Welcome to the EDM Jungle Classic EDM Works

Sidebar: Classic EDM Works

The Future Sound of London: Lifeforms (Virgin/ Astralwerks, 1994)
FSOL's postapocalyptic theme was reflected in Lifeforms' video, which starred a blank-faced "witch girl," ambient horror tones, and flowing-yet-glitchy beats.


Everything but the Girl, Todd Terry: Amplified Heart (Atlantic, 1994)
An established blue-eyed soul duo, EBTG made techno a household name with Todd Terry's beat-heavy remix of their torch song, "Missing."


Portishead: Dummy (Go! Beat Records, 1994)
Beth Gibbons's fragile vocals clung to Geoff Barrow's retro-beat production like Billie Holiday singing death songs from a virtual prison cell.


Laika: Silver Apples of the Moon (Too Pure, 1994)
Dropping surreal samples over a galloping rhythm, spongy synth effects, and disembodied vocals, opening track "Sugar Daddy" was simultaneously comforting and dreadful.


The Chemical Brothers: Exit Planet Dust (Astralwerks, 1995)
"Big beat" masters Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons made anthems for dance floors and headphone bangers. They still do.


Squarepusher: Feed Me Weird Things (Rephlex Records, 1996)
Tom Jenkinson allied his magnificent Fender Jazz bass to frenetic drum and bass programming in songs of beauty ("Theme"), alienation ("Tundra"), and sci-fi mystery ("Theme from Ernest Borgnine").


Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children (Warp, 1998)
Sample-based, torpid music as eerie and unsettling as the album's title and cover art.


Massive Attack: Mezzanine (Virgin, 1998)
Heavy dub, sinister samples, whispered vocals, and hypnotic tones = epic alienation, paranoia, and dread.


funambulistic's picture

Well, that was a waste of typing - all the text went "poof", lost in the interwebs forever.

Anyway, a TL/DR version: great feature, love EDM, nice selection, sounds great on good systems...

Anton's picture

That's happened to me before, as well.

I like your summary!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Block Rockin' Beats' :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Busy Child' :-) ........

downunderman's picture

For those with an interest a good book - 'The All Music Guide to Electronica' is very much what you need. Issued as an actual hardcopy book way back in 2001 [ISBN 0-87930-628-9]. Nearly 700 pages worth and if you can snag a second hand copy you will be well rewarded.

supamark's picture

The Chemical Bros. are EDM (and you left off one of the most important/popular EDM albums - The Crystal Method's "Vegas"), and you can at least dance to Laika but the rest of the list fails on the "dance" part of EDM. You can't really dance to trip hop like Portishead's "Dummy," or to drum and bass like Squarepusher, especially drum and bass - too fast/twitchy.

Yes, I know not all 90's EDM is "big beat" but that genere was a big part of it. Probably should have included more examples of different kinds of house music in the list (wasn't really my thing but it's mos' def' EDM). Yes, I spent a lot of time in dance clubs lol.

Maybe call this list interesting 90's electronic music of various genres instead?

funambulistic's picture

... can please all people, unfortunately. Some of my favorites are not mentioned either, but that's okay - Ken painted the EDM "movement" with a very broad brush and I am sure it was not meant to be all inclusive. Having been in the midst and writing for various mags most likely afforded him greater exposure and knowledge than most of us will ever have.

As far as EDM goes, my experience (and, fortunately, said experience was reinforced by some nostalgia driven research last night) is that the term is pretty much all inclusive of a variety of genres: some one can dance to, others, well...

fbailiey's picture

Looks like he missed the canvas.

supamark's picture

but the "M" in EDM literally stands for "dance". If you can't dance to it, how can it be electronic DANCE music? It's a nice cross section of 90's electronic music, but not all of it is dance music. I mean, Portishead's "Dummy" (an excellent album, I own a copy) is trip hop and a fine example of that genre - I've never in 20+ years heard it referred to as EDM, just trip hop or trip hop adjacent genres. Accuracy is important.

AaronGarrett's picture

It's possible that EDM is restricted to British music (maybe that is how the term is used) but if we are talking about electronic dance music I think the opposite is true. EDM is an international music and has countless undergrounds from Bucharest to Sao Paolo to Shanghai to Berlin to Rotterdam, etc. etc. And some of the biggest stars are also some of the most creative musicians in the world -- Ricardo Villalobos and Nina Kraviz are as experimental as you could want and fill stadiums. It has not been an Anglophone dominated music for a long time. And it begins internationally, a bunch of friends in Detroit listening to Kraftwerk and imagining future dance music and the mutation of Italo Disco to House in Chicago.