It’s EDM, Don’t Act Like You’re Not Impressed!

9.25 LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem, who just release their new album American Dreams, played on SNL last spring.

Happy Monday all! I’ve been experiencing my usual periodic leap in pain, which seems to happen every four to six months. I am not sure why, but it may have to do with medicine tolerance a little bit, along with a little lost tolerance by my body. When I was a runner, I always felt like the key to my success was my ability to ignore pain. But, this chronic pain thing is way more than my ability to absorb a little athletic pain for a win. The type of pain I deal with is not the “take two aspirin and lay down for five minutes and everything will be hunky dory pain. No, my pain, like I have said a million times on here, begins with the sensation of what my body used to feel like after a 15 kilometer run, then go play three hours of non-stop basketball, followed by another 5 kilometer run, ending with a line of ten people each taking five swats with a baseball bat at my legs. Not much fun, though I try to stay positive, it’s not always the case. So, then I take a moment on my blog to bitch a little bit.

9.25 Kraftwerk robots
Kraftwerk, the Godfathers of EDM, are shown here as their famous robot counterparts.

There! My bitching is done. Let’s get on with today’s topic. I thought today, in honor of the long-awaited (according to Son #1) LCD Soundsystem being released a couple of weeks ago. Periodically, I go through a quick week during which I (1) attempt to get hooked on electronic dance music (EDM) or (2) attempt to learn the history of EDM. From my research, the synthesizer had its beginnings in the Fifties, along with the computer. But, also like the computer, this “musical” instrument did not take off until the 1970s. Throughout the Seventies, I remember reading that the synthesizer would be the musical instrument of the future. Well, this is true to a certain extent, as well as false, as it is not nearly as ubiquitous as once predicted. According to very astute rock critics (Bob Lefsetz being one), EDM is where all the musical innovations are occurring today. And, he may even be correct about that.

9.25 Devo band
Synth-pioneers Devo

If you know anything about rock music history, you know that The Who’s Pete Townshend was fiddling about with synthesizers in the early Seventies, as evident by the use of synthesizer in The Who’s famous song “Baba O’Riley”. At the same time, Stevie Wonder was playing around with synthesizers during his classic run of albums of the Seventies until in the Eighties, that was all he was playing. But, throughout Europe, musicians were experimenting with synthesizers, especially in Germany. The Kraut Rock movement began with synthesizer bands like Tangerine Dream, Can, Neu! and the godfathers of EDM, Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk was so influential that they have been sighted as an influence on everyone from the synth-pop bands of the Eighties to Prince to Afrika Bambaataa, the DJ who pioneered the electronic sound of hip hop in the Eighties.

9.25 Suicide band
Synth-Punks Suicide

Although much of the disco music from Europe was using synthesizers, like with Silver Convention’s huge hit “Fly Robin Fly”, American artists were slow to integrate synthesizers into their sounds, let alone base a whole song on the machine. That is, until Donna Summer first hooked up with electronic whiz and music producer Giorgio Moroder, which lead to “I Feel Love”, the first real big EDM hit in the States. This was followed by more disco hits by Summer from her Bad Girls masterpiece. And, around the turn of the Eighties, we had the first Minneapolis Sound hit song with Lipps Inc.’s number one hit “Funky Town”. After that song, the public was ready for Prince.

9.25 Afrika Bambaataa
Afrika Bambaataa, the electro hip hop pioneer

Also, during the punk era, some punk bands were also synthesizer bands, like Suicide, Killing Joke and Devo. And, as punk switched to new wave, so did synthesizer bands. Those Synth-Pop bands that were popular in the Eighties included New Order, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and seemingly millions of others. Throughout the Eighties, the synthesizer was everywhere, including in bands that had more to due with a burgeoning metal sound called Industrial, of which Nine Inch Nails and Ministry are great examples.

9.25 The Human League
Synth-pop hitmakers The Human League

Finally, EDM began making in-roads in Europe. Artists such as The Orb, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and even Madonna joined the fray. Finally, as EDM began selling in the States, artists like Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem were leading the way. And, throughout this development, the sound of the synthesizer became less and less mechanized and “icy”, as engineers and programmers began to tune their instruments to make warmer sounding music. And, now, this instrument has become integrated with a computer making it a highly resourceful instrument, with its ability to replicate any sound it hears.

9.25 Daft Punk
My personal EDM favorite, Daft Punk

So, today, I give to you a list of My 40 Favorite EDM Artists in Rock History.

  1. Afrika Bambaataa
  2. Brian Eno
  3. Chvrches
  4. Daft Punk
  5. David Bowie
  6. Depeche Mode
  7. Devo
  8. Eurythmics
  9. Gary Numan
  10. Giorgio Moroder
  11. Hot Chip
  12. Howard Jones
  13. Jean Michael Jarre
  14. Kraftwerk
  15. Kylie Minogue
  16. La Roux
  17. Lady Gaga
  18. LCD Soundsystem
  19. I.A.
  20. Madonna
  21. MGMT
  22. Ministry
  23. Moby
  24. New Order
  25. Nine Inch Nails
  26. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  27. Pet Shop Boys
  28. Prince
  29. Santigold
  30. Sparks
  31. Stevie Wonder
  32. Suicide
  33. Tangerine Dream
  34. The Chemical Brothers
  35. The Human League
  36. The KLF
  37. The Prodigy
  38. Thomas Dolby
  39. Ultravox
  40. Yazoo

This list was created by a man who has limited knowledge of the genre, but, at least, I am familiar with all of these artists. A couple of important EDM artists that did not make the list include Can, Neu!, Soft Cell, DJ Shadow, Fatboy Slim, Information Society, Animal Collective, Simple Minds, Muse, to name but a few. Let me know which favorite EDM artist I left off.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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