Historical Listening List

The following historical lis­tening list is long, but nowhere near long enough to cover everything! It adds up to a summary account of the evolution of electronic and electro­acoustic music in the twentieth century. It begins with tape composition, and digital music gradually enters the list as it begins to appear from the early 1950s onwards. 

Max Mathews wrote the first music programming language, MUSIC1, in 1957 at Bell Labs and created some of the earliest computer music compositions. Not surprisingly, this music emerged from the electronic and electroacoustic music that had gone before. This listening list may therefore be regarded as the beginnings of a collection of essential historical recordings (however, note that it does omit the works that appear as recommended listenings elsewhere in the book). 

Some useful questions to ask when listening are: What is the art­ist’s intention? How well is it realized? What is the cultural context for the work? What are its compositional techniques? What is the musical language? 

  • Johanna M. Beyer (1938) Music of the Spheres. One of the earliest compositions for electronic instruments. Available at https://youtu.be/_REVFN7A6_4
  • Pierre Schaeffer (1948) ‘Étude aux chemins de fer’ fromCinq 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 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 serialises 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) Poéme 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. 
  • Iannis Xenakis (1958) ‘Concrète PH’ on Xenakis: Electronic Music. Electronic Music Foundation [CD] EMF, CD003. A musique concrète piece made from the sound of burning charcoal. 
  • 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. 
  • Else Marie Pade (1958) Symphonie magnétophonique. Pade was a Danish composer who was interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. This early 'musique concrète' work depicts everyday life during one day in Copenhagen: morning dawning with its routines, the way to work, time in the office or the factory, then the trip home from school or work to domestic routines in the evening, and finally the day is ending and a new one can begin. Available at https://soundcloud.com/danish-composers/else-marie-pade-symphonie 
  • 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. 
  • Delia Derbyshire (1963) Doctor Who theme. Probably one of the most famous pieces of electronic music ever created. Derbyshire was working at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the time. During her longe career she created hundreds of compositions and wrote copiously on a range of topics. 
  • 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 synchronisation. This process is then repeated and repeated until the multiple layerings remove the meaning of the words. 
  • Daphne Oram (1965) Pulse Persephone [CD] Paradigm Discs ‎– PD 21. Oram created highly original electronic music from the early 1940s onwards and eventually developed the Oramics method of drawing sound directly onto 35mm film. This work is constructed from sounds from many countries, such as steel pan and African drums and flutes.
  • 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 5 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. 
  • 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.’ 
  • 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. 
  • Ruth White (1969) Flowers of Evil[CD] Limelight Records. Features readings of Charles Baudelaire's poetry combined with Moog synthesizer, on which White was a virtuoso.
  • 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. 
  • Raymond Scott (1969) The Pygmy TaxiCorporation [CD] Basta Records. This is one of Scott’s noncommercial compositions, written as a musical experiment with his Electronium. 
  • Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux (1970) Arksalalartôq [CD] empreintes DIGITALEs IMED 0159 / 2001. This work integrates voice with tape, combining the two in fusions and juxtapositions of both electronic sound and vocal utterances.
  • 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. [i] 
  • 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. 
  • Laurie Spiegel (1974) ‘Appalachian Grove’ on OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948–1980. Spiegel worked with Buchla and Electronic Music Laboratories synthesizers throughout the 1970s and developed Music Mouse: an intelligent instrument for desktop computers. She also created visual works and frequently combines digital and acoustic audio in interactive composition. 
  • 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. 
  • Lou Reed (1975) Metal Machine Music [CD] BMG, ND90670. A celebrated album comprising layered guitar feedback, and nothing else. 
  • 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 utilising 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. 
  • Einsturzende Neubaten (1980–1983) Strategies against Architecture[CD] Mute, STUMM14. Classic and shocking work from the pioneers of German ‘industrial’ music. 
  • 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. 
  • Glenn Branca (1981, reissued 2003) The Ascension Acute [CD] 9EIPG. Trademark layered electric guitars and a cacophony of riffs, beats and rhythms. 
  • Pierre Boulez (1981) Répons[CD] Deutsche Grammophon, 457605. A huge work for nine percussionists, orchestra and digital sound system. 
  • 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–80s. 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”.[ii] 
  • Laurie Anderson (1982) Big Science[CD] Warner, 2KNM. An important figure in the establishment of performance art, Anderson’s stripped-down, ironic tone and technologically quirky delivery helped define the idea of the postmodern in the 1980s. 
  • 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 electroacoustic 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 recognis­able 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. 
  • Suzanne Ciani (1986) The Velocity of Love. This is Ciani's best-known track, but she had been working with the Buchla Modular Synthesizer since the early 1970s to create music and sound effects for commercials and movies. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeYsZHCQwXM 
  • 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 keybaord 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. 
  • Eliane Radigue (198-1993) Trilogie de la mort[CD] Experimental Intermedia Foundation ‎– XI 119.Radigue began composing with electronics in the 1950s. Her early works were created using only the ARP2500 modular synthesizer. The music is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and tends to unfold slowly in a way that is often called 'minimalist'. 
  • 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’. [iii]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. 
  • Alice Shields (1993) Apocalypse: an electronic opera [CD] Composers Recordings Inc. 647. Choreographed by the composer in Bharata Natyam style. Music and libretto by Shields, on Greek, Gaelic, and Sanskrit texts, in which a woman seeks spiritual knowledge.
  • Carla Scaletti (1994) Mitochondria for computer generated sound. Scaletti designed the Kyma sound generation language.
  • Kristina Kubsich (1994) Sechs Spiegel[CD] Editions RZ. This work used the architectural proportions of the German building the Ludgwigskirche to determine the rates of repetitions and pauses in vibrating drinking glasses. Kubisch is particularly known for her installation work and her "Electrical Walks' project. 
  • 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 & 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 and 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.’[iv] 
  • Farmer’s Manual (1998) Explorers We [CD]Or, SQUISH04. Described as "a sinewave massacre", this is a sixty 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 sixty 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. 
  • 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) OH: 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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). [v] 
  • 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.soulis equally mys­terious’.[vi] 
  • 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 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. 



[i] A. Mabbett, The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd, London: Omnibus Press, 1995. 

[ii] N. Collins (2009) Before Apple There Was Kim – the Microcomputer, Music and Me. Online. Available HTTP: <http://www.nicolascollins.com/essays.htm> (accessed 18 September 2011). 

[iii] S. McClary, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender and Sexuality, Minnesota: Uni­versity of Minnesota Press, 1991. p. 110. 

[iv] Coldcut (1998) Timber. Hexstatic ZencdS65A. Online. Available HTTP: http://www.ninja­tune.net/ninja/release.php?id=90 (accessed 26 August 2007). 

[v] Squarepusher (2004) ‘Philosophy’. Available HTTP: http://www.squarepusher.net (accessed 28 August 2007) 

[vi] From the Cycling ‘74 website. 

Copyright © Andrew Hugill, 2018