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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.



Leftism 22


Electronic - Released January 1, 1995 | Sony Music CG

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Marcel Dettmann

Electronic - Released October 14, 2016 | !K7 Records

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Genius Of Time

Larry Levan

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

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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

Dark Energy


Electronic - Released March 23, 2015 | Planet Mu Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
The music associated with Chicago's juke/footwork scene is fast, frenetic, complex, and often highly aggressive, as it is typically intended to soundtrack dance battles. The tracks produced by Jlin, a steel mill worker from nearby Gary, Indiana named Jerrilynn Patton, use footwork as a venue to express frustration, anger, and depression. The screams and horror movie samples ("You don't want to hurt anyone," "But I do, and I'm sorry") on tracks such as "Guantanamo" and "Abnormal Restriction" sound downright evil, and are a far cry from the more hedonistic, drug-glorifying tracks by artists such as DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. While those artists' tracks are heavily populated with recognizable soul and hip-hop samples, Jlin builds her music from scratch, constructing all the percussion sounds and bass tones herself. Her production style is intense and gripping, but it never sounds cluttered, and it never breaks out into all-out chaos. Tense, thrilling, and a bit frightening, Dark Energy is simply one of the most compelling debut albums of 2015. © Paul Simpson /TiVo

Birdy Nam Nam

Birdy Nam Nam

Electronic - Released October 24, 2005 | Kif music

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Electronic - Released January 24, 1994 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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From the beginning of the first track "Dark & Long," Underworld's focus on production is clear, with songwriting coming in a distant second. The best tracks ("MMM Skyscraper I Love You," "Cowgirl") mesh Hyde's sultry songwriting with Emerson's beat-driven production, an innovative blend of classic acid house, techno, and dub that sounds different from much that preceded it. In a decade awash with stale fusion, Underworld are truly a multi-genre group. © John Bush /TiVo

Felt Mountain


Trip Hop - Released September 19, 2000 | 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



Electronic - Released May 17, 1999 | 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

Tohu Bohu


Ambient - Released October 15, 2012 | InFiné

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Dj Cam

Trip Hop - Released October 1, 1996 | Inflamable Records

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A far more diverse set of relaxed (and occasionally not so) deviations from clubland, with bits of jungle, electro, and even house creeping into the mix. Cam has broadened the scope of his sound, here; where previous releases tended to focus on sonic depth rather than breadth, atmosphere occupying first chair, Substances' sample arrangements are in places almost epic, and the beatwork is far more complex and inventive. © Sean Cooper /TiVo


Jon Hopkins

Electronic - Released June 3, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Between Insides and its follow-up Immunity, Jon Hopkins worked with King Creosote on the charming Diamond Mine, which set the Scottish singer/songwriter's ruminations to backdrops that were half rustic folk and half evocative washes of sound. Immunity isn't nearly as acoustic as that collaboration was, but its gently breezy feel lingers on several of these songs: "Breathe This Air" expands from a pounding house rhythm into a roomy piano meditation that recalls Max Richter as much as Diamond Mine, while the title track -- which happens to feature King Creosote's vocals -- closes the album on a whispery note. This feeling extends to the rest of the album in less obvious ways; Immunity is often a more blended, and more expansive-sounding work than Insides, particularly on songs like the Brian Eno-esque "Abandon Window" and "Form by Firelight," which offers a playful study in contrasts in the way it bunches into glitches and then unspools a peaceful piano melody. Some of Immunity's most impressive moments expand on the blend of rhythm and atmosphere Hopkins emphasized on Insides: "Collider" uses sighing vocals courtesy of Dark Horses' Lisa Elle as punctuation for almost imperceptibly shifting beats and a heavy bassline that helps the track build into a moody, elegant whole; meanwhile, the aptly named "Sun Harmonics" turns Elle's sighs into something angelic over the course of 12 serene minutes. Despite these highlights, the album still reflects how Hopkins' polished approach is something of a blessing and a curse. Immunity shows how he's grown, in his subtle, accomplished way, as a composer and producer, yet its tracks occasionally feel like the surroundings for a focal point that never arrives. Even if it doesn't always demand listeners' attention, Immunity is never less than thoughtfully crafted. © Heather Phares /TiVo

Best of Electronic Disco (Deluxe Edition)

Giorgio Moroder

Electronic - Released May 20, 2013 | Repertoire Records

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Four Tet

Electronic - Released March 5, 2003 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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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

The North Borders


Electronic - Released March 22, 2013 | Ninja Tune

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On his 2013 release The North Borders, British producer Simon Green (aka Bonobo) continues along the organic-meets-electronic path that his 2010 release Black Sands followed, but this walk takes place as it's turning to dusk, and there are varying degrees of mist and chilliness along the way. Opener "First Fires" with Grey Reverend (singer/songwriter L.D. Brown) sounds like it could be quite warm, but it's entirely autumn-minded sweater music that wistfully wonders what to do with "faded dreams" as Green allows bits of glitchy sunlight to shine through his cloudy synth construction. "Emkay" is the clangs and echoes of a seaside port at night that wonderfully shuffles its way up to a lighthouse tune, then there's majestic songstress Erykah Badu wonderfully vibing ("We don't need no truth/Got plenty/Now it grows on trees") on "Heaven for the Sinner" over Bonobo's deep version of the broken beat. "Towers" suggests sleepy urban buildings in twilight with a vibraphone representing the little bits of life and light that will sparkle through the night, while "Don't Wait" is just before the dawn, as innocent chimes chase away the eerie things that lurk in the darkness. Still, it's not all drifting as the great "Know You" drops a jazzy breakbeat while the high stepper "Ten Tigers" struts to something sounding like an inverted handclap, although there's little here that will make sleeping cats jump off the couch. Fine song structure and an overall album flow that's nearly perfect are things Bonobo regulars might expect at this point, but his discography hasn’t offered up a rainy day soundtrack so fitting until this one, so hope the weatherman has bad news and plan on staying in. © David Jeffries /TiVo

The Fat of the Land - Expanded Edition

The Prodigy

Electronic - Released July 1, 1997 | XL Recordings

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Luke Slater

Electronic - Released October 5, 1999 | Mute

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Tourist (Remastered Hi-Res Version)

St Germain

Electronic - Released May 30, 2000 | Parlophone (France)

Hi-Res Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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



Electronic - Released April 20, 2012 | Honest Jon's Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music



Electronic - Released February 21, 2012 | 4AD

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - Stereophile: Record To Die For
On Visions, Claire Boucher turns the unmistakable sound she forged on Geidi Primes and Halfaxa, where songs hovered in space one moment and hit the dancefloor in the next, into a blueprint for forward-thinking pop in the 2010s. Though her wispy vocals and four-on-the-floor beats still define her third album, she adds more elements, more ambition, and frequently, more fun to her music; on sparkly tracks like "Eight," where she's shadowed by robotic backing vocals, she sounds like an alien princess. The way she combines and reimagines familiar sounds -- dream pop, synth pop, R&B, and house are just a few of the styles she touches on -- often dazzles. "Genesis" begins with what sounds like the ethereal atmospheres of old-school sounds of her label 4AD before coalescing into irresistibly bouncy pop. Boucher performs a similar trick on the brilliant "Oblivion," which sets lyrics inspired by a sexual assault to deceptively radiant synth pop buoyed by an insistent, instantly recognizable bass line. While Visions' songs are still largely free from obvious structures -- "Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)" segues into a minor-key passage like a dream turning dark -- Boucher has learned the values of space and control, as the intricate layers within "Infinite Love Without Fulfillment" and "Visiting Statue" attest. And though "Know the Way" and "Skin" spotlight Grimes' flair for ethereal sensuality, Visions' most kinetic songs are the most distinctive, and allow her to draw on many different influences and sounds. "Be a Body" boasts a surprisingly funky bass line; on "Circumambient," the song's shadowy R&B leanings are only heightened when Boucher busts out a super-soprano trill that would do Syreeta or Minnie Riperton proud. When she borrows from '80s pop, it never feels slavish, even when she uses frosty Casios on "Vowels = Space and Time" or lets "Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus)" ride on a beat that sounds borrowed from "When Doves Cry." Instead, these retro winks end up bringing out the darkly rhapsodic, kinetic heart of Boucher's music as much as the Asian-tinged melodies, harps, and operatic samples she uses elsewhere. Though little sounded like it when it was released, the impact of Visions' futuristic fantasies was felt, and heard, for years to come. © TiVo


Meat Beat Manifesto

Electronic - Released January 1, 1992 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

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A Meat Beat Manifesto album is a special thing, since it usually manages to encompass the styles of other acts while still having a distinct voice of its own. Satyricon features the sample-trippy goofiness of the Orb, the sharp, rock-flavored house of the Chemical Brothers, the streamlined trance of Orbital, and the well-oiled angst of Nine Inch Nails, and that's just for starters. Long-term frontman Jack Dangers truly has a producer's ear, which gives his blend of dance music a considerable advantage: he takes a musician's approach into a programmer's territory, and his use of vocals actually upgrades a song's impact rather than diminishes it. There's more song structure here than in any of the aforementioned acts, making this something like a pop group for sworn enemies of the genre. The infectious electronica and obscure samples create an almost constant (and successful) tension between groove and anxiety, between clubber's abandon and confused introspection. Musical partner Jonny Stephens takes on an almost equal workload as producer/engineer/mixer and multi-instrumentalist, and his lap steel guitar contributions add a wonderfully bizarre layer to the album (comparable to the pairing of Luke Vibert and BJ Cole). Songs like "Mindstream" and "Edge of No Control Pt. 1" add just the right amount of Stephens' Hawaiian space cowboy to the mix -- kind of like a warmer alternative to Theremin. Several other high points along the way in this stuffed-to-the-gills album include: "Your Mind Belongs to the State," a nightmare funky channel-surf through the fractured minds of mental patients and social outcasts, and "Original Control (Version 2)," a wicked laboratory of robots gone amuck, rave/house sirens, and acid-soaked sequencer riffs, making the whole thing sound like an ugly (and wonderful) catfight between Moby and Squarepusher. Again, with all the soundbites, Dangers must shop flea markets and bad video stores two days a week; his vast arsenal of obscure samples range from failed sci-fi to closed-door psychoanalysis to British TV commercials. There are only a few times his "sample cup" runneth over in excess ("Brainwashed This Way/Zombie/That Shirt," "Untold Stories"), but even these diversions are fascinating. This album still sounded good ten years later, and it's probably why they were still respected then. One for the books. © Glenn Swan /TiVo