I had a good chuckle at Mojo magazine's 50 Greatest Electronic Records in the latest issue - well you wouldn't expect the bastion of Rock heritage to get it right, would you? And they don't. Which I'm not pleased about, believe me - yes, I'm also known as 'Snobin', but that doesn't mean I'm laughing because many names on the list are popular - oh no - they're plain WRONG is all. Roxy Music is an 'electronic record'? Eh? Oh, just 'cause Eno's on it, right. King Tubbys Meets The Rockers Uptown? Er, OK, if wizardry at the mixing desk meets the criterion where the hell is Lee Perry, or for that matter, Phil Spector? Massive Attack's Blue Lines is there...mmm...so sampling/breakbeats in Trip-Hop form counts, does it? Well, Tricky's Maxinquaye should be in then, or DJ Shadow's Endtroducing, because both are far more ground-breaking.
The POP/Rock connection is an umbilical chord that Mojo seem unable to cut, which makes this list a lie. If they'd stated first that most selections related to Pop/Rock & Dance that would be fine, but they don't, so they give the impression that researchers really have presented the 50 Greatest Electronic Records instead of 50 Electronic Records For Those Who Don't Like Pure Electronic Music Without Vocals Or Guitars Incolved. There's no Stockhausen. I repeat, in caps, THERE'S NO STOCKHAUSEN. Silver Apples' Silver Apples, but not Morton Subotinik's Silver Apples Of The Moon. Heh-heh - you gotta larf. Silver Apples gets the nod because that's sort of like a Rock record, but with electronics, and the effect's the same.
I can only presume that Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air is in because some ex-hippy staff member (or powerful hippy ex-staff member) fondly recalls lighting incense and getting stoned to it in '69. Ditto Tangerine Dream, whose Phaedra continues the longhair freek connection - jesus. That's all dubious enough, but then we move forward in time and look who's here, Burial! I can't say anything bad about Burial, though, that's the law. If I did, I'd be banned from breathing - fact. Nine Inch Nails...The Prodigy...LCD Sound System...Radiohead...Radiohead? Yes, Radiohead. And look, here's Stevie Wonder's Music Of My Mind. Why? Because none of them have heard Innervisions? As much as I love this era of Stevie in no way does it qualify as Electronic Music. Notably, his aids in the electronic realm, Malcolm Cecil and Margouleff (Tonto's Expanding Headband) do not make the list, despite their debut, Zero Time, supposedly inspiring Stevie to get with the new technology.
Jean-Michel Jarre's in there, because he wrote the intro so, you know, it wouldn't be fair to exclude him, would it? Even though his music's the equivalent of being trapped in a New Age shop whilst a Las Vegas lounge bar star plays Eno's greatest hits - no wonder he sold trillions, it's Electronic Music as Valium and resides in the homes of every pony-tailed L.A. producer since 1976 - I rest my case.
Of course there are good, right and proper things on the list, but they're undermined by all the Electronic Music For Twats, by which I mean those who really think it all began with Kraftwerk and still jump up and down to The Chemical Brothers at festivals. Oh, and those for whom The Prodigy represent Acceptable Dance Music because, well, he's a bit of a nutter, isn't he? And they just rocked Glasto.
So here are 25 of my Greatest Electronic Records. Only 25 because I can't be bothered to do 50 and yes there are many left out but, you know, life's too short, and being a reader of this blog you'll know most of what I choose because you're hip, aren't you? I must state that these are not simply my favourites but indisputably some of The Greatest as scientifically and sonically proven. (Oh, and there's nothing 'contemporary' because I didn't get 'round to thinking about everything that's happened since Techno was born and I'm sure you'll agree that the test of time is not easy to pass or apply unless you think Jeff Mills is a genius.)
1.Silver Apples of the Moon - Morton Subotnik
2. Kontakte - Stockhausen
3. Trans-Europa Express - Kraftwerk
4. Futurissimo - Egisto Macchi
5. Quatermass - Tod Dockstader
6. Effets Speciaux - Pierro Umiliani
7. Zero Time - Tonto's Expanding Headband
8. Complete Electronic Music - Iannis Xenakis (yes, I'm including compilations)
9. Oramics - Daphne Oram
10. Electrosound - Ron Geesin
11. Zerkalo - Eduard Artemiev
12. Song Of The Second Moon - Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan
13. World With Worlds - Basil Kirchin
14. L'OEil ecoute - Bernard Parmegiani
15. Cesi Est Cela - Philippe Besombes
16. Independent Electronic Music Composer - Edward M Zajda
17. Ataraxia - Mort Garson
18. Biomechanoid - Joel Vandroogenbroek
19. The World Of Electro-Acoustic Sound and Music - Matsuo Ohno
20. Musique Pour Le Futur - Nino Nardini
21. Les Livre des Morts Egyptien - Pierre Henry
22. Film Music - Vladimir Ussachevsky
23. Logos - Igor Wakhevitch
24. Death Of The Moon - Rune Lindblad
25. Forest Of Evil - Frank Reidy & Eric Allen