Category Archives: electronic

Joris Voorn – Global Underground #43: Rotterdam (The Exclusive Originals)

Album cover for Joris Vroon "Global Underground 43 The Exclusive Originals"

When I heard that Joris Voorn mixed a new Global Underground set, I immediately hunted it down. As soon as that first melody opened up, I prepared for an epic release of beats. Other than a bass drone, nothing came. Track two began, and again, no release. While there is a ton of innovation within electronic dance music, the genre… Read more »

Bonobo – Late Night Tales

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Album cover for "Late Night Tales: Bonobo"

I’m constantly humbled by how little I know about music. Bob recently offered me a humbling moment when he introduced me to Late Night Tales, a 20-year-old compilation series that I missed for the past 20 years. As I sit in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, recovering from a marathon workday and recuperating so I can do it… Read more »

Kölsch – 1977

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Album cover for Kölsch "1977"

1977 is big and easy. The opening track “Goldfisch” accurately sets the stage. The beats are generic, the melodies simplistic, the compositions predictable. This is the kind of electronic dance music that inevitably finds its way into festivals and blockbuster movies. If that’s your thing, I think you’ll like this record. Personally, I struggled to get through “Goldfisch” and the… Read more »

Akufen – Fabric 17

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Album cover for Akufen "Fabric 17"

I love experiencing how different DJs navigate the peaks and valleys that are essential to great mixes. The 2004 Fabric set from Akufen (nee Marc Leclair) demonstrates how one creative song choice can shape an entire set. The first few tracks establish a glitchy mood, and the equipment complaints and Joe Walsh references of “Little Tiny 1/8 Inch Jack” cement… Read more »

Everything but the Girl – Walking Wounded, New York City, 1996

Album cover for Everything but the Girl "Walking Wounded"

When I hear music that confuses me, I commit to listening to it. Electronic dance music was the exception, though. Dance music confused the hell out of me, but I fought it. I fought it hard. For years, I refused to dig in and try to understand it. I ranted about turntables not being instruments and DJs not being musicians…. Read more »

Kölsch – fabric Presents Kölsch

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Album cover for "fabric Presents Kölsch"

Two things immediately strike me about Rune Reilly Kölsch’s set for Fabric. First, Kölsch’s compositions rest upon thick beds of harmony that take me back to my earliest experiences with electronic music, when I was a high school heavy metal fan trying to understand the sonic landscapes of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. Second, his rhythms feel boundless, weaving in… Read more »

Loraine James – Reflection

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Album Cover for Loraine James "Reflection"

I sometimes wonder what would happen if reviewers didn’t receive press kits. It’s a question that re-emerges as I read about Loraine James and encounter phrases like “genre-bending IDM” and “paint portraits of Blackness, queerness and loneliness.” I don’t know what genre-bending IDM sounds like. What I hear in Reflection is a thoughtful and emotional record that builds on the… Read more »

Modeselektor, The Fall, and the Rules of Electronic Dance Mixes

Album cover for Modeselektor Presents Modeselktion Vol. 03

Every genre of music defines an early set of rules, devolves into a chaotic sense of anarchy, then finds its way to a new set of rules. Look at rock. Early rock and roll followed rules largely inherited from country and R&B. The British Invasion initially stuck with those rules, but by about 1966, the Beatles and the Stones were… Read more »

Zhu – Dreamland 2021

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Album cover for Zhu "Dreamland 2021"

My taste in electronic dance music runs a bit below the radar. I’ve got nothing against artists like Skrillex or David Guetta, they just don’t speak to me. That’s why I’ve never bothered with Zhu. However, there was a compelling LA Times article about him and anti-AAPI racism, so I decided to check out Dreamland 2021. The album’s fine. It… Read more »