7 main tracks in the history of electronic music

Electronic music is one of the most modern but already popular music genres which is reasonable. People love listening to it while they train, relax and play popular slot machines here, or simply dance. Yet, some tracks are the most well-known. Here are 7 best of them.   

Derba Derbyshire, Dr Who Theme

The first electronic hit created before the era of industrial synthesizers. A young BBC Radiophonic Workshop employee recorded the title theme for the new series using white noise generators and tone oscillators – instruments designed to check the acoustics of a room, not to create music. Hours of film splicing followed, speeding up and slowing down loops, overdubs, and other manual work. The result was one of the most recognizable themes in cinema, linking electronic music and science fiction for a long time. Despite the success of the series, the Decca label initially didn’t even want to release it on vinyl because it sounded too unusual for the standards of the sixties. It was only a year later that Dr Who Theme was finally released officially.

Morton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon

If Delia Derbyshire showed that it’s perfectly possible to create hits with electronic instruments, American composer Morton Subotnick set another basic vector for the electronic music space. The release of the record by the Nonesuch label seemed to recognize electronics as high art. With the modular Buchla 100 system, Morton shows that the synthesizer is not just another instrument in the big family, but a tool of the avant-garde to get rid of the pesky limitations of musical tradition. 

Neu! Hallogallo

Krautrock is a classic example of music ahead of its time. In the seventies, trend-hungry publishers tried unsuccessfully to make German rebels into stars, but it was in the nineties, when books were written about Krautrock and the musicians from Radiohead to Seefeel and Mouse on Mars started to talk about its influence. Dusseldorf’s Neu! was founded by Michael Roter and Klaus Dinger after they had left Kraftwerk, seemed to be the main symbol of the Krautrock renaissance. In the nineties they were sampled by Stereolab and System7, and covers were recorded by Download and Autechre. In the noughties, Neu! began to be massively re-released, and in the 2010s, neo-crout, based primarily on the percussion pattern of Klaus Dinger, became music, if not mass, then extremely fashionable.

Kraftwerk, Autobahn

It’s hard to find an electronic genre where Kraftwerk haven’t left a bright mark. It’s timelessly relevant krautrock, majestic space electronics, synth-pop, electro and even techno. The thing that perhaps most unites their talents is the single from the album of the same name, which was a big breakthrough for the band. The band from Dusseldorf, previously known only in a rather narrow krautrock community, suddenly made a quantum leap into the pop space and broke through even to the American charts. 

Tangerine Dream, Rubycon pt 1

Edgar Froese and his formation of variable composition started with gloomy, almost noise music, but in 1973 they discovered sequencers, and after that the world was no longer the same. The pulsating bass, looped sequences of notes, slightly changing the shape of the sound, and sublime string machines in the background formula would define not only space-electronics of all possible waves and generations but also synth disco.

Human League, Being Boiled

The Sheffield band’s debut single is the perfect balance between somber and cold, but still pop music and experimental, innovative sound design. Soon that balance would break down, vocalist Phil Oakey would take over, and Human League would become one of Britain’s premier purveyors of dance-pop hits for a long time to come. But their biggest contribution to history is this early piece. Without it, there would be no Depeche Mode, no EBM genre, and perhaps not even techno and hip-hop. 

Phuture, Acid Tracks

House emerged in Chicago in the mid-eighties, but it was Herbert Jackson and Earl Smith who made the real breakthrough in this genre. Before the appearance of Acid Tracks, house was a kind of pumped-up disco, after that it became the alien music of the future. The 13-minute psychedelic improvisation was spun by Chicago musicians on literally a couple of instruments in one evening. If before the appearance of this thing the Roland TB-303 bass station was considered a useless piece of iron and plastic, then it became a cult object.


Image Credit: Kraftwerk

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