When it comes to electro tunes, Shiny Toy Guns
know their stuff. The band have been cranking out lush electro-pop and synth-heavy dance tunes for years now, and are gearing up to continue the trend with the October 23 release of new album, III
. In celebration of the genre, and as an ode to the new initiatives it's bred, the band have shared their list of the top ten electronic artists who've paved the way for the sonic spectrum of today's EDM. From Moby to Aphex Twin, their list is extensive and packed with knowledge. Check it out, and while you're reading, spin their new single "Waiting Alone" and then go grab it via iTunes
.1. Moby: Granted, everyone has heard of Moby now because of his "play" album and its massive success from a while ago; but Moby was actually a very major part of American electronica very early on. His classic records 'Next is the E,' '1000,' and 'Hymn' were huge, huge moments in a very early NYC techno scene. His rants and stance on the different issues of the time made everything feel all the more epic and underground. 2. Danny Breaks: Drum 'n' bass, the godfather genre of broken beats EDM — which spanned all types of music in so many varying speeds and styles (including the obvious dubstep phenom)— could very easily not exist at all, or at least have a very different spin on its foundations, if it were not for this British icon. His records under the name "Sonz of a loop da loop era" crossed the oceans into America in the early 1990s and started a wildfire of furious break beat mayhem. 3. The Prodigy: No, this has nothing to do with "Firestarter" or "Smack my Bitch Up". Go buy the album'Experience.' Like Danny Breaks (above), Liam Howlett (main writer and producer) took the UK underground broken beat sound and brought it somewhere no one else thought possible — to the album format. The first-ever EDM full length album came out in late 1991 and is historically the first ever "rave" album in history. Even today it sounds amazing. And no, they did NOT use a laptop and cracked plug ins. All wires and circuits. 4. Aphex Twin: Quite possibly one of the scariest people we have ever seen before, Richard James, aka Aphex Twin, is actually a really funny and nice guy. And quite possibly the most original and dynamic EDM producer in the history of the sound of synth. His music, his art, and his videos have spanned 2 decades of EDM, and he has mastered the art of making electronic music that is not meant for the dance floor — it's meant to spin your head… 5. Jam and Spoon: You may or may not love or hate "trance music," but either way, it would not sound the way it does today without these two German producers that began the idea of merging melodic songwriting, vocals, and haunting synth lines into banging dance rhythms in 1991. One half of Jam and Spoon was a guy named Jam El Mar, and he was the obvious classical pianist and composer that blended the art of music with the sound of the festival. Sadly, the other half of the group, Mark Spoon, died of a heart attack a few years ago. 6. Afrika Bambaata: Bambaata did something that the UK could never do — break the street knowledge of NYC hip hop onto the dance floor of the rave underground. Pioneering the art of DJing early on, the sample-driven addictive beats of his music, flavored with electro-synth baselines and liberating lyrics and messages throughout, are clearly felt in almost everything you hear today in EDM.
7. Richie Hawtin: This English-born Canadian nearly single-handedly started a movement known worldwide as "minimal techno." Nothing sounds like Richie, and if it does you are called out as sounding like Richie. His music, and his infamous 5 hour DJ sets are mind-bending, and original, and a trend-setting example of what you can do with the simplest sets of blips and bleeps from wires and circuits. 8. Lords of Acid: Lords of Acid turned heads from music lovers, techno enthusiasts, and worried parents from 1988 till around 1995, with their perfect mesh of industrial goth [and dance floor beats]. In the dark underworld of darkwave, goth-industrial and electro, Lords of Acid brought this sound and scene into the public eye, probably helping to spawn the careers of legends like Nine Inch Nails and so forth. 9. Kraftwerk: Electro? They bled this. Started this. They were there first, before anyone mentioned above, or anyone at all. Starting in the early 1970s, this German group caused the entire world to scratch their heads, because [their music had] no guitars, no drums, no bass guitar, but it worked and it was amazing? What was going to happen next? You are now listening in your car to what happened next. 10. The KLF: A movement in the UK that a lot of peeps don't really remember or understand was the massive British Acid House movement. It was what inspired Robert Smith to record the album 'Mixed Up' for The Cure. That and a lotttt of acid :). But one group from this movement took off and exploded in America, and across the world, by bringing their sound to a huge audience by way of haunting vocals and amazing videos. Their album'The White Room' and single "3AM Eternal" still stand as timeless pieces of techno history.
*Written and Compiled by Shiny Toy Guns