The playlists are grouped according to their corresponding chapter in the book. Chapter 4 contains the very long lists.
We have linked to official sites and official YouTube sites wherever possible. NOTE: YouTube files are inherently unsatisfactory for two reasons: first, they are compressed; and second, they often have completely irrelevant and distracting video footage added (usually as some kind of ‘interpretation’). Users are advised to treat YouTube as a means of ‘tasting’ the music only, and should obtain proper uncompressed audio recordings whenever appropriate and possible.
Click on the tabs below to view the content for each chapter.
World Soundscape Project (1973)The Vancouver Soundscape .Vancouver: World Soundscape Project, CDI.
A collection of original recordings from the World Soundscape Project, including an introduction to the science and art of composing the soundscape, narrated by R. Murray Schafer.
Luc Ferrari (1967–70) Presque Rien ou le lever du Jour au Bord de la Mer . (Almost Nothing or Daybreak at the Seaside.)
A tape piece prefiguring soundscape composition. It portrays a fishing village coming to life at daybreak.
World Soundscape Project (1996) Soundscape Vancouver 1996 . Vancouver: World Soundscape Project, CDII.
Contains original digital soundscape compositions by Darren Copeland, Sabine Breitsameter, Hans Ulrich Werner, Barry Truax and Claude Schryer.
Barry Truax (2001) Islands . Cambridge Street Records. CSR CD-0101.
‘Train rides lead to restful escapades away from the stress of the workday, an afternoon nap invites a sonic meditation with cicadas and Italian water fountains ... along with other natural soundscape elements, providing the makings of a magical place of wonder and rest. I think the implicit statement of this CD is that our society is in need of islands of rest and contemplation.” –Darren Copeland, Musicworks 82.
Katharine Norman (2002) London . NMC Recordings, NMC D034.
London is ambient, environmental story-telling – a true underground sound. Its three soundscapes were inspired by the people of London – working, talking, laughing or crying, their lives forming a complex pattern of sound.
John Levack Drever (2006) Cattle Grids of Dartmoor . Pataphonic (SM06-05CD).
Field recordings of cars, horses and others passing over cattle grids. Drever’s work is concerned with the minutiae of everyday soundscapes, residual noise and the built and natural environments.
Hildegard Westerkamp (2010) Transformations . Empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 1031.
Pauline Oliveros comments in the sleevenotes to this collection of soundscape compositions spanning nearly two decades: ‘One can journey with her sound to inner landscapes and find unexplored openings in our sound souls. The experience of her music vibrates the potential for change. Her compositions invite interaction – a chance to awaken to one's own creativity.’
Schachter, D. (2002) FlaX for flute, electro-acoustic sounds and live processing.
The title comes from flauta, the Spanish word for flute, and X as an indication of the sound processing.
Xenakis, I. (1968) ST4 for string quartet.
In fact, any of the ST series of works would be an appropriate choice, but ST4 exists in a particularly fine recent recording.
LEIF Inge (2002) 9 Beet Stretch.
A recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia and Chorus/Drahos (Naxos 8.553478)), is stretched digitally to a duration of 24 hours with no distortion or pitch shifting.
Curtis Roads (1987) nscor. Wergo, 2010-50.
One of the earliest examples of microsound, that explores sounds of extremely short duration. The piece was written using various computer programs, including such as G.M. Koenig’s ‘Project 1’, the ‘Sound Synthesis Program’ (SSP) by Paul Berg and ‘Music 11’ by William Buxton.
Horacio Vaggione (1996) Schall.
A work that explores the relationship between thousands of extremely short sounds, derived from piano notes, and longer sounds from the same source. This is essentially a study in varying durations, but also in the resulting textures that emerge.
Wendy Carlos (1986) Beauty in the Beast . East Street Digital, ESD 81552.
'I’ve taken ideas from many disparate cultures, heeding Debussy’s dictum: “whatever pleases my ear”, and filtered it through all the wonderful new musical means at my disposal and through my decidedly Euro-American post - symphonic composorial skills. ' (from the sleevenotes) . The album uses many different tuning systems.
John Chowning (1977) Stria. Wergo, WER 2012-50.
A digital composition that is organised around eight pseudo-octaves, three above and five below the central frequency (f=1000Hz), based on the golden ratio 1.618:1 rather than the 2:1. Chowning invented FM synthesis and his work often explores inharmonicity.
Jonathan Harvey (1980) Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco . Computer Music Currents vol. 5, Wergo , WER 2025-50.
A classic work of computer music, created at IRCAM in Paris, and focused on the partials and pitches of the great bell at Winchester Cathedral and the voice of the composer’s own son singing the text inscribed on the bell: ' Horas avolantes numero mortuos plango vivos ad preces voco. ' ( ' I count the ﬂeeting hours, I lament the dead, I call the living to prayer .' )
Bernhard Günther (1993) Un Peu de Neige Salie.Trente Oiseaux, TOCSE01.
Haiku-influenced work that can be very intricate while, at the same time, extremely minimal.
Merzbow (1997) Merzbox Sampler. Extreme, XLTD 003.
A survey that includes some earlier electronic tracks from the best - known Japanese noise musician.
Merzbow (2004) Merzbird . Important Records: imprec040.
Entirely digital and populated with some more beat-based material alongside the usual harsh noise.
Diana Deutsch (2003) Phantom Words and Other Curiosities . Philomel Records.
An exploration of aural illusions and sound perception, including ‘phantom words’ that the brain generates from a collection of meaningless sounds.
Missy Elliott (2005) Lose Control. Atlantic Records.
Hip-hop track featuring an ascending Shepard scale throughout.
Christian Smith and John Selway (2008) Total Departure . Drumcode Records.
A techno track that exploits an ascending Risset tone. The continuous glissando was developed by the composer Jean-Claude Risset.
James Tenney (1969) For Ann (rising). Artifact Records.
An early digital composition created from a set of rising glissandi similar to Shepard tones by a pioneer who worked with Risset. Philip Corner commented: 'It must be optimistic! (Imagine the depressing effectiveness of it – he could never be so cruel – downward.)'
Jean-Claude Risset (1985) Sud .
(9'45”) ‘The sea in the morning. The opening profile permeates the entire piece. Waking birds, from isolated peeps rising to a stretto. Harmonic clouds. Hybrid sounds emerge from the low frequencies. Heat. Luminy, at the foot of Mount Puget real and imagined insects and birds.’
Laurie Anderson (1982) Big Science [CD]Warner, 2KNM.
Includes the hit single ‘O Superman’.
Aphex Twin (1994) Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 [CD] Warp 21.
Richard James, aka Aphex Twin, is a DJ and electronica artist, although this album is at times difﬁcult to connect with that world.
The Beatles (1968) ‘Revolution #9 ’from the White Album [CD] Apple PCS 7067-8.
According to John Lennon: ‘It has the basic rhythm of the original “Revolution” going on, with some twenty loops we put on, things from the archives of EMI. [. . .] There were about ten machines with people holding pencils on the loops [. . .] I fed them all in and mixed them live.’
Glenn Branca (1981, reissued 2003) The Ascension [CD] Acute 9EIPG.
Trademark layered electric guitars and a cacophony of riffs, beats and rhythms.
Wendy Carlos (1968, reissued 1999) Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 [CD] East Side Digital, 81422.
From the celebrated Switched-On Bach album.
The Chemical Brothers (1999) Surrender [CD] Virgin Records, XDUSTCD4.
Clearly club music, but the attention to detail and intricate handling of digital sound seems to root this music elsewhere.
Einsturzende Neubaten (1980–1983) Strategies against Architecture [CD] Mute, STUMM14.
Classic and shocking work from the pioneers of German ‘industrial’ music.
Faust (1973, reissued 1993) The Faust Tapes [CD] Recommended, RERF2CD.
Faust used the studio as a creative tool in the 1970s and spliced together improvised music, electronics, folk music, musique concrete, punk, psychedelia and jazz.
Lou Reed (1975) Metal Machine Music [CD] BMG, ND90670.
A celebrated album comprising layered guitar feedback, and nothing else.
Raymond Scott (1969) The Pygmy Taxi Corporation [CD] Basta Records.
This is one of Scott’s non-commercial compositions, written as a musical experiment with his Electronium.
Sonic Youth (1999) Goodbye 20th Century [CD] SYR4.
A rock and roll band perform experimental music by John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Christian Wolff and others.
DJ Spooky (1996) Songs of a Dead Dreamer [CD] Asphodel, ASP0961.
A New York DJ producing music that sounds quite unlike dance music, connecting with dub reggae and ambient music.
Frank Zappa (1986) Jazz from Hell [CD] Rykodisc, RCD 10549.
Almost entirely created on the synclavier, and the only all-instrumental album ever to have a ‘parental advisory’ warning attached!
Oval (1994) Systemisch [CD] Mille Plateaux, 90718750065926.
Pioneering band that worked with damaged audio products and mutilated CDs to create glitch music.
Barry Truax (1986) Riverrun [CD] Wergo, 2017-50.
Classic work using granular synthesis to create a sound environment in which stasis and flux, solidity and movement co-exist in a dynamic balance.
Max Mathews (1961) Bicycle Built for Two (Daisy) Arrangement.
One of the most famous examples of early digital synthesis, in this case an uncanny voice.
Eliane Radigue (1998) Trilogie de la Mort [CD] Experimental Intermedia, XI 119.
Extraordinary work influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Radigue devoted herself to finding unique sounds exclusively using a single synthesizer, the ARP 2500 modular system.
Trevor Wishart (1992) Red Bird [CD] October Music, 001.
Larry Polansky (1991) 51 Melodies [CD] Artifact, 02.
Computer-composed work for two electric guitars and optional rhythm section, or any two melody instruments.
Amon Tobin (2011) ISAM [CD] NinjaTune, ZEN168.
Highly sculpted electronica album with sonic morphing at its core.
John Hassell/Brian Eno (1980) Fourth World, Vol. I - Possible Musics.
Alejandro Viñao (1991) Chant d’Ailleurs.
Appendix (Historical Listening List)
Pierre Schaeffer (1948) ‘Étude aux chemins de fer ’ from Cinq études de bruits on [CD] OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948–1980, Ellipsis Arts, M1473O462000.
This was the ﬁrst time recorded sound was assembled into a musical composition. The sounds included steam engines, whistles and railway noises.
Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (1950) ‘Symphonie pour un homme seul ’ on Pierre Schaeffer: L’Oeuvre musicale [CD] EMF, EM114.
A 12-movement musical account of a man’s day using recorded sounds. This was performed live, and originally required real-time manipulation of many turntables and mixing desks.
John Cage (1951) Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for 12 radios [CD] Hat Hut Records, hatArt 6179.
Two performers are stationed at each radio, one for dialling the radio-stations, the second performer controlling amplitude and ‘timbre’. Durations are written in conventional notation, using notes, placed on a ﬁve-line staff. The score gives notations for tuning (controlled by player 1) as well as volume and tone colour (controlled by player 2).
Otto Luening (1952) Low Speed [CD] CRI, CD611.
Luening and Ussachevsky worked in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center on tape composition. This piece explores slowed down ﬂute sounds.
Vladimir Ussachevsky (1952) Sonic Contours [CD] CRI, CD611.
Ussachevsky worked with tape feedback, looping and echo effects in this piece that combines piano and varispeed vocals.
John Cage (1953) ‘Williams Mix’ on OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948–1980 [CD] Ellipsis Arts, M1473O462000.
Tape fragments of various sounds are recombined in a random order (determined by coin tosses).
Earle Brown (1953) Octet I for Tape [CD] New World Records, 80650.
An early tape piece for eight loudspeakers surrounding an audience.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1954) Studie II [CD] Stockhausen Verlag, CD3.
An early example of Elektronische Musik (electronic music) which used sine tones superimposed in groups of ﬁve.
Hugh Le Caine (1955) Dripsody [CD] EMF, EM115.
Created from the sound of a single water drop, and using splicing and speed control to make various rhythms and melodies.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1955–1956) Gesang der Jünglinge’ on Stockhausen: Elektronische Musik 1952–1960 [CD] Stockhausen-Verlag, CD3.
This combines electronic sounds and a recording of a boy’s voice. It is a serial 2 composition, but with strong connections drawn between the sound of the sine wave oscillators and the timbre of the boy’s voice. It not only serializes durations, loudness and thickness of texture, but also the Spatialization.
Louis and Bébé Barron (1956) Forbidden Planet [CD] Planet Records.
This ﬁlm was the ﬁrst motion picture to feature an electronic music score.
Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson (1957) Iliac Suite.
The first piece of music composed by a computer.
Edgard Varèse (1958) Po é me Electronique [CD] Decca, 460208.
Composed for the Philips Pavilion of the 1958 World’s Fair, a massive multi-media environment featuring projected images, ﬁlm and multi-channel sound. As the listeners walk through the space, the sound moves around them.
Luciano Berio (1958) Thema – Omaggio a Joyce [CD] RCA Victor Red Seal, 09026-68302-2.
All the sounds are derived from a recording of Cathy Berberian reciting a passage from James Joyce’s Ulysses. This is a compendium of tape-splicing techniques.
György Ligeti (1958) Artikulation [CD] Schotts Music Ltd., WER60161-50.
A very short, but highly virtuosic tape composition, made from small electronic sounds that are combined to resemble utterances.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1959–1960) Kontakte [CD] Wergo, 6009.
The ‘contact’ in the title is between the taped sounds and the acoustic sounds of piano and percussion. By adding the two together, a richer palette of sounds is discovered.
Pierre Henry (1963) Variations pour une Porte et un Soupir (Variations for a Door and a Sigh) [CD] Harmonia Mundi, HMC 905200.
This is a tour-de-force of tape splicing and editing techniques.
Milton Babbitt (1960-61) Ensembles for Synthesizer .
Created at the the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and using one of the early synthesizers, the RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer, this piece explores the application of serial techniques to electronic music.
Ornette Coleman (1961) Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation [CD] Atlantic, 812273609-2.
Two independent jazz quartets play opposite each other (one on each stereo channel), improvising on a limited selection of directions, without harmonic structure, driven by melodic and rhythmic concerns, and each musician contributing according to own style. Highly inﬂuential in subsequent jazz improvisational technique.
Steve Reich (1965) ‘Come Out’ on Steve Reich: Early Works, 1987 [CD] Elektra/Nonesuch, 979169-2.
An early piece using phasing: looped tape recordings of speech (the phrase ‘Come out to show them’) gradually move out of synchronization. This process is then repeated and repeated until the multiple layerings remove the meaning of the words.
The Righteous Brothers (1965) You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling [CD] Polydor, 847 248.
An example of the celebrated ‘wall of sound’ studio treatment (rich vocals and orchestral accompaniment) characteristic of Phil Spector.
The Beach Boys (1966) Good Vibrations , [CD] EMI, CDEMTVD51.
Brian Wilson’s production was highly advanced for its time, reﬂected in the fact that it took six months to record this single. It involves unusual instrumentation for a pop song, including an electro-theremin. The mix is mono, but all five parts are still clearly audible.
The Beatles (1966) ‘Tomorrow Never Knows ’ on Revolver [CD] Capitol/EMI, ST2576.
Early psychedelia, heavily inﬂuenced by Indian music and Eastern philosophy. The Beatles’ ﬁrst experiments with tape loops.
John Cage and Lejaren Hiller (1967-69) HPSCHD [CD] EMF, CD038.
Applies computer-derived chance procedures to both composition and listening strategies. The music processes classical pieces for harpsichord using a FORTRAN program based on the I Ching, designed by Ed Kobrin.
Frank Zappa (1968) Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: We’re Only in It for the Money [CD] Ryco, RCD40024.
This album features radical audio editing and production techniques. The album was highly virtuosic and satirical of contemporary cultural fashions (ﬂower-power and hippie-dom). There also seem to be some tongue-in-cheek references to ‘serious’ electronic music.
Can (1969) ‘Father Cannot Yell ’ on Cannibalism (released in 1980) [CD] Spoon, CD004.
Can was a German rock group who had considerable inﬂuence on electronic and experimental music.
Alvin Lucier (1970) I Am Sitting in a Room [CD] Lovely Music, CD1013.
The liner notes explain that ‘several sentences of recorded speech are simultaneously played back into a room and re-recorded there many times. As the repetitive process continues, those sounds common to the original spoken statement and those implied by the structural dimensions of the room are reinforced. The others are gradually eliminated. The space acts as a ﬁlter; the speech is transformed into pure sound. All the recorded segments are spliced together in the order in which they were made and constitute the work.’
Miles Davis (1970) Bitches Brew [CD] Columbia, C2K 65774.
The Bitches Brew album was not only a landmark in the establishment of ‘fusion’ jazz, but also important in its pioneering use of studio technology, led by Teo Macero.
Wendy Carlos (1972) Timesteps [CD] East Side Digital, ESD81362.
This was composed for Stanley Kubrick’s ﬁlm A Clockwork Orange and used a vocoder to create ‘synthesized speech’.
Pink Floyd (1973) Dark Side of the Moon [CD] Harvest/Capitol, 3609.
Classic concept album that sits between electronic music and blues rock. Employs many musique concrète techniques alongside double-tracking, ﬂanging, panning and reverb effects.
Kraftwerk (1974) Autobahn [CD] EMI, CDP7461532.
Inﬂuential German electronic music group, particularly known for their 1970s work which has had a broad impact on popular music.
The Residents (1976) The Third Reich and Roll [CD] Torso, CD405.
Long-standing American underground avant garde group, who consistently maintain their anonymity. Many of their works are cultural commentaries utilizing samples and media hi-jinks.
Brian Eno (1978) Ambient 1/Music for Airports [CD] Virgin Records, EEGCD17. I.
Inﬂuential English composer, producer, engineer, writer and visual artist. He is known as the father of ‘ambient’ music. His production credits include U2 and The Talking Heads.
Gavin Bryars (1978) The Sinking of the Titanic [CD] EG Records, CDVE938. Uses a collection of ‘found materials’ on tape along with a live ensemble, plus sounds recorded underwater. The music consists of immensely slowed-down hymn tunes and other sonic materials.
Iannis Xenakis (1978) Mycenae-Alpha [CD] Mode, 98/99.
This was the ﬁrst piece ever to be made with the UPIC computer system. Instead of a keyboard to perform the music, the UPIC’s performance device is a mouse and/or a digital drawing board, which trace the composer’s graphic score into the program. This then interprets the drawings as real time instructions for sound synthesis.
David Behrman (1978) ‘On the Other Ocean ’ on OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948–1980 [CD] Ellipsis Arts, M1473O462000.
An improvisation on acoustic instruments with pitch-detection controlling a computer, which in turn controls two handmade synthesisers. This is an early example of an interactive work with live computer response to human performers.
Iannis Xenakis (1977/8) La Legende d’Eer [CD] Mode, 148.
A 7-channel electro-acoustic composition designed to be played as a multimedia piece with lasers in a specially constructed building called ‘Le Diatope’. There are three sound sources: instrumental sounds, noises and electronically generated sounds.
Robert Ashley (1978/80) Perfect Lives [DVD] Lovely Music, DVD4917.
A highly innovative crossmedia ‘television opera’ in seven 30-minute episodes.
Charles Dodge (1979) Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental [CD] New Albion, 043.
Scored for piano and tape, the latter consisting of electronic sounds and a computer-transformed rendering of Enrico Caruso’s 1907 recording of the aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ from Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci.
King Tubby/Roots Radics (1981) Dangerous Dub [CD] Greensleeves, GREWCD229.
King Tubby is a Jamaican sound engineer who has been highly inﬂuential in the development of Jamaican dub. This has heavy reverb and other effects overlaying a remixed reggae/ska track from which vocals and lead instruments are omitted.
Grandmaster Flash (1981) The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel [CD] Sugar Hill Records, 310917.
Grandmaster Flash is a New York DJ artist who was instrumental in the development of turntable technique during the 1970s and1980s. This track uses samples from Queen, CHIC and Blondie, among others.
Nicolas Collins (1982) Little Spiders [CD]Lovely Music, VR1701.
A duet for two computers that respond to keystrokes to generate sounds 'characterized by an ambiguous pitch center and shifting overtone structure'.
David Behrman (1983–1986) Leapday Night [CD] Lovely Music, LCD1042.
Jean-Michel Jarre (1984) Zoolok [CD]Disques Dreyfus.
Samples singing and speech in twenty-five different languages, combined with digital sounds, all created on the Fairlight CMI.
The Art of Noise (1984) ‘Beat Box (Diversion One) ’ on The Best of The Art of Noise [CD]China/Polydor, 837 367-2.
An inﬂuential electronic music group formed by producer Trevor Horn, helping to deﬁne the potential of new digital sampling technology in dance and popular forms in the 1980s. The name of the group is, obviously, a reference to Luigi Russolo’s essay of the same name.
Kaija Saariaho (1984) Verblendungen [CD]Finlandia, FACD374.
Successful balancing of live orchestra and electro-acoustic music, using the Groupe de Recherches Musicale’s digital toolset to process concrete sounds. The two elemenerts traverse the pitch–noise continuum in opposite directions.
Paul Lansky (1985) Idle Chatter [CD] Bridge, 9103.
This is one of a family of pieces that explore vocal sounds, overdubbed, edited and processed. The music comprises an inﬂected babble of barely recognizable sounds.
George Lewis (1985 onwards) Voyager[CD] Disk Union, R-3800029.
‘Voyager (the [computer] program) analyzes aspects of an improviser’s performance in real time, using that analysis to guide an automatic composing program that generates complex responses to the musician’s playing. This implies a certain independence of action, and indeed, the program exhibits generative behaviour independent of the human performer. The system is not an instrument, and therefore cannot be controlled by a performer.’ (From the liner notes.)
Trevor Wishart (1986) ‘Vox 5’ on Computer Music Currents, vol. 4, 1989 [CD] Wergo, 202450.
An English composer who has contributed signiﬁcantly to the development of computer music.
New Order (1987) Substance [CD] Factory Records, FAC 200.
English band known for its melding of electronic-dance and post-punk styles.
Denis Smalley (1987) Wind Chimes [CD] Empreintes Digitales, IMED-9209-CD.
The sound of wind chimes is processed and developed in astonishing detail.
Morton Subotnick (1988) And the Butterflies Begin to Sing[CD]New World Records.
Scored for string quartet, bass, MIDI keyboard and computer.
Christian Marclay (1988) More Encores [CD] Recommended, RERCM1.
Turntablism that mixes music by Johann Strauss, John Zorn, John Cage, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Ferrante and Teicher, Louis Armstrong, Martin Denny, Maria Callas, Jimi Hendrix and Frederic Chopin.
John Zorn (1988) Forbidden Fruit [CD] Nonesuch, D100675.
With Christian Marclay (turntables), Ohta Hiromi (voice) and the Kronos String Quartet. Zorn said: 'Composed of sixty sections in all, four sets of twelve variations each, and twelve themes, all squeezed into ten minutes, this is perhaps my most compact and fast-moving piece to date.'
Diamanda Galás (1988) You Must Be Certain of the Devil [CD] Mute, STUMM46.
‘Galás emerged within the post-modern performance art scene in the seventies … protesting … the treatment of victims of the Greek junta, attitudes towards victims of AIDS. Her pieces are constructed from the ululation of traditional Mediterranean keening … whispers, shrieks, and moans.’ Galás uses an unusual microphone array and time-varying reverberation to enhance her extraordinary vocal range and the brooding intensity of the music.
Pauline Oliveros (1990) Crone Music [CD] Lovely Music, LCD1903.
‘As a musician I am interested in the sensual nature of sound, its power of release and change. In my performances throughout the world I try to transmit to the audience the way I am experiencing sound as I hear it and play in a style that I call deep listening. Deep listening is listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds. Deep listening is my life practice.’ –Oliveros (from the liner notes).
Tim Perkis (1992) Wax Lips[CD] Tzadik, TZ 8050-3.
An early example of networked music, performed by The Hub.
Michael McNabb (1993) Dreamsong [CD] Wergo, RWER20202.
Dreamsong was created with the MUS10 computer music language on a DEC KL-10 computer. McNabb programmed the computer to create smooth transformations between different sounds. For McNabb, these shifts were poetically like the shifting experiences of a dream.
Francis Dhomont (1994/6) Forêt Profonde [CD] Empreintes Digitales, IMED9634.
Dhomont is one of the leading exponents of ‘acousmatic’ music, or ‘cinema for the ears’.
Goldie (1995) Timeless [CD] FFRR, CD697-124073-2.
The debut album by Goldie, and still one of the ﬁnest examples of drum ’n’ bass.
Autechre (1995) Tri Repetae [CD] Warp Records, 38.
Autechre (Rob Brown and Sean Booth) have been inﬂuential on the development of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), but their work does not ﬁt easily into a single genre. They explore a variety of techno instruments and techniques and sometimes use modular software environments.
Tupac Shakur (1996) All Eyez on Me [CD]Death Row/Koch, 63008.
Probably the most inﬂuential rap album of the 1990s.
John Oswald (1996) 69 Plunderphonics 96 [CD]Seeland, 515.
‘If creativity is a ﬁeld, copyright is the fence.’ –John Oswald
Tortoise (1996) Millions Now Living Will Never Die [CD] Thrill Jockey, THRILL025.
An eclectic fusion of jazz, electronica and experimental rock (among other inﬂuences) from an American ‘postrock’ band.
Amon Tobin (1997) Bricolage [CD] Ninja Tunes, zenCD29.
Contains influences from drum 'n' bass, hip hop blues, jazz and samba, all digitally processed to create a sense of the bricolage suggested by the title.
The Prodigy (1997) The Fat of the Land [CD] XL Recordings, XLCDID 121.
Controversial British ‘Big Beat’ band.
Aphex Twin (1997) ‘Bucephalus Bouncing Ball ’ on Come to Daddy [CD] Warp Records, 31001. Richard James, aka Aphex Twin, is an innovator in contemporary electronic ambient, drum 'n' bass and related genres.
Steve Reich (1998) Different Trains[CD] Signum Records, SIGCD066.
Combines recorded speech with string quartet.
Coldcut (1998) ‘Timber ’ on Hexstatic [CD] Ninja Tunes, ZencdS65A.
‘In Timber all sound components are linked to their video sources. Whole rhythms have been painstakingly edited out of individual beats and video frames.’
Farmer’s Manual (1998) Explorers We [CD]Or, SQUISH04.
Described as 'a sinewave massacre', this is a 60-minute long, continuous track of electronic sound manipulations by the band of which Case Study Oswald Berthold is a member. Index points have been placed at 60-second intervals, making this very suitable for random play, looping and home-Djing.
Ryoji Ikeda (1998) 0°C[CD] Touch, TO:30.
Classic early microsound album. Not available online, but check out YouTube for loads of other Ikeda tracks.
Scanner (1999) Lauwarm Instrumentals [CD]Sulphur, SULCD002.
Exploits many vocal and almost-vocal samples to create a dark and carefully orchestrated album of great intensity.
Pan Sonic (1999) ‘Maa ’ on Album A [CD] Blast First, BFFP132.
Pan Sonic is a Finnish electronic music duo: Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen.
Various Artists (2000) OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948–1980[CD] Ellipsis Arts M1473 O46 2000.
A very useful compilation album of the history of electronic music.
Kim Cascone (2000) 1parasitefordeleuze [CD] anechoic media, a001.
The title explicitly references Milles Plateaux by Giles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Jonty Harrison (2000) Evidence Matérielle[CD] empreintes DIGITALes, IMED0052.
Compilation of acousmatic works which sometimes look at the structure of sound (assessing sound for what it is), and sometimes look at the story behind the sound (assessing it for what it tells). Two ways to look at sound, two different ways to listen.
Steve Roden (2000) Four Possible Landscapes[CD] Trente Oiseaux, TOC00.
Blends concrete and electronic sounds to create highly minimal aural landscapes.
AMM (2001) Fine[CD]Matchless Recordings, MRCD46.
A highly inﬂuential free-improvisation group. They are said to never discuss the content of a performance ahead of time.
Squarepusher (2001) Go Plastic [CD] Warp, CD85.
‘The modern musician is subject to a barrage of persuasion from manufacturers of music technology. The general implication is that buying new tools leads to being able to make new and exciting music. While it is true that certain degrees of freedom are added by new equipment, it is not the case that this entails wholesale musical innovation. What seems more likely is that new clichés are generated by users unanalytically being forced into certain actions by the architecture of the machine. For me it is parallel, if not synonymous with a dogmatic consumer mentality that seems to hold that our lives are always improved by possessions.’ –Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher
Negativland (2001) These Guys Are from England and Who Gives a Shit[CD] Seeland (or rather Seelard), 0021.
Controversial album that includes a track parodying U2 that orginally landed Negativland in court on Intellectual Property violation charges. In the end, U2 seem to have colluded, or at least sanctioned, the record, but the story is complicated.
Matthew Adkins (2002) Fragmented Visions [CD] MPS Music and Video, MPSCD015.
‘Walk into the games arcade of the future and you walk into a world of liquid neon: a world of high stakes, high energy and high risk.’ (From the liner notes.)
Missy Elliot (2002) ‘Work It ’ on Under Construction [CD] Goldmind/Elektra, 7559-62875-2.
Highly successful American singer, songwriter and hip-hop artist, who also uses some sophisticated digital techniques.
DJ Spooky (2002) Optometry [CD] Thirsty Ear, THI57121.2.
A virtuoso and seamless mix of live and sampled materials in this landmark hybrid of free jazz and dub.
Tetsu Inoue and Carl Stone (2002) pict.soul [CD] Cycling ’74, c74-005.
‘pict.soul documents the ﬁrst meeting between these two giants in the experimental, ambient, and post-ambient world… As is always the case with Inoue and Stone, their source materials remain mysterious, identiﬁable for ﬂeeting instants. The precise nature of the collaborations for each of the ten pieces on pict.soul is equally mysterious.’
Phil Jeck (2003) Vinyl Coda I–III [CD]Intermedium, INTER002.
A completely non-digital piece of turntablism that, through its deconstruction and editing of old recordings, manages to convey much about digital cut-and-paste culture.
Kaffe Matthews (2003) Eb+flo[CD] Annetteworks, AWCD0005-6.
Despite the title, the album (by one of the Case Studies) is mostly made of static electronic soundscapes featuring, amongst many other instruments, the theremin.
Björk (2004) Medúlla [CD] Atlantic Records, One Little Indian 6294.
An album made entirely from digitally manipulated vocal sounds, including the throat-singer Tagaq, hip-hop beatboxer Rahzel, Japanese beatboxer Dokaka, avant-rocker Mike Patton, Soft Machine drummer/singer Robert Wyatt, and various choirs.
Gilles Gobeil (2005) Trilogie d’ondes [CD]empreintes DIGITALes, IMED0756.
Includes works spanning three decades featuring the ondes martenot.
Pete Stollery (2006) Un son peut en chacher un autre [CD]empreintes DIGITALes, IMED0678.
Plays with the ambiguities of listening, as one sound opens to reveal another inside.