This week we like…Electronica
To honor the launch of our new digital music download function, this week’s Staff Picks is dedicated to the best of our Electronica collection. Like Murfie, all of these albums are a surprising mix of digital and analog, and all are excellent.
This Washington, D.C.-based DJ duo draws on reggae, dub, middle eastern, and bossa nova influences and distills them into a suave, psychedelic electro-lounge sound. “The Richest Man in Babylon” was produced with the help of a cadre of international singers and session musicians, and includes songs in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Persian.
Morcheeba was started in the mid-90s in Britain by brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey and vocalist Skye Edwards. After establishing a modish, trip-hop aesthetic with their first album, “Who Can You Trust,” the group expanded on their Rhodes-based, downtempo sound with the release of “The Big Calm,” a more sunny, pop-influenced album. This album includes the single “The Sea,” which saw minor success on radio and television.
Another British electronica group, Portishead displays a considerably darker and less polished sound than the other offerings here. Their 1997 self-titled album was released after three years of media aversion, and spawned several highly regarded singles. The video for one of these singles, “Only You,” was produced by Chris Cunningham, and remains one of the most haunting music videos of the 1990s.
“Homework” is the debut album of French duo Daft Punk, and easily the liveliest of the albums presented here. Mixing influences ranging from 80’s Disco to Detroit and Chicago House culture to FM radio compression algorithms, this album is a squiggly, bouncing, thumping ode to electronic dance music.