From: (Josh Kortbein)
Subject: Re: techno recommendations
Date: 25 Jan 2000 16:48:43 GMT
Organization: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa USA
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Krishna Rayaprolu ( wrote:

: It may look like a wrong newsgroup to post this question but in a sense
: it is not.  I am a jazz/a-g jazz fan and these days I am trying to check
: out some good techno music.  I think there is a strong similarity in
: tastes among many rmb'ers.  I would much rather ask for techno
: recommendations here than in a techno newsgroup.  Please recommend any
: techno cds that you think a jazz fan might like.

: The ones I liked so far are:
: Textures by Darren Emerson & Alex Paterson
: Endtroducing by D.J.Shadow (particularly the song -What does your soul
: look like, part 4-).

The obvious genre to check out is "drum and bass," or maybe "jungle."
I'm not quite sure - the distinctions between the two are fuzzy.
But both involve, variously, upright basslines and tight drum (programming)
work. Jungle tends to feature freaked-out drumlines sampled or modeled
after great jazz drum breaks of yore - often for whole or major
portions of songs. So it's kind of like constant drum soloing, but not
in the (what could be perceived as) more boring kind typical of jazz.

I'm not that knowledgable about electronic music, but Amon Tobin's
_Permutation_ does it for me - it's Brazilian and latin-jazz influenced
drum n bass / jungle, highly dense, funky, groovy. I hear his other
work is good too, just haven't gotten any of it yet. Big fat basslines
are a plus.

Photek might be one to check out here too, though he sounds completely
different on _Modus Operandi_ than Amon Tobin. I don't like that album
much but many people seem to love it. Drummers are apparently especially
awed by his ultra-precise (and sparse, for electronic music) beats.

Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkinson) is one of the stars of "drill n bass,"
which is kind of like drum n bass but with more freaked-out drum
programming. Think "spastic." Albums like _Feed Me Weird Things_
have a strong jazz fusion feel to some tracks, though it's a trebly,
cerebral kind of fusion. His later album _Music is Rotted One Note_
has been likened to "chanelling Bitches Brew era Miles" for its
fusion experiments. That album is heavy on the Rhodes piano and
fretless bass noodling, and is a warm, modern (i.e. "IDM" or "intelligent
dance music," which is a misnomer but one that stuck to label music
like Squarepusher's - you don't dance to it, is the point) take on
fusion. Squarepusher's got a LOT of material out too, and it varies
a lot.

Aphex Twin is another IDM star, one whose works have spanned a lot
of different sounds. My favorite is still _Selected Ambient Works
Volume II_, which is two discs of EXTREMELY low-key, minimalistic
music. IIRC the New York Times dubbed it "modern classical music"
or some such rubbish, but who needs them anyway? A completely
different album is _Richard D. James Album_ (that's his real name),
which is a beautiful take on the spastic drum programming of the
drill n bass musicians (which RDJ wasn't, mostly).

Autechre make some of my favorite electronic music. Intricate,
repetitive, foreign, wheezy, klanky, repetitive, spacious...
their modus operandi is to begin with a simple rhythm, and then
slowly add layers of sound and rhythm. Often the rhythms interlock
in ways reminiscent of the Baroque composers. My favorite is _LP5_
(sometimes just called _Autechre_), as it feels a little looser -
the hip-hop influence present in lots of techno is more prevalent,
or at least visible. _tri repetae++_ is more machinelike and also
comes with a second disc with the _anvil vapre_ and _garbage_ eps -
the latter of which is wonderful. The recent _ep7_ is more obscure
but also rewarding, given time. I think I said a few words about
it in my year-end list, somewhere at

I'd say Photek, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Autechre are all
pretty cerebral. Squarepusher and AT in particular have their
groovy moments but in general if you're looking for more dance-based
techno they're not the way to go.

Not really techno, but if you liked DJ Shadow and you haven't
heard Massive Attack, it's really worth it to do so. My favorite
of theirs is _Protection_, but _Blue Lines_ and _Mezzanine_ are
also great. _Protection_ is more soul-influenced, but not by
much. _Mezzanine_ is darker. _Blue Lines_ is more eclectic.
You might also take to Tricky's work.

So my best recommendation is to try Amon Tobin first, as he's
most jazz-like. Massive Attack and other trip-hop acts are somewhat
related to DJ Shadow. The others I've mentioned have less to
do with jazz, but I like them, and I like jazz. :)

This is just a start, and one perspective. is a
good source for techno genre information, so you can find out more
about the luminaries (and is biased but not that bad)
in each genre.


josh blog listening log: