The Essential Music Library: Electronica

The Essential Music Library project is an attempt to get the many musical minds of the SDMB to sit down and discuss what works are absolutely necessary for a well-stocked musical library. There will be roughly 20 threads detailing a variety of genres so that we can get the depth that would be missing from a single-threaded discussion and the breadth necessary to cover what’s out there.

This thread’s topic is electronica.

Previous threads: Project Planning | Classical | Rock | Jazz | Modern Rock | Blues | Punk/Post-Punk/New Wave | Opera/Choral Music | Rap/Hip-Hop | Gospel

Tricky: Maxinquaye
Massive Attack: Blue Lines and Mezzanine
Prodigy: Music for the Jilted Generation orFat of the Land
Moby: Play
Kraftwerk: Man Machine
Everything But the Girl: Amplified Heart, though it’s not really an electronica album, it does have the remix of “Like the Deserts Miss the Rain” which was a Huge dance hit.

oh, and
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing

VNV Nation - Futureperfect
VNV Nation - Empires

Assemblage 23: Storm
Assemblage 23: Defiance
OceanLab: Sky Falls Down
Tilt: Angry Skies
Tilt: Headstrong
Andain: Beautiful Things
4 Strings: Let it Rain
Neuroticfish: Les Chansons Neurotiques

Autechre - Incunabula
Juno Reactor - Bible of Dreams
Paul Oakenfold - Ibiza
Love Spirals Downwards - Ardor
Enigma - MCMXC A.D.
Delerium - Poem

Computer- World of Tomorrow
Anything by Kraftwerk

(and don’t forget The Tic Tok Men ;))

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Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 1

A Tangerine Dream selection should be on the list, I think.

The Crystal Method - Vegas
Moby - Play
Paul Oakenfold - Bunka
Fatboy Slim - You’ve Come a Long Way Baby
Prodigy - Fat Of The Land
The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
Sasha + John Digweed - Northern Exposure - Expeditions

Subtech :wink:

Hey, we were signed by Tricky, and some of our stuff is electronica-ish. It’s most certainly essential.

How close are we dicing the genres here? Does mellower drum and bass or trip-hop have a place in this thread? Might be a waste to give them they’re own, too small a thread.

I’ll mention

Massive Attack

Check out the Icelandic group mum (promounced moom). Wonderful stuff.

Barely at all. Trying to cover the sum total of musical styles in 20 threads makes for some broad categories.

Pretty much anything that’s made with computers should go here, be it downtempo, or gabba, or ambient, or techno, or…



Spacetime continium
Amon Tobin (must, must have)

Ooooh, agree wholeheartedly. Brilliant guy. Combines jazz and big band with electronica.

This has been a really bad list, so far. I’m not trying to start a fight or anything, but this is way nineties dance-centric; hopefully, I’ll be able to offer a less myopic and more informed overview of essential recordings. I’m just saying!

Kraftwerk - “The Man-Machine” - the album that defines the band, as it’s entirely synthetic, electronic, and has entirely moved away from the band’s Krautrock origins.
Joe Meek and the Blue Men - “I hear a new world - an outer space music fantasy” (possibly the first “electronica” record, in that it’s an exoticism-heavy record made with primitive synthesizer and studio equipment, and it’s also actually listenable and good instead of just valuable as a cultural artifact)
Jean Michel Jarre - “Oxygène”
Silver Apples - self-titled; “Oscillations” may be the first electronic pop song.
Tangerine Dream - probably “Rubicon” or “Phaedra”
Synergy - “Electronic Realizations for rock orchestra”
Walter Carlos - “Switched-on Back” and “The Well-Tempered Synthesizer”
Giorgio Moroder - all production work, esp. “I feel love” and “Love to love you baby” for Donna Summer, solo album “From here to eternity”
Isao Tomita - “Snowflakes are falling” (the serious “switched-on Bach”)
The Human League - “Travelogue” and “Reproduction” - people often forget these records because the band essentially became a jokey New Wave band later on, but these are basically “If Kraftwerk made pop records” - incredibly lo-fi, minimal, and experimental electronic pop music.
Morton Subotnick - all
Cabaret Voltaire - “Mix-Up” - like the Human League, it’s easy to forget that the band who later made such innocuous and gimmicky music was once an amazingly dense and experimental project - this is true industrial dub music, all echoes and contact microphones and tape effects.
Suicide - s/t
Cybotron - “Enter”/ “Clear” (re-release) - The Nevermind the bollocks… of Detroit Techno.
John Foxx - “Metamatic”
Ultravox - “Systems of Romance”, probably
Fad Gadget - all
Nuno Canavarro - “Plux Quba”
Luc Ferrari - any number of important works, like " Presque Rien"
Neu! - we can argue over their place in Krautrock, but the use of studio techniques makes them one of the the earliest “electronica” bands.
Mantronix - all singles, really.
Yellow Magic Orchestra - “Solid State Survivor” (the Japanese Kraftwerk)
Steve Roach - “Dreamtime Return” (the album that people should be listening to and mentioning when they instead mention Aphex Twin’s S.A.W. II)
Orbital - “orbital II” - the best one.
the Orb - “The Orb’s adventures beyond the ultra-world”
Hopefully, that will fill in a lot of the gaps before all the rave stuff that came later.

I’ll go along with a lot of the suggestions here. Here’s my (very incomplete list):
Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Moby - Play
Moby - Moby
Kraftwerk (pretty much anything)
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2
The Crystal Method - Vegas
Paul Oakenfold - Another World or Tranceport
Sasha & John Digweed - Northern Exposure
Portishead - Dummy
Tiësto - In Search of Sunrise 2 or Nyana
Armin van Buuren - Boundaries of Imagination
Sasha - Involver
Fatboy Slim - Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars
Orbital - Orbital 2
Chemical Brothers - Come With Us
Deep Dish - Moscow
The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
Brian Eno - Music for Airports
Hallucinogen - The Lone Deranger
Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman
The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms

It’s old and hard to find, but stay on the look out for Human Mesh dance.

Gary Numan deserves some credit for popularizing electronic music. His hit “Cars” is a classic.

I think Yello deserves to be here someplace, too. Who hasn’t heard “Oh Yeah.”