The Pop Matters article “The Best Avant-Garde and Experimental Music of 2015” by A Noah Harrison noted that “all music genres are consciously exploring a more experimental direction.” It does seem that most modern music is inspired by a little bit of everything. It may surprise you then to learn that this is not a new phenomenon; music of all genres has always been in constant development from those artists who dare to experiment.
This article will list the Top 5 Experimental Electronic Songs/Albums, as ranked according to fellow electronic music listeners, critics and ratings.
5) Kraftwek Trans-Europe Express (1976; Kling Klang Records)
This is the 6th studio album of the German electronic group. The significance of this album are in its themes, a deviation from the group’s earlier focus on rhythm, minimalism, and the manipulation of voices. Instead, Trans-Europe Express, according to critics, focuses on a celebration of Europe and the imbalance between reality and imagery. This album featured a title track themed to express the Trans Europ Express rail. Trans-Europe Express charted 119 in America and influenced electronic artists such as Afrika Bambaata, Paul Oakenfold and various other modern experimental bands.
4) Brian Eno Ambient I: Music for Airports (1978; Polydor Records)
The 6th studio album for Brian Eno, Ambient I: Music for Airports consists of four compositions made from layering tape loops of different lengths. Designed to be continuously looped as a sound installation, Eno created the album to try to ease the tension and frustrating environment of airport terminals. This album was the first of four in the ‘Ambient’ series, a title that Eno used to explain his experimental approach.
3) Björk Medulla (2004; One Little Indian)
The 5th studio album for Björk, Medulla consists of almost entirely a cappella tracks and a layering of human vocals. This album was nominated for two Grammy’s and reached #1 in both the United States and the United Kingdom on multiple music charts.
2) Brian Eno Another Green World (1975; Island Records)
Brian Eno makes the list again with his 3rd studio album. Different than all the other albums on this list, Another Green World failed to chart well although it was received with high praise from music critics. What is so significant about this experimental electronic album is that it marked a transition in music and a migration from rock music towards ambient music. Eno’s minimalist album features several guest artists including Robert Fripp, Phil Collins, and John Cale.
1) Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells (1973; Virgin Records)
This debut album has earned its number one seating for being one of the most “haunting themes” in music. Recorded by Oldfield at the age of 19, Tubular Bells was picked up in the same year and featured in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. In 1974 the album won the Grammy Award for the Best Instrumental Composition (other than Jazz) and can be heard featured in various films and television shows. In 2012, Oldfield rearranged segments of his album for the Opening Ceremony at the London Summer Olympics.