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Electronic Music in the '70s


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From our interview with Gary Numan:

It did feel as if it was at the very front end of something new and exciting. The albums that were being made by the electronic people felt as if they were important records, because it felt like an important time - as if this is a new door opening to what music had to offer.

It felt as if music had stagnated for a while; it had been very much variations of a similar theme: guitar, bass, drums, that kind of thing. And then when the electronic thing came along it felt as if a new chapter had been added to music. And with Pleasure Principle, I felt as if I was one small part of that.

When Gary is talking about the other groups making electronic music in that era, what is he referring to? And how did this genre progress? I don't remember hearing anything electro in the '90s.

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exhibit 1: Autobahn ~ Kraftwerk (1974) ("The Robots" and "The Model" are from 1978)

interestingly Kraftwerk started in the late 60s as a Krautrock band and I think other bands from that time, like Can or Tangerine Dream experimented with electronic sounds as well...

come to think of, I guess most electronic music from that time was from more experimental bands

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Well, I reckon Gary Numan probably most closely modelled himself on the middle period Ultravox (ie the John Foxx era, pre Midge Ure, post guitar). Systems Of Romance would be the album... the opening track is pure awesome.

And then there's the whole electronic side of the Krautrock wave, as Bitter Almonds mentioned, especially Neu!, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, blah blah.

And you can add Jean Michel Jarre to the mix. And Bowie in Berlin (*not* produced by Eno as you might think).

But for the source of Numan's pure pop electronic... Systems Of Romance by Ultravox. A killer album. I think Numan freely acknowledges this as his biggest influence.

Sweet soul music!


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It sound like Ultravox took their lyrics seriously, making some political/social statements along the way.

I guess this is where Numan took it forward - writing songs about the relationships between humans and machines with music made my machines.

I'm not sure if "Popcorn" would be the greatest ringtone ever or the most annoying.

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  • 2 weeks later...

maybe not really what Mr Numan was referring to (or maybe it was), but I read a cool article about 50 unknown but great electronic albums, among others:

Silver Apples ~ Silver Apples (1968)

Gershon Kingsley ~ Songs to Moog By (1969)

White Noise ~ An Electric Storm (1969)

Vangelis ~ Sex Power (1970) *

Cluster ~ Cluster II (1972) ("Krautrock without Kraut or Rock")

Wendy Carlos ~ Sonic Seasoning (1972)

Herbie Hancock ~ Sextant (1973)

Conrad Schnitzler ~ Blau (1974)

Arne Nordheim ~ Electric (1974)

Giorgio Moroder ~ From Here to Eternity (1977) ("an early predecessor of House music")

Space ~ Magic Fly (1977)

Klaus Schulze ~ Mirage (1977) ("two 30min tracks - 'Proto-Ambient'"

Pyrolator ~ Inland (1979)

The Flying Lizards ~ The Flying Lizards (1979)

* I didn't know that they've been around for so long already :shocked:

I don't know about you, but I barely recognise any names from that list :D

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Count back a ways . . .

0- 1 year before Christ ( B.C.)

1+ AD (Anno Domini) equals the year as dated from our current time...2010

Damn..you're right Bitter!!! My calculation was wrong...when I cut the umbiblical cord my child wasn't born yet though, more correctly, she was nine months and a day.

I submit to everyone,...add almost a year (nine months) to your current age.

What a drag it is getting old

The 20 hundreds is actually the 21st century.

A hundred years gets lost and found, simultaneously!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Electronic music was once associated almost exclusively with Western art music but from the late 1960s on the availability of affordable music technology meant that music produced using electronic means became increasingly common in the popular domain. Today electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music.

Hair extension

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  • 2 weeks later...

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