It <- this one is pushing it but it's repetitive enough to scratch the itch
posted by Sternmeyer to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Oh dude I think you might love Kraftwerk.
posted by phunniemee at 8:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

To get you started, I like Trans Europe Express the best. My dad will listen to Autobahn on repeat for literally hours.
posted by phunniemee at 8:07 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Early Philip Glass might work.
posted by crocomancer at 8:09 AM on November 15, 2015

Argente by Floating Points is very repetitive and very good.

Seconding crocomancer's Philip Glass suggestion. He's not electronic (he uses an organ, does that count?) but definitely fills the repetitive requirement. Try The Grid.
posted by zsazsa at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2015

Seconding Kraftwerk.

Also seconding Philip Glass. Glass, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Steve Reich are known as minimalist composers, and much of their work intentionally involves a lot of repetition using very few notes. Depending on the piece, they use a variety of sound sources, but even when they use actual instruments, it can sound fairly "electronic" because of the instruments they use and the structure of the works.

Robert Fripp has also produced some work that might fit the bill, especially his "Frippertronics" pieces, which involve looping and manipulating and combining short guitar passages.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:38 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

You might like Tuvan throat singing.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:48 AM on November 15, 2015

My electronic, but to go off of what soundguy99 says, my recommendation would be Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians.
posted by Zephyrial at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You definitely need to check out the soundtrack to The Knick. It meets pretty much all your criteria.
posted by delight at 9:07 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should listen to the rest of the Hotline Miami 1 and 2 soundtracks, if that M.O.O.N. one does it for you. They're in heavy circulation in our car.
posted by hollyholly at 9:12 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Only partially electronic, but: Neu! "HalloGallo"
posted by HeroZero at 9:31 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

drive by by the necks might work.

or modul 41 17 from nik bartch's ronin.

nils frahm is similar to the already mentioned philip glass.

(technically i think these are more jazz than electronica, and may be more complex than you're looking for, sorry)
posted by andrewcooke at 9:51 AM on November 15, 2015

Response by poster: delight: this is perfect. Thank you.

hollyholly: I didn't know this track was from there, I have it as an mp3 from a source unknown. Just bought the soundtracks on Steam.

Still looking for more recommendations, and thanks so far.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2015

The Chase by Giorgio Moroder
posted by rollick at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2015

If you like the Reich samples you hear upthread, also check out CFCF's recent EP: Music For Objects. It's electronic but hits that repetitive sweet spot.

Also, you should get into minimal electronic music. The Field's first album, From Here We Go Sublime (2007) is worth looking into.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:02 AM on November 15, 2015

I think the word you're looking for is "minimal."

Minimal techno. Try Abdulla Rashim - Weldiya

Minimalist classical music as mentioned. Such as Terry Riley - In C

Betwixt the two is Dawn of Midi

And this is so simple and absolutely beautiful - Chris Hughes - Slow Motion Blackbird
posted by Erberus at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2015

minimal house mix
posted by andrewcooke at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Check out this track from Hybrid.

Also check out Infected Mushroom.
posted by gregr at 12:33 PM on November 15, 2015

I reckon you might like F.U.S.E. — Richie Hawtin before he became Plastikman, which is also awesome, but quite a lot less melodic.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:51 PM on November 15, 2015

I really like certain types of drum and bass as background music when I'm trying to focus on something but maintain energy, and it sounds like you might too if it's not too fast and rhythmic. It IS very repetitive. Try browsing Bass Blog for light, deep, or liquid. (liquid is more melodic and more likely to have vocals).

Note that some of the mixes have djs announcing the tracks which I find extremely annoying/distracting, but most of them don't.

In a more minimal techno-y vein, Donnacha Costello was linked over on the blue a little while back and it could be right up your alley.
posted by ropeladder at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2015

Librae Solidi Denari
posted by pompomtom at 3:55 PM on November 15, 2015

Have you read the boring music thread? I recommended Tycho there and I will do the same here. Honestly I could not really pick one track to recommend because they're all so samey. I have the albums Awake and Dive playing on repeat right now. So soothing.
posted by clavicle at 5:35 PM on November 15, 2015

My favorite BBC countdowns compilation. I listen to it on headphones when I need to concentrate on finishing something.
posted by bentley at 8:26 PM on November 15, 2015

SomaFM DroneZone:
Droning atmospheric space music and ambient textures with minimal beats.
posted by aeighty at 8:31 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seefeel - Spangle
posted by zchyrs at 7:15 AM on November 16, 2015

Andrea Parker
posted by hz37 at 7:23 AM on November 16, 2015

I think sets from here might scratch your itch. Seconding the Richie Hawtin recommendation--you might also like Misstress Barbara.

Basically what you're looking for is techno, minimal techno, some of the more minimal ends of trance, and what is being called EDM these days.

Some names to look up:

Martin Garrix
Josh Wink
Carl Cox

If you go look at Ishkur's somewhat outdated guide and start by poking around the house/techno/trance sections you might be able to narrow down a bit more what you're liking. This newer guide to electronic genres may also help, though it's less complete.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2015

Yet again I find myself recommending Steve Reich's underrated Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2015

Oval’s 94 Diskont is perhaps the foundational document for glitch music and is exactly this - a few bars of melody repeated and repeated and repeated.

The drone releases put out by Saito Kojo on apparently-defunct netlabel Resting Bell might be right up your alley. A few bars, endlessly repeated at different intensities. I'm not even sure if you could call them melodies.

In a more minimal techno-y vein, Donnacha Costello was linked over on the blue a little while back and it could be right up your alley.

Costello has recently released two new albums recorded on a Buchla Music Easel - a tool known for providing “complex control over simple sounds”. Both albums are essentially just simple melodies pumped through an array of filters and variations: Love From Dust, Stay Perfectly Still. I prefer the latter, but both are great for work music.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:21 AM on December 2, 2015

You might like Canto Ostinato by Simeon Ten Holt. It has been arranged for a variety of instruments if you want to hear tones other than piano. Also, a previous Ask for similar minimalist music.
posted by a moisturizing whip at 9:10 AM on December 15, 2015

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