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:
The Crystal Method
The Human League
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
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!
68 thoughts on “Rabz’ Radio Show February 2023: Electronica”
Love the Rover SD1 in this video 🙂
He should have been embarrassed but he always defended it.
mid 90s Human League
Kraftwerk – ahead of their time.
Speaking of ahead of its time.
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
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
King for just one day-Thompson Twins
Switched On Bach
A Clockwork Orange
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)
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.
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.
A link for Wot Gorilla?
Never heard it before Calli. Sumptuous.
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. 😀
jupes – that’s the song that landed the Verve in a whole heap of copyright trouble with Bittersweet Symphony.
I’ll link the film clip again as I just love the song and the Ashcroft’s arrogant impervious swagger.
The definitive Chemical Brothers track and clip – fantastic song, Noel G’s mighty doom laden vocals and the genius of Michel Gondry …
Another amazing double album of the seventies:
Jeff Wayne, Richard Burton – The Red Weed (1975)
Serious choreography too!
Another song that utilised some serious technology as well as being an anthem for the ages – sums up how I’ve always felt about the urban rat race.
Let me go …
This one from Gary Numan got a lot of airplay at the time on Countdown and Rage.
Tubeway Army ‘Are Friends Electric’ (1979)
BoN, this will always be my favourite Gazza Numan track …
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.
Hiroshima mon amour -Ultravox…. top clip from the fillum
O Superman – Ms Anderson
Ghost rider – Suicide
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.
Amazing lady. And Ultravox are the princes of synth!
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
I feel love
Let’s not forget Giorgio!
O Superman – Ms Anderson
Amazing lady. And Ultravox are the princes of synth!
Lol, ‘Metal Machine Music’ was a contractual obligation escape hatch.
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.
I was dismissive of Gary Numan back in the day but geez I have been loving “Cars” more and more every year
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.
I was dismissive of Gary Numan back in the day but ‘Cars’ has grown on me every year
Chemical Brothers are also a favourite. Setting Son started it off, Hey Boy Hey Girl continued it, and Star Guitar sealed the deal.
Basement Jazz’s album Remedy was very good. Haven’t really followed them since Rooty though.
Another hat/tip to our host: LCD Soundsystem, who is a totally ordinary guy with pretty amazing musical aptitude.
LCD Soundsystem – North American Scum
Currently hooked on this:
This song/video by Lorn is a real gem:
I think I would have just called it new wave. Although some of these bands I would have just called “pop”.
February 5, 2023 at 1:23 am
Happy to be a fuddy-duddy, a classical music follower.
M83, with the most movie-soundtrack type coupling to a scene in Letterkenny as Dierks is busted cheating on Katie and gets his cuppupence
duncan – I loved that M83 song when it first around a few years back and it was very funny to see it used in that Letterkenny clip. Poor li’l Katie*, she deserved a lot better than Dierks.
*As played by the exquisite Miss Mylett.
Dierks got what was coming to him. He was warned
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:
Oops…I missed it.
Don’t know if it qualifies as electronica, as there are guitars used, but certainly Krautrock:
Not only did they anticipate punk rock, but also ’80s synthesiser pop.
Considering the doldrums the mid-70s were musically, it’s quite amazing.
Classic Berlin techno from 1992:
Vainqueur – Lyot (Maurizio Mix)
Detroit techno from 1999:
The Aztec Mystic A.K.A DJ Rolando – Jaguar
More techno from the Motor City:
Jeff Mills – Automatic
Heading north across the border into Canada:
Richie Hawtin – Minus Orange
And finally, back to Berlin, off the dance floor and onto the couch:
Fluxion – Friction Pulse
Gary Numan has been releasing some amazing tracks recently . and I would add Pink Floyd , Morcheeba and Hooverphonic too .
Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer from Beverley Hills Cop is ok.
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
Superpitcher – Tomorrow
Superpitcher – Tell Me About It
Justus Köhncke – Timecode
Michael Mayer – Lovefood
Oxia – Domino
Last up for our sojourn in Cologne:
Gabriel Ananda & Dominik Eulberg – Supernova
Thanks Hugh, I’ll have a listen to those over the next week.
You are welcome Rabz.
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.
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”.
These two records were waiting for me at the post office this afternoon:
Here is a track from each:
Laibach – Medea Material
300.000 V.K. – Ashes