soulful electronic music
January 17, 2017 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Looking for "soulful" electronic music recommendations

I'm looking for electronic music that can be described as "soulful"; this doesn't mean that it necessarily has soulful singing voices (although that's great) but has a soulful "feel". If you're not sure what I mean by that, I'll also just take recs. for electronic music that is good, whether it's artists or song titles. I like both fast and slow tempo. I really like this type of music, but don't know many artists.

Examples of stuff I mean/like (not even sure if these are strictly "electronic":

The XX
Fatboy Slim

These are mostly from my "era"; looking to update and find more good artists (don't need to be current though)
posted by bearette to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Yazoo! They're a new wave band from the early 80s that made music that's basically soul played on a synthesizer:

Also from the same era, the Eurythmics - they're mostly familiar for Sweet Dreams but they made a lot of music in that vein:
posted by LSK at 12:39 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tackhead added a vocalist for friendly as a hand grenade. He's pretty soulful. Also 9 lazy 9. Sharpshooters.
posted by lester at 12:41 PM on January 17, 2017

Best answer: Not sure if you know about the genre trip-hop or not, but you definitely want to deep dive into it if you have not. It's sort of a dead genre, having been essentially absorbed into pop music, but there's plenty of stuff to dig around in. I don't want to overload you with albums, so I'd say if you haven't heard Tricky's "Maxinquaye" definitely give it a listen.

Also FKA twigs blew my damn mind the first time I heard her because she's doing now essentially what Portishead was doing twenty years ago.
posted by griphus at 12:41 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together (1972)
posted by hydrophonic at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Does Pretty Lights do it for you?
posted by cmoj at 12:47 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Perhaps not technically electronica, as I just found out that The Herbalizer is not one dude who is a DJ but a duo with a touring band, but I feel like some of their stuff occupies the same space as some Fatboy Slim stuff. Particularly soulful when Jessica Darling appears on a track.
posted by cmoj at 12:52 PM on January 17, 2017

Bobby Womack
James Blake
Everything But The Girl
London Grammar

There's lots of compilations of Deep House, Lounge, and Chill type electronic music that will have some stuff that is likely to please you. (random example)
posted by Candleman at 12:55 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

In a perhaps-unlikely sounding suggestion, the new Lambchop record might do the trick.
posted by robself at 12:59 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hip-hop that's inspired by soul is really huge right now.

You would definitely be into people making instrumental beats, like:
Thelonious Martin
Fess Grandiose

You might be into people who also rap/sing, depending on whether you're ok with vocals:
Anderson .Paak
Jamila Woods
Elton Aura
BJ the Chicago Kid

posted by Juliet Banana at 12:59 PM on January 17, 2017 [8 favorites]

I feel like I basically collect "soulful" electronic tracks in my spare time so this is my bread and butter - that said, your description/artists are pretty broad so not sure if our ideas of "soulful" are aligned. So here's a few recos that might fit what you're looking for and if it's the right direction, let me know and I can provide much, much. much more like this:

posted by windbox at 1:05 PM on January 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'll throw out black moth super rainbow - Dreamsicle Bomb.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:27 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Avalanches - Because I'm Me
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2017

LTJ Bukem might fit the bill.
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 1:34 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Theo Parrish
posted by neroli at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

You will LOOOOOOVE Massive Attack. You can start at the beginning and experience the change in their sound. I also love Tricky's Maxinquaye
posted by kbbbo at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Going in a bit broad based just on those artists you've mentioned

Massive Attack
Emiliana Torrini
posted by lmfsilva at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2017

Massive Attack
Supreme Beings of Leisure
Some Grimes

Edit: Heh, triple ditto on Massive Attack
posted by Constant Reader at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2017

As far as soulful tinges on electronic bases, my area of expertise is where it starts to cross over into a little R&B. So, that being said, I'd like to second FKA twigs! She's lovely. Some of her stuff is admittedly a little hit or miss, but when it hits for me, it really does. Listen to that outro especially – it vibes hard. Along those lines, you might like: Alina Baraz, who's a little more pop R&B; Ta-Ku, who goes in a more instrumental hip-hop direction, and Sango, who's a frequent collaborator with him.

And, yeah, on preview, fourthing the Massive Attack. It's seminal stuff, and a little bit older, but you might find it's your goldmine.
posted by a good beginning at 1:43 PM on January 17, 2017

Allow me to introduce you to The Knife.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:49 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Theo Parrish , and his young protege Jay Daniel has got it going on too, though in a more minimal fashion.

Explore the Stones Throw catalog too, especially the mix albums from Madlib.

Burial certainly belongs on this thread too.

"These Words" by Martyn/dBridge always gets me.
posted by bendybendy at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Electronic" means a lot of things. But my mind went right to Moodyman/Kenny Dixon, Jr.

Anotha Black Sunday
Freaky Motherfucker

Lots of his live sets are up online, too.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:27 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here are some more recent artists you might like:
- Flying Lotus - strongly recommended. Try Zodiac Shit and the album Until the Quiet Comes (especially this amazing video).
- Taylor Mcferrin - if you like Flying Lotus, I think you will really like this. Decisions is a good first song to try, I think.
- A/T/O/S
- Bonobo
- The Field
- Fever Ray
- The Knife
- James Blake - try Retrograde first
- Odesza - more on the dancey side
- Pogo - more uptempo & happy; has elements in common with Fatboy Slim

Have you fully mined the 90s? I bet there's a lot of stuff out there that you haven't heard yet that you will like. I highly recommend checking out Big Sonic Heaven, which started as a radio show in 90s Detroit and now runs as a podcast online. It features all manner of trip-hop, shoegaze, and electronic goodness -- including stuff from the 90s as well as more recent things you might enjoy. If you're not already intimately familiar with the names Morcheeba, Lamb, and Tricky, then get thee to Big Sonic Heaven.

If you're on Spotify, here are a couple of playlists that might feed you some good ideas. If you start listening/marking some of these as favorites, Spotify will start to feed you similar stuff in your auto-magically generated "Discover Weekly" playlist and you can branch out from there.
- Ninja Tune/Trip-Hop/Chill-Out
- Electronic Concentration

Genres to search on Soundcloud, Spotify, or similar:
- Trip-hop (to find artists like Portishead & Massive Attack, Fourtet)
- Shoegaze, dream pop, chillwave, ambient or ambient pop, downtempo (to find artists like The XX, Moby, Portishead, Fourtet)
- Big beat (to find artists like Fatboy Slim)

Non-Spotify resources for finding more music:
- The Music Map (input an artist, see similar ones)
- Gnoosic (input 3 bands you like, get back 1 recommendation)
- Ishskur's guide to electronic music (read one man's cranky but hilarious breakdown of genres; listen to samples and find genres you like)
posted by ourobouros at 3:02 PM on January 17, 2017 [13 favorites]

There's a lot of dnb that has a very soulful feel. (These are all older too)
Alex Reece - Feel the Sunshine , Candles
Goldie - State of Mind , Inner City Pressure
Roni Size - New Forms

Newer...FKA Twigs for sure...maybe Janelle Monae?

Less soulful in vocal approach but maybe with the warmth...
Peaking Lights?
Brightblack Morning Light ?
posted by tardigrade at 3:04 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding Bonobo. Simon Green is fantastic.
Maybe also Tycho.
posted by pipeski at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Going to make my way slowly through these. I've heard some of Massive Attack and like them. Been listening to FKA Twigs and Tricky- like them a lot!

This list is a great resource- I will keep checking back.
posted by bearette at 4:00 PM on January 17, 2017

Some of my faves:

Nathan Fake - The Sky Was Pink always gets me

Orbital - Halcyon On and On

Squarepusher - Beep Street

Underworld - Dirty Epic

Layo and Bushwacka - Love Story
posted by lafemma at 4:48 PM on January 17, 2017

Thievery Corportation
posted by humboldt32 at 4:57 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The 90s were indeed a rich decade for this type of sound and there were a number of acts that achieved some amount of exposure but never really fully broke through.

The Moodswings had one big success that put them into "one-hit wonder" territory but they produced several very enjoyable but underrated albums.

Fitting your "electronic" criterion less well but with a related sound, Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart had a similar one-hit trajectory but produced some other interesting tracks. I would categorize their output as more uneven, however.
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:11 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by neushoorn at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Without repeating any of the above...

SBTRKT (I particularly like tracks like that that feature Sampha on vocals).

I keep coming back to the Mala in Cuba album.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Boards of Canada yet.
posted by fabius at 1:34 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh hey lots my faves mentioned here: Twigs, SOHN, Glass Animals.
I'll raise you Jamie Woon.
posted by Ness at 2:29 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a bit surprised no one's mentioned Groove Armada. Big fan of their album Vertigo.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:26 AM on January 18, 2017

Seconding Thievery Corp. You may've heard "Lebanese Blonde," which gained exposure through the Garden State soundtrack, and it's a good example of the band's peak-period sound. Definitely electronic + soulful. Dip into their first three albums: Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi (1996), The Mirror Conspiracy (2000), The Richest Man in Babylon (2002).

You mentioned the amazing Portishead. I'm also nthing Massive Attack, Tricky, Roni Size and adding Up, Bustle & Out and Smith & Mighty…you can't go wrong with triphop (though Size is drum'n'bass) bands out of Bristol in the '90s for that blend.
posted by the sobsister at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2017

Zero7 (aka 90s cafe soundtrack), 4hero
posted by yoHighness at 5:36 AM on January 19, 2017

How about:

Cibo Matto
Butter 08
pizzicato five
posted by humboldt32 at 10:14 AM on January 19, 2017

Lots of great music on this thread. One from me:

I don't know if this fits your bill or not, but if you like Four Tex and The xx, check out Jamie xx, who is the DJ for The xx and good buds with Four Tet. Specifically this song they did with Romy from The xx.
posted by sauril at 2:44 PM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

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