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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Electronic - Released May 5, 2017 | Sony Music CG

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Dance - Released July 1, 2015 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Since 1980, there has been an assortment of compilations devoted to DJ Larry Levan, including multiple anthologies devoted to the man's remixes of Salsoul and West End tracks, and Journey Into Paradise, a set of Warner-distributed selections that combined material he remixed or merely played. Genius of Time, released in Europe through Universal, has the widest reach of them all, and concentrates on Levan's radical alterations. None of the tracks originated on Salsoul, a frequent client, so career highlights such as like Inner Life's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Up" aren't included. Instead, a judicious portion comes from the Island label, the source of four delectable, dubbed-out mixes of songs recorded by Gwen Guthrie with the Compass Point All-Stars. Another Island post-disco classic here is the monstrous Levan mix of ex-Hi Tension vocalist David Joseph's "You Can't Hide (Your Love from Me)," merely a slightly nutty, relatively tame tune in original form. There's a fair amount of overlap with previous Levan comps and other well-regarded various-artists sets, but quite a few -- Merc & Monk's "Carried Away," Jeffrey Osborne's "Plane Love," and Bert Reid's "Groovin' You" among them -- also appear on a legitimate compact disc release for the first time. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Trip Hop - Released August 1, 2013 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Though her collaborations with Tricky, Orbital, and Add N To X focused on the sheer beauty and power of her singing, on her debut album Felt Mountain Allison Goldfrapp also explores more straightforward styles. Together with composer/multi-instrumentalist Will Gregory, Goldfrapp wraps her unearthly voice around songs that borrow from '60s pop, cabaret, folk, and electronica without sounding derivative or unfocused. From the sci-fi/spy film hybrids "Human" and "Lovely Head" to the title track's icy purity, the duo strikes a wide variety of poses, giving Felt Mountain a stylized, theatrical feel that never veers into campiness. Though longtime fans of Goldfrapp's voice may wish for more the exuberant, intoxicating side of her sound, lovelorn ballads like "Pilots," "Deer Stop," and "Horse's Tears" prove that she is equally able at carrying -- and writing -- more traditional tunes. A strange and beautiful mix of the romantic, eerie, and world-weary, Felt Mountain is one of 2000's most impressive debuts. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 1, 2013 | Mute, a BMG Company

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Following a notorious flirtation with alternative rock, Moby returned to the electronic dance mainstream on the 1997 album I Like to Score. With 1999's Play, he made yet another leap back toward the electronica base that had passed him by during the mid-'90s. The first two tracks, "Honey" and "Find My Baby," weave short blues or gospel vocal samples around rather disinterested breakbeat techno. This version of blues-meets-electronica is undoubtedly intriguing to the all-important NPR crowd, but it is more than just a bit gimmicky to any techno fans who know their Carl Craig from Carl Cox. Fortunately, Moby redeems himself in a big way over the rest of the album with a spate of tracks that return him to the evocative, melancholy techno that's been a specialty since his early days. The tinkly piano line and warped string samples on "Porcelain" frame a meaningful, devastatingly understated vocal from the man himself, while "South Side" is just another pop song by someone who shouldn't be singing -- that is, until the transcendent chorus redeems everything. Surprisingly, many of Moby's vocal tracks are highlights; he has an unerring sense of how to frame his fragile vocals with sympathetic productions. Occasionally, the similarities to contemporary dance superstars like Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers are just a bit too close for comfort, as on the stale big-beat anthem "Bodyrock." Still, Moby shows himself back in the groove after a long hiatus, balancing his sublime early sound with the breakbeat techno evolution of the '90s. © John Bush /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 13, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
25 years old, his third solo album and first masterpiece. In Spring 2003, Four Tet secured himself as one of the United Kingdom’s unmissable electronic producers with Rounds, an entirely instrumental album in which some 300 samples are used! The most famous, that of Winter by Tori Amos on Unspoken, has since been dropped due to rights issues – the track has now been reworked. For the rest, Kieran Hebden rummaged deeply though the record trays, to places where others wouldn’t dare venture. This pays off with the surprising and tenacious sample from French 70s folk group, Malicorne, where the scarcely retouched loop from Le Bouvier features on the remarkable As Serious As Your Life, and would go on to be the object of an equally splendid remix by Jay Dee with Guilty Simpson that same year. Known for laying the foundations for the folktronica genre, Rounds is, from end to end, a muddle of drums, percussion, brass, bells and strings. It’s a truly industrious work that gives a rarely equalled sense of unity, from the nursery-rhyme-like My Angel Rocks Back and Forth to the hip-hop Unspoken. A masterpiece that’ll make your ears curl like no other. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Electronic - Released December 3, 2012 | XL Recordings

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Electronic - Released July 23, 2012 | Mute

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Electronic - Released June 25, 2012 | Parlophone (France)

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Since the advent of acid jazz in the mid-'80s, the many electronic-jazz hybrids to come down the pipe have steadily grown more mature, closer to a balanced fusion that borrows the spontaneity and emphasis on group interaction of classic jazz while still emphasizing the groove and elastic sound of electronic music. For his second album, French producer Ludovic Navarre expanded the possibilities of his template for jazzy house by recruiting a sextet of musicians to solo over his earthy productions. The opener "Rose Rouge" is an immediate highlight, as an understated Marlena Shaw vocal sample ("I want you to get together/put your hands together one time"), trance-state piano lines, and a ride-on-the-rhythm drum program frames solos by trumpeter Pascal Ohse and baritone Claudio de Qeiroz. For "Montego Bay Spleen," Navarre pairs an angular guitar solo by Ernest Ranglin with a deep-groove dub track, complete with phased effects and echoey percussion. "Land Of..." moves from a Hammond- and horn-led soul-jazz stomp into Caribbean territory, marked by more hints of dub and the expressive Latin percussion of Carneiro. Occasionally, Navarre's programming (sampled or otherwise) grows a bit repetitious -- even for dance fans, to say nothing of the jazzbo crowd attracted by the album's Blue Note tag. Though it is just another step on the way to a perfect blend of jazz and electronic, Tourist is an excellent one. © John Bush /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 12, 2012 | 4AD

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - Stereophile: Record To Die For
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

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The first masterpiece of what was only termed trip-hop much later, Blue Lines filtered American hip-hop through the lens of British club culture, a stylish, nocturnal sense of scene that encompassed music from rare groove to dub to dance. The album balances dark, diva-led club jams along the lines of Soul II Soul with some of the best British rap (vocals and production) heard up to that point, occasionally on the same track. The opener "Safe from Harm" is the best example, with diva vocalist Shara Nelson trading off lines with the group's own monotone (yet effective) rapping. Even more than hip-hop or dance, however, dub is the big touchstone on Blue Lines. Most of the productions aren't quite as earthy as you'd expect, but the influence is palpable in the atmospherics of the songs, like the faraway electric piano on "One Love" (with beautiful vocals from the near-legendary Horace Andy). One track, "Five Man Army," makes the dub inspiration explicit, with a clattering percussion line, moderate reverb on the guitar and drums, and Andy's exquisite falsetto flitting over the chorus. Blue Lines isn't all darkness, either -- "Be Thankful for What You've Got" is quite close to the smooth soul tune conjured by its title, and "Unfinished Sympathy" -- the group's first classic production -- is a tremendously moving fusion of up-tempo hip-hop and dancefloor jam with slow-moving, syrupy strings. Flaunting both their range and their tremendously evocative productions, Massive Attack recorded one of the best dance albums of all time. © John Bush /TiVo
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

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Electronic - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
"The liquid propulsion of the title track, rippling with aquatic effects and layered washes of synthetics, remains a classic of primitive ambience." © TiVo
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Dance - Released January 1, 2011 | Polydor Records

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - 3 étoiles Technikart - Sélection du Mercury Prize
During 2009 and 2010, James Blake issued a clutch of abstract dubstep singles on Hemlock, Hessle Audio, and R&S. Each release increased anticipation for the producer’s next move as he continually shuffled the deck on his bristly, off-center, and generally groove-less tracks, some of which incorporated vocals -- he sampled Kelis and Aaliyah on “CMYK,” for instance -- or his own voice, heavily processed. The Klavierwerke EP, the last in the series, was the most stripped down of the bunch. The day after it was released, Blake uploaded a video for his dramatic cover version of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love,” which indicated that the focus on his voice and sparse backing would continue. Consisting of Blake's pensive vocal, a simple but affecting piano, and recurring beat weighed down by sub-bass, it’s one of the most straightforward tracks on Blake’s brief debut album. The following “Give Me My Month” deviates most from Blake’s vinyl output; it’s a wistful piano-and-voice ballad that has far more in common with Procol Harum than any given contemporary linked to Blake. The rest of the tracks are more like exercises in sound manipulation and reduction than songs. The approach is no fault, but Blake pares it down to such an extent that the material occasionally sounds not just tentative but feeble, fatigued, even, as on “I Never Learnt to Share,” where one creaky line is repeated and treated throughout, placed over swelling synthesizer frequencies and a stamping beat. “The Wilhelm Scream,” one of the album’s highlights, is far more effective, a ballad with a pulse that increases in intensity with skillfully deployed reverb and surging waves of soft noise. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Dance - Released January 1, 2011 | Polydor Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
During 2009 and 2010, James Blake issued a clutch of abstract dubstep singles on Hemlock, Hessle Audio, and R&S. Each release increased anticipation for the producer’s next move as he continually shuffled the deck on his bristly, off-center, and generally groove-less tracks, some of which incorporated vocals -- he sampled Kelis and Aaliyah on “CMYK,” for instance -- or his own voice, heavily processed. The Klavierwerke EP, the last in the series, was the most stripped down of the bunch. The day after it was released, Blake uploaded a video for his dramatic cover version of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love,” which indicated that the focus on his voice and sparse backing would continue. Consisting of Blake's pensive vocal, a simple but affecting piano, and recurring beat weighed down by sub-bass, it’s one of the most straightforward tracks on Blake’s brief debut album. The following “Give Me My Month” deviates most from Blake’s vinyl output; it’s a wistful piano-and-voice ballad that has far more in common with Procol Harum than any given contemporary linked to Blake. The rest of the tracks are more like exercises in sound manipulation and reduction than songs. The approach is no fault, but Blake pares it down to such an extent that the material occasionally sounds not just tentative but feeble, fatigued, even, as on “I Never Learnt to Share,” where one creaky line is repeated and treated throughout, placed over swelling synthesizer frequencies and a stamping beat. “The Wilhelm Scream,” one of the album’s highlights, is far more effective, a ballad with a pulse that increases in intensity with skillfully deployed reverb and surging waves of soft noise. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 17, 2010 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks
Following up Sound of Silver was never going to be easy for LCD Soundsystem. There was so much positive reaction from music fans, the press, from everywhere, really, that almost any move James Murphy made was bound to be seen as inferior, or at the very least, flawed in some way. To his credit, he doesn’t try to do anything dramatically different on This Is Happening. There are no attempts to hit the top of the charts (a point made crystal clear in the song “You Wanted a Hit”); conversely, there are no attempts to dirty up the sound or make it more challenging. There are no radically new elements added to the LCD sound, nothing subtracted either. Murphy is definitely a savvy enough musician to know when things have gotten stale and need to be changed up; he at some point must have decided (correctly) that the time for a reboot hadn’t arrived yet for LCD. Another record of long, dancefloor friendly disco-fied jams mixed with punchy rockers and paced with a couple introspective midtempo ballads is still perfectly acceptable, especially when it’s as tightly arranged, energetically played, and thoughtfully constructed as Happening is. Murphy’s highly skilled production is all over the record, from the squelchy layers of synths, the dry punch of the drums, and the tricks and surprises that bring the songs to life, to the way he makes it sound like a live band when it’s just him (though there are the occasional people helping out, most notably Nancy Whang on backing vocals). And while there isn’t a song as staggeringly emotional as Silver’s “All My Friends,” or as simply and heartfelt as its N.Y.C. tribute “New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down,” Murphy continues to expand as a songwriter and lyricist. He’s still the master of deadly zingers ("Eat it Michael Musto/You’re no Bruce Vilanch") and hilarious streams of lyrical gems (all of “Drunk Girls”), but songs like the nakedly emotional "I Can Change" (which includes the sweetly romantic plea for someone to “bore me and hold me and cling to my arm”) and the insistently melancholy “Somebody’s Calling Me” show continued growth and impressive range. Of course, if you aren’t all that interested in lyrics, artistic growth, and feelings, you can just crank up songs like "One Touch," "Pow Wow," or "Home" real loud and dance. At heart, Murphy remains a dance music producer and these tracks reveal him at the top of his game. This Is Happening doesn’t quite reach the monumental heights of Sound of Silver, but it serves as an almost-there companion and further proof that LCD Soundsystem is one of the most exciting and interesting bands around in the 2000s. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 3, 2010 | Warp Records

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House - Released March 29, 2010 | International DeeJay Gigolo Records

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While operating under several guises -- House Rhythems, Jus Friends, Massive Sounds, Rydims, Dub Poets -- during the late '80s and early '90s, Bobby Konders was making house history with a number of low-budget but high-quality tracks that blended love for house, reggae, and a number of less obvious forms with a production style that emphasized the dark and the deep amidst a mushroom cloud of ganja smoke. Virtually every bassline is remarkably pungent to an almost oppressive extent, casting an overriding dark or melancholic tone throughout each track. This doesn't mean that everything's doom and gloom, because there are some genuinely beautiful moments scattered across this long overdue compilation. Just through the addition of a prominent whistling flute, the "Flute Mix" of Massive Sounds' "Expressions" turns a typically haunting track into something full of beauty. "Blak and Whit" is even more emotional, with synth textures that are just as affecting as anything created by the first two waves of Detroit techno producers. At the other end, the most wicked track of all is the paranoiac nightmare of House Rhythems' "Nervous Acid." Konders' lone contribution to the acid house phenomenon, the track remains one of the heaviest in its field, placing an catapulting bassline and a clamping beat below a flurry of synth effects that sound as if a helicopter is hovering above. "Let There Be House" is a rush-inducing cousin to Marshall Jefferson's "Move Your Body," boasting repeated exclamations of "Let there be house!" over a jittering rhythm, warped synths, and tickling piano vamps. Konders' appeal and influence stretch far and wide, and though he eventually made the complete conversion to reggae as a DJ and producer, his presence continues to loom over house music. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Electronic - Released February 8, 2010 | Rough Trade

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Since his second full-length as Pantha du Prince, 2007's truly sublime, duly acclaimed This Bliss, Henrik Weber has gradually expanded his profile beyond the traditional confines of the minimal electronic realm, turning in remixes for the likes of Animal Collective, Bloc Party, and the Long Blondes and, in 2009, making the surprising shift from Hamburg's Dial Records to venerable indie rock label Rough Trade, hardly an imprint known for its electronica output. Black Noise, his first album for Rough Trade, bolsters those indie credentials further with a couple of guest spots: !!!'s Tyler Pope plays bass on one cut, and Noah Lennox (Panda Bear, Animal Collective) sings on another. "Why stick to the things that I've already tried?," Lennox muses in his drippy, hazily harmonized fashion on the typically lovely "Stick to My Side" -- and indeed, why shouldn't we expect Weber to branch out a bit? As it happens, though, Lenox's vocals are about the extent of the overt musical innovation on offer here. (For what its worth, Pope's bass on "The Splendour" fails to leave any impression, although the track manages to acquit itself of its rather aggrandizing title quite nicely.) Partisans of the Pantha of old needn't be too concerned (and, by the same token, those intrigued by the possibilities of a more indie-infused Pantha record may be disappointed) because Black Noise does overwhelmingly stick to the tried and true. Which is hardly a cause for complaint. Weber is truly a master of mood and texture, one of few techno/minimal/microhouse producers working with an unmistakable signature sound, and all of his hallmarks are present and accounted for: the shimmering chimes and bells, muffled clicks, woozily atmospheric synth, and deep, dubby bass, set against sturdy but subdued pulsing house grooves, all of which make his music, almost uncannily, equally well-suited to dancefloors and dreamscapes. He has a few slight sonic twists up his sleeve -- "Abglanz" introduces a figure played on what sounds like a steel drum, and "Behind the Stars" brings on the grinding electro keyboards and dark, distorted vocals, recalling the "micro-goth" tag sometimes applied to his earlier work, while the brief, beatless "Im Bann" is all languid guitar strums, thick hypnotic haze, and a muffled crunching sound like footsteps in the snow -- but nothing here would have sounded out of place on This Bliss, and a few tracks, like "Bohemian Forest," whose melodic twinklings feel a bit like Pantha-by-numbers here, could well have been standouts on that record. With its generally well-conceived but vaguely non-committal-feeling gestures toward expanding Pantha du Prince's musical range, Black Noise can't help but feel ever so slightly like a letdown after the consistently mesmerizing rapture of its predecessor. But make no mistake: Weber is still making some of the most enchanting electronica out there, and if this album brings him the increased exposure for which he seems well-poised, there are few producers more deserving. © K. Ross Hoffman /TiVo
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Electronic - Released October 6, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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With the emergence of the new wave, all kinds of synths and keyboards were being integrated more and more into rock instrumentals. In Düsseldorf, Germany, Kraftwerk were capturing the spirit of the age and the industrial civilisation in their completely synthetic and electronic melodies. With their sixth album which was released in 1977, entitled Trans Europe Express, these avant-gardists who were driven by contemporary music reached sublime perfection. Coldness turned into art, minimalist aestheticism and atmospheric harmonies, Kraftwerk’s music would fascinate David Bowie (cited with Iggy Pop in the song Trans Europe Express) and Brian Eno just as much as the first rappers (Afrika Bambaataa) and the future popes of electro. For when this forerunning universe of Kraftwerk collided with the stakhavonist groove of disco, techno would be born… © MZ/Qobuz
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Dance - Released October 6, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Although Kraftwerk's first three albums were groundbreaking in their own right, Autobahn is where the group's hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own. The main difference between Autobahn and its predecessors is how it develops an insistent, propulsive pulse that makes the repeated rhythms and riffs of the shimmering electronic keyboards and trance-like guitars all the more hypnotizing. The 22-minute title track, in a severely edited form, became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band's achievements -- it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track -- but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. Within Autobahn, the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident -- it's a pioneering album, even if its electronic trances might not capture the attention of all listeners. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo