Howard Stern must have been in reruns, because I was pushing the buttons on the satellite and I heard this track on the Spectrum. I was entranced and transported, lifted from the cabin of my car into the stratosphere, I immediately came home and dialed up this Gorillaz track.
I didn’t think I liked Gorillaz or Mos Def, but suddenly I was a huge fan. That’s the power of the filter. With so much music out there, especially with tons of detritus, it’s easy to let it all bounce off you and ignore it. Then someone knowledgeable points the way and you smile and say I LOVE THIS!
We were in Aspen and Philip Blaine gave a ten minute history of electronic music. He whipped through genres and years and was so excited about what he was talking about I immediately wanted to hear every track. So I told him to create a playlist, the history of EDM, so you (and me!) could be clued in.
Here it is.
P.S. I’ve attached a Spotify playlist. Unfortunately every cut is not available, most glaring is the absence of Moby’s breakthrough “Play,” and I’m not sure each track is the definitive one, but it’s a start.
P.P.S. “Stylo” has a troubled history, Eddy Grant says it’s a rip-off, and listening to his “Time Warp,” you kind of agree
Eddy Grant-Time Warp Vs Gorillaz-Stylo
And I’m sure the EDM police will crack down upon me and say “Stylo” doesn’t fit the genre, but listen anyway, have your horizons broadened, discover that what you always listen to is not the only thing you like.
PHILIP BLAINE’S EDM PLAYLIST
As requested here is the list. It’s simply some highlights of artists during my personal journey through the history of Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
There are earlier artists, and artists that have done just as much to influence EDM at large, but here is a selection from the talk I presented briefly at the Aspen Live Conference. Again, this is just a sampling…
Interestingly in the ’70s during the time of disco – and although their pure electronic sound was a different dynamic – Kraftwerk’s music was also played in some disco clubs and became a crossover option for DJs. Their sound is still relevant today, and they garner the utmost respect from other musicians and fans alike. Check out the songs “Trans-Europe Express” and “Tour de France.”
Released Blue Monday in 1983, maintains as a timeless song before its time. New Order led to many influences (In some ways everyone in EDM) and they co-owned the club Hacienda (Manchester, UK) with Factory Records. As you will see on this list, many of the artists came from this club scene.
In the early 80’s Knuckles played a club called the Warehouse in Chicago. I never went but heard the lore for years to come. This “House” music deemed him the godfather of House. Check out “Your Love” and “Whistle Song.”
Derrick’s “Strings of Life” took me on a journey of my mind, career, and the dance floor. Although unleashed in 1987, it made strong influences for years to come. One has to mention names Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson and then Detroit Techno was born…
Rhythim Is Rhythim – Strings of Life (Original Mix)
His project Inner City released two hit singles: “Good Life” and “Big Fun,” which dominated the dance floors for years after their release in 1988.
A GUY CALLED GERALD
Also from Manchester, England, in 1989 with his underground acid-house track “Voodoo Ray.” Just listen to this song… It makes the list. Period. Acid House stormed the underground… And helped birth the first rave scene in the USA… Los Angeles. A place of great weather and deserts perfect for raving.
A punk rock mentality gone pop. Two UK industry veterans, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, came together and left a huge mark on the music scene from 87-92. They were also known for their publicity stunts. One was a press trip to an island off of Scotland where they had to wear hooded robes and partake in a ceremony where they burned a wicker man. Also, in later years they burned million British Pounds in public. Check out “What Time is Love,” “3am Eternal” and “Last Train to Transcentral.”
In 1990, two brothers, Phil and Paul Hartnoll, came to my house with their manager Rob and blew my mind with Chime and the entire album. They are also noted as being the first EDM act to dominate a proper festival. The most proper of them all… The British institution of Glastonbury in 1994. Also listen to “Halcyon.”
A part of other artists from the influential club Hacienda, 808 State truly hit America with “Cubik” in 1991. Which was added to radio stations like KROQ in many major markets. Their name refers to the 808 drum machine. Also check out “Pacific State” and “Ooops.”
In 1991, “Unfinished Sympathy” introduced the world to the genre Trip Hop. Also from their hometown of Bristol were their associates Tricky and Portishead. Other early classic songs are “Safe From Harm,” “Blue Lines” and “Protection.”
2 BAD MICE
“Bombscare” released in 1992. When founding member Rob Playford came on the scene and then eventually started the record label Moving Shadow they became synonymous with a variety of sounds… Breakbeat of course, then sounds that led to Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass. These Moving Shadow sounds also influenced many current Dubstep artists. Also, listen to the wicked “Hold it Down.”
JAM AND SPOON
Their ambient techno sound was not consistently popular when it hit the scene in 1992, although it stood apart from everything else. “Stella” helped defined this new genre.
He popularized the art of DJing like no other. He opened for U2 in 1993 and started Perfecto Recordings. Mostly a DJ and a producer he didn’t release a full studio album until 2002 when he had a big his with “Ready Steady Go.”
After the Chicago and Detroit pioneers, Moby (NYC) was one of the first US artists with his song “Go” in 1992 to get international acclaim. He is also the one of the first EDM artists to become so commercially loved and accepted that every track from his 1999 album “Play” was licensed for use in TV shows, commercials, and films. Every song is a gem, listen to the whole thing start to finish.
When “Dubnobasswithmyheadman” was released in 1994, I was hit like I was when I first heard Nirvana. They played their first USA show at my Organic festival in 1996. Along with Danny Boyle, Underworld was a producer and did the soundtrack for the Olympics in 2012. Noted songs are: “Dirty Epic,” “Born Slippy,” and “King of Snake.”
Yet another from Manchester! They were first known in 1993 as The Dust Brothers (not the US artist) and their remixes they did for prominent EDM artists of the time. In 1995, with the name change came the album “Exit Plant Dust.” Their sampling of live drum sounds made them one of the first EDM artists with popularity in the indie rock circles. Check out “Leave Home,” “Setting Sun,” and “Block Rockin’ Beats.”
1996 the album “Endtroducing” was made entirely of sampled sounds… This album defined the diversity of EDM. Its wide range of truly cultured chill out/trip hop type sounds are a delight! Must listen to whole album. Once you are a few minutes in you’ll hear why.
He became the first commercially prolific Drum n’ Bass artist. He played breakbeats with a new technique, and is credited with inventing the production technique of “time stretching.” His song that got me was “Inner City Life.”
KRUDER AND DORFMEISTER
1998, The K & D Sessions – both original work and a compilation of other artists mixed in. An evening with this album is for EDM which for others might be Barry White or Miles Davis. Another case where one must listen to whole album but if to pick one song check out “Lexicon.” They are most associated with the genre of Trip Hop.
Became so popular that he was asked to perform at Mick Jagger’s birthday party. He turned down the gig. Noted for sampling many popular songs and many pseudonyms. He released the projects first album “Better Living through Chemistry” in 1996. Check out “The Rockafeller Skank,” “Praise You” and the video for “Weapon of Choice.”
ARMAND VAN HELDEN
The Godfather of Re-mixes, he popularized the mixing of known artists into dance tracks. His first smash hit, “Professional Widow,” was a remix of a Tori Amos song, and became a club sensation, eclipsing sales of the original track. His work reinvented the way we experienced music, with his new sound called “speed garage.” His mixes of songs including Sneaker Pimps’ “Spin Spin Sugar” were highly influential from his start in 1996.
Their first album “Homework” was in 1997. Unlike many of the other EDM artist who were single oriented, they were able to do their EDM-mastery via the traditional multi-song album format as a complete work of art. Each song was made into a music video, and was elaborately art-directed to create visually stunning works. Their distinct sound was highly sampled by many artists including Kanye West. To be noted: One of the members of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter, had project called Stardust which released one song in 1998 called “Music Sound Better With You” and is legendry EDM anthem. Other songs to check out are: “Da Funk,” “Around the World,” and “One More Time.”
Stardust Music Sounds Better With You (High Quality)
CAFE DEL MAR
Unlike the rest of this list… Cafe del Mar was the influence of a notable sound… It defined “Chill-out Music,” and was widely played in cafes, bars, and even spas world wide. Not an artist but a club… then as an album (from many collaborators). The club is on the island of Ibiza – it was EDM as travel and leisure. They are now on the 18th compilation album release.
This is a simple stab at history… Meat Beat Manifesto, Leftfield, The Orb, Groove Armada, The Prodigy and later of course Skrillex, Deadmau5 and literally hundreds of artists are not mentioned here. Holy shit, Roni Size and Adam F… EDM is vast and here to stay… What a long strange trip it’s been…
Please join in…listen, hit the dance floor and sample this culture!
Philip Blaine’s EDM Playlist – Spotify