Rabz’ Radio Show February 2023: Electronica


The term “electronica” is used in this thread to define music that largely utilises electronic instruments, as opposed to placing it in any particular timeframe or referring specifically to any group of artists (as Wikipedia does). The use of electronic instruments and the creation of synthesised music has it roots in the early twentieth century. The term “electronic music” is also relevant here.

I first became vaguely aware of electronic music during the new wave period from roughly 1977 onwards. The contemporary progenitors of this style included the purveyors of “Krautrock”, for example, Can, Tangerine Dream and the legendary Kraftwerk. Krautrock had its spiritual origins in German Avant-Garde and the Bauhaus school of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties (before it was, of course, shut down by the nazis).

Other styles related to electronic music included the mainly dance and nightclub-oriented sub genres such as Chicago House, Techno, Jungle, Acid House, Rave and Trip Hop.

Also related is the Ambient genre, popularized by the also legendary Brian Eno, who has managed to be a central figure in some of Rock’s most epic and groundbreaking releases, both as a musician and a producer. His work with David Byrne on albums such as “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” and the “Catherine Wheel” is among my favourite music, the latter being an absolutely epic musical journey originally used as a soundtrack for a Twyla Tharp Broadway dance production. Incredibly, I somehow managed to overlook it in last month’s thread on Albums.

Anyway, here’s a truncated list of some of my favourite electronic bands/artists:

Kraftwerk

Brian Eno

Massive Attack

The Crystal Method

Chemical Brothers

Ultravox

The Human League

Heaven 17

Groove Armada

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Danny Tenaglia

Franky Knuckles

LCD Soundsystem

The two intro tracks for this month include:

Kraftwerk – Europe Endless

Groove Armada – Groove is on

Dishonourable mention: “Metal Machine Music”, Lou Reed (1975).

Again, barely scratching the surface here, Cats. No doubt there’s a whole heap of other bands artists that you’re just waiting to nominate in the comments thread. So, break out the Rolands and Theremins and go for it Cats, you know you want to!

,

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

68 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Miltonf
Miltonf
February 4, 2023 7:07 pm
jupes
jupes
February 4, 2023 7:09 pm

Dishonourable mention: “Metal Machine Music”, Lou Reed (1975).

He should have been embarrassed but he always defended it.

Miltonf
Miltonf
February 4, 2023 7:10 pm
jupes
jupes
February 4, 2023 7:13 pm

Kraftwerk – ahead of their time.

1974 Autobahn

jupes
jupes
February 4, 2023 7:14 pm

Speaking of ahead of its time.

From 1963

jupes
jupes
February 4, 2023 7:27 pm

Okay, not electronica as it is described itself as “Instrumental versions of the ‘Stones biggest hits”, but it sounds like electronica to me. Especially after my fifth glass …

The Last Time

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 7:28 pm

Ooh, shiny! I have liked electronica for a long time. One of the first LPs I ever bought was Oxygene by Jean-Michel Jarre. I think I might’ve bought it at a second hand joint, since the album cover is amazing, and it alone would’ve hooked me ‘way back then (especially if it was cheap).

But the best thing is the music was chosen by Peter Weir for a fine Australian story. Including a young Mel Gibson:

Gallipoli (1981) – Oxygene

Miltonf
Miltonf
February 4, 2023 7:28 pm
WolfmanOz
WolfmanOz
February 4, 2023 7:29 pm
Miltonf
Miltonf
February 4, 2023 7:41 pm
Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 7:41 pm

The great beast of Electronica was the Moog. Invented by the man hisself in 1964. A great and marvelous creature! Here’s one from three years later:

The Doors – Strange Days (1967)

calli
calli
February 4, 2023 7:54 pm

I loved playing the Moog – a pal bought one and it was nights of endless fun.

Rick Wakefield (Yes) and Tony Banks (Genesis) are my keyboard masters.

Here’s Wot Gorilla? with Collins on drums.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:06 pm

Speaking of ahead of its time.
From 1963

Superb. I can’t imagine how they managed to do those visual effects in 1963. B&W too, we didn’t yet have colour TVs. I mostly watched the episodes from behind my parents’ sofa, it was so scary. Our television had doors on it, fine mahogany. They were serious objects d’art back then.

Jupes – you got me looking up another big beast of electronica: the theremin. A staple of every bad scifi fillum of the sixties! Which led me to a very interesting little short SF from 1956:

A Short Vision (British Film Institute archives, 6 mins)

Features spooky theremin music of course. It’s interesting since it seems to be from the very start of the nuclear angst age, not so developed as Strangelove but you can detect the stirrings of that.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:17 pm

A link for Wot Gorilla?
Never heard it before Calli. Sumptuous.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:28 pm

And Rick Wakeman: Journey to The Centre of the Earth (1974) and Knights of the Round Table (1975). Synthesizer magic.

Rick Wakeman – The Last Battle

Ok he had a full orchestra too, but they’re only incidental. 😀

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:43 pm

Another amazing double album of the seventies:

Jeff Wayne, Richard Burton – The Red Weed (1975)

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:47 pm

The definitive Chemical Brothers track and clip – fantastic song

Serious choreography too!

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 8:58 pm

This one from Gary Numan got a lot of airplay at the time on Countdown and Rage.

Tubeway Army ‘Are Friends Electric’ (1979)

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 9:12 pm

Btw the definitive track from Surrender is probably this one:

The Chemical Brothers – Out Of Control (1999)

I had to cheat and look it up since I worked out my copy of the CD is in my car, didn’t want to find car keys and go out just to find it.

The whole album makes miles vanish when turned up to 11.

eric hinton
eric hinton
February 4, 2023 9:14 pm

Hiroshima mon amour -Ultravox…. top clip from the fillum

O Superman – Ms Anderson

Ghost rider – Suicide

Ruckzuck -Kraftwerk

jupes
jupes
February 4, 2023 9:15 pm

I mostly watched the episodes from behind my parents’ sofa, it was so scary.

Oh yeah. For whatever reason, I was always more scared of the Cybermen than the Daleks. Freaked me out as a seven or eight year old.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 9:20 pm

O Superman – Ms Anderson

Amazing lady. And Ultravox are the princes of synth!

Alamak!
Alamak!
February 4, 2023 9:40 pm

Pls add leftfield to the list of groups. Rhythm & Stealth is a great album to play at 11 or louder.

For electronic songs ahead of their time I feel love by Donna Summer is amazing. Fantastic version with everyone on stage at

Alamak!
Alamak!
February 4, 2023 9:42 pm
132andBush
132andBush
February 4, 2023 9:44 pm
132andBush
132andBush
February 4, 2023 9:51 pm
Miltonf
Miltonf
February 4, 2023 9:52 pm

O Superman – Ms Anderson

Amazing lady. And Ultravox are the princes of synth!

awesome

Dragnet
Dragnet
February 4, 2023 10:18 pm

Lol, ‘Metal Machine Music’ was a contractual obligation escape hatch.

dover0beach
Admin
February 4, 2023 10:18 pm

Faithless were great. Maxi Jazz’s recent death a reminder of growing old. Take the Long Way Home a classic. Bedrock’s For What You Dream of another classic too. Actually, the soundtrack to Trainspotting is a perfect gateway to Electronica.

Dragnet
Dragnet
February 4, 2023 10:21 pm

I was dismissive of Gary Numan back in the day but geez I have been loving “Cars” more and more every year

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 10:23 pm

In deference to our host I have to do this one.

Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator

I like the English lyrics better, but this vid is from their live performances.
We got our first pocket calculators in year 8. They were amazing.

Dragnet
Dragnet
February 4, 2023 10:24 pm

I was dismissive of Gary Numan back in the day but ‘Cars’ has grown on me every year

dover0beach
Admin
February 4, 2023 10:27 pm

Chemical Brothers are also a favourite. Setting Son started it off, Hey Boy Hey Girl continued it, and Star Guitar sealed the deal.

dover0beach
Admin
February 4, 2023 10:49 pm

Basement Jazz’s album Remedy was very good. Haven’t really followed them since Rooty though.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
February 4, 2023 10:54 pm

Another hat/tip to our host: LCD Soundsystem, who is a totally ordinary guy with pretty amazing musical aptitude.

LCD Soundsystem – North American Scum

Maniac
Maniac
February 5, 2023 1:22 am

Currently hooked on this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aFUzvbkEvRk

Maniac
Maniac
February 5, 2023 1:23 am

This song/video by Lorn is a real gem:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nxg4C365LbQ

Entropy
Entropy
February 5, 2023 8:09 am

I think I would have just called it new wave. Although some of these bands I would have just called “pop”.

Gabor
Gabor
February 5, 2023 8:17 am

Maniac says:
February 5, 2023 at 1:23 am

This song/video by Lorn is a real gem:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nxg4C365LbQ

JBCh,
Happy to be a fuddy-duddy, a classical music follower.

duncanm
duncanm
February 5, 2023 9:56 am

M83, with the most movie-soundtrack type coupling to a scene in Letterkenny as Dierks is busted cheating on Katie and gets his cuppupence

duncanm
duncanm
February 5, 2023 10:30 am

Dierks got what was coming to him. He was warned

Nelson_Kidd-Players
February 5, 2023 10:33 am

I don’t have a lot to contribute in this genre, so I’ll just put this here, which you may dial on your phone:

55754 45085

Roger
Roger
February 5, 2023 10:53 am

Oops…I missed it.

Don’t know if it qualifies as electronica, as there are guitars used, but certainly Krautrock:

Neu ’75

Not only did they anticipate punk rock, but also ’80s synthesiser pop.

Considering the doldrums the mid-70s were musically, it’s quite amazing.

Hugh
February 5, 2023 11:19 am

Classic Berlin techno from 1992:
Vainqueur – Lyot (Maurizio Mix)

Hugh
February 5, 2023 11:25 am
Hugh
February 5, 2023 11:32 am

More techno from the Motor City:
Jeff Mills – Automatic

Hugh
February 5, 2023 11:36 am

Heading north across the border into Canada:
Richie Hawtin – Minus Orange

Hugh
February 5, 2023 11:41 am

And finally, back to Berlin, off the dance floor and onto the couch:
Fluxion – Friction Pulse

Old Goat
Old Goat
February 5, 2023 12:12 pm

Gary Numan has been releasing some amazing tracks recently . and I would add Pink Floyd , Morcheeba and Hooverphonic too .

Perplexed of Brisbane
Perplexed of Brisbane
February 5, 2023 4:39 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 5:42 pm

Seeing as we do not seem to have many fans of bumpity-boom techno here, I thought we might head over to Cologne for something lighter and poppier:

Heiko Voss – I Think About You

Hugh
February 5, 2023 5:45 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 5:51 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 5:57 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 6:02 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 6:09 pm
Hugh
February 5, 2023 6:16 pm

Last up for our sojourn in Cologne:

Gabriel Ananda & Dominik Eulberg – Supernova

Hugh
February 6, 2023 5:34 am

You are welcome Rabz.

Rohan
Rohan
February 6, 2023 2:26 pm

Kraftwork use the mighty Kawai K5000 additive synth from the late 90’s onwards. It’s a beast. I should know. I own the workstation variant. To this day there hasn’t been a more powerfull additive synth or softsynth made.

For those who want to know, it’s based on 64 harmonic “partials”, that are based on third, fifth and eighth harmonics. Each patch has up to 6 partials. Where this beast goes hardcore is that there’s an ADSR envelope for each harmonic. Each A “partial” can morph into a completely different B partial, with the partial having an ADSR envelope on each harmonic. It allows the creation of pads that take minutes to evolve. They can start out dark and swirling, then ater 2 minutes erupt into a metalic scream out of nowhere. Just sutain the same note/s for all that time.

It also has a rompler side where you can use the inbuilt waveforms in a typical subractractive manor. Like a moog. Additive has its limitations and one of them is poor attack transients, such as the start of a plucked string. So you blend additive and subtactive synth in the one patch.

It has your usual hi/lo/band pass filter but also a formant filter. which you can fix the bias to an LFO, so it starts to sweep the audio spectrum. It can do your head in trying to program a patch our of it, but worth the effort to master it. Kraftwork were using 2 or 3 on stage at one point.

It’s still a seriously cool bit of kit.

Bruce
Bruce
February 6, 2023 8:58 pm

“Yello”?

As for “Tangerine Dream, I was into “Phaedra” and “Rubicon” whilst at high school in the mid-70s.

They actually toured Oz in 1975? and played at the dreadful “Mayne Hall” on the University of Queensland Campus. Gig was in full “Quadrophonic” with the Rhythm “loops” cycling around the four “stacks”. “Theatrical magic” was a bunch of blokes on stage with assorted ANALOGUE toys; tape machines, Moog and Buchla synths, etc. and lit by an assortment of desk lamps.

They traditionally played in an almost dark auditorium, but, as one has come to expect, the “architect” of Mayne Hall was the appalling Robin Gibson, a sort of VERY “low-rent” Albert Speer; more into “stalinist Gothic” and the bane of my later existence as a sound tech in one of his “purpose-designed cultural centres”.

Gibson apparently had “creative control” over his Bauhaus Bunker abominations, so, at Mayne Hall, the University was NOT permitted by contract / Caveat, to black-out the windows on the side of the building facing “the Great Court”, which was lit up like Christmas at night.

The dank stench of the combustion of a HUGE amount of green, leafy material filled the room; not something I had anticipated. I should have, having read of the fun and games that went on when the band did a gig with “Nico” as guest vocalist in Rheims Cathedral a few months earlier.

Crap venue, but it ran some interesting gigs; Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee; that was an interesting evening. Also, the very first Briz appearance of Split Enz in their “Mental Notes” days, complete with harlequin costumes that could only have been run up by eccentric Kiwi musicians with limited “dress-making” skills.. NOT your average “pub band”.

Nelson_Kidd-Players
February 7, 2023 10:59 am
Hugh
February 7, 2023 6:38 pm
  1. Plod-adjacent stuck its finger in the air and on the strength of that test said ‘we know it’s not terror-related”,…

68
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x