With SYRO out, I figured I’d do a list of my favorite Electronic albums ever. These are not in order. I am not a music critic, I don’t know jack shit (except for the history of Jazz and that’s even a bit dusty). I can’t possibly order them because I love each of them different on any given day, and some I’ve listened to so much that they fall in rank for a time, even though they are the best.
1. Squarepusher: Ultravisitor
This is a double LP. The whole thing taken as one record in totality is on the OK list– it’s listenable and has some amazing tracks. However, the first side of the first record is one of the best sides of an electronic album ever. If you’ve never gotten into Squarepusher, this side shows you just how crazy talented Mr. JenkinSON is.
2. Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 2
Another double LP. Let’s get this out of the way as the best ambient work out there. There’s just so much great and scary stuff on here that everyone should have it. This is one that put Aphex on the map and there’s a reason for it. Rhubarb, Blue Calx, White Blur 2– just every track is what ambient should be– like “I probably shouldn’t have taken that last gravity-bong hit before getting on the bus” sort of feeling, except forever.
3. Wisp – We Miss You
This is a fairly recent record, and it really is one of the best electronica albums out there. While I am a huge Aphex Twin and Squarepusher fan, and always though µ-ziq was number three, Wisp is as good as all three of them and in someways surpasses them all. There are great tracks throughout this album, and while the second half lags a bit in just a couple tracks, overall it gets more play than nearly every other record I have (and it was never fucking released on vinyl, sadly). I play this for my kids and they love it. My wife loves it (and she has to suffer through a lot of electronica over the years). We listen to the first track (Morning Myth) on the way to soccer games and practice every single time and I probably listen to it every day. Wisp is not fucking about.
4. Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy
Because of FLIM, this is the best electronica record there is. Along with FLIM, every other track on this fucker is amazing, from the silly first track (tell me that’s not awesome even while making fun of how shitty Trent Reznor’s non-Quake stuff is) to the remixes of the main track and of course IZ-US and Bucephalus bouncing ball. If you get one thing off this list, this is it.
5. Minotaur Shock: Maritime
While not a giant among electronic artists like AFX and Wisp, Minotaur Shock has consistent albums and one really good one: Maritime. This came out at a time when I was getting a bit sick of electronica, just started all sounding the same to me, which in the IDM world in 2004 or so, was pretty true. This brought me back into the fold. Dude also does some really awesome remixes.
6. µ-ziq: Brace Yourself
This is µ-ziq’s best record. It’s just all over the place with awesome tracks. Intellitag is one of the key pieces that I just always go back to again and again. It’s funny as I thought this was just a set of outtakes from his previous record, which was also great, but this is phenomenal. It’s like boiled down µ-ziq. I like a lot of his other stuff, but the songs are a bit too long and don’t get to the fucking point quick enough. This record does.
7. Squarepusher: Feed Me Weird Things
This is early Squarepusher, and has a few tracks that are what I measure other electronic against: Tundra and Theme From Ernest Borgnine. This and the Richard D. James album form the nucleus of all that was to come after.
8. Aphex Twin: The Richard D. James Album.
A man that would name an album after himself while using a pseudonym is having some fun at your expense, but this is THE Aphex Twin album. It’s not as good as Come To Daddy, but in terms of a ton of awesome tracks, at the apex of Aphex, it’s incredible. It has my favorite track of all Aphex: Fingerbib.
9. Chris Clark: Clarence Park
This was a tough one for me– since the above 8 albums define the genre itself. I didn’t want to put yet another AFX up–in a way many of his albums stand far above everyone else’s with the exception of WISP and Squarepusher. After the 8 above, without repeating the artists, I start to dip down into stuff like Mouse on Mars, Amin Tobin, Burial, kettel, Gold Panda, Secede and various other really solid electronica artists– that just aren’t the absolute best ever. I could cheat and put AFX or the Tuss or Polygon Window, but you’d know what a cheater I was–and what a fucker.
You know what the last one is already since it just came out today.
I’ll do another list of just my favorite tracks ever.