When you think of “electro,” acts like Justice, Boys Noize, or Siruismo may come to mind. You might think of French people in florescent clothing and side-chain compression rather than breakdancing and retro-futurism. But much like the words “trap” and “dubstep” have taken on completely different meanings from what they originally signified, “electro” now means something totally different than what it meant in the 1980s. Let’s take a look back
In the early 1980s, electro was the new wave of hip hop after acts like Sugarhill Gang were rapping over disco breaks and tracks by live bands. Compared to everything else that came out in 1982, Planet Rock was completely groundbreaking. This was the same year as Fearless Four’s “Rockin’ It” and Malcolm Mclaren’s “Buffalo Gals” – both classic tracks in their own right, but they didn’t push boundaries like Planet “Rock.” This revolutionary 808-based song, which pulled heavily from Kraftwork’s “Numbers” and tracks by Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), set the tone for not only the hip-hop scene, but also what would become techno thanks to acts from Detroit like Cybotron and Drexciya. This is one of my favorite genres ever and these tracks still sound fresh almost 30 years later.
Afrika Bambata – Planet Rock
Kraftwerk – Numbers
The Jonzun Crew – Space Is The Place
Newcleus – Jam On It (Back In Da Dayz Old School Mix)
And here we have one of the greatest electro artists ever – The Egyptian Lover. “Not just a man, it’s an adventure.” Besides Afrika Bambata, this is who comes to mind when I think of classic electro. And we’ve got him coming to LOVE BANG on November 9th at 390 Bar. He’s doing a live 808 Set, a DJ set, and a dance routine. More info on that show as the date approaches but it’s not to be missed! Check this interview with the legend over on Weekly Review Of Dance Music and a bio over at Stones Throw. Here’s the stone-cold classic “Egypt, Egypt.” Photo from Stones Throw.
Egyptian Lover – Egypt Egypt
And this one, straight out of Detroit. Pioneers of techno right here.
Cybotron – Clear
Hashim – Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)
Globe feat. Whiz Kid – Play That Beat Mr. DJ
And here’s a couple newer tracks building on that classic electro sound – really love these. Both coming out of London, on Night Slugs and Hyperdub, respectively.
Girl Unit – Ensemble (Club Mix)
Ikonika – Mr Cake
Eating mooncakes right now so the Ikonika track feels perfect. Easily one of the best tracks to come out this year. The mooncake? Not one of the best of 2013.
And as a bonus, let’s go way back to the roots of all this with a track by Japanese act Yellow Magic Orchestra from 1978. Roller skate classic right here.
Yellow Magic Orchesta – Firecracker
Next Tuesday we’ll continue down this path and look at another strain of 808-heavy music – Miami Bass.