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The Music Recommendation Thread

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Electronic / Hip Hop

Ratatat: myspace - official site

I'm honestly not sure how I would describe the music of Ratatat (I've never been that good with genres). It's like an amalgamation of rock, electronica, and hip hop elements, and yet, it doesn't seem to fit in either of these categories. While their work is largely instrumental, they have released several hip hop remix albums, the latest of which is available as a free download on their web site.

I first heard these guys in a

, and after checking out the 'Classics', I was hooked. Their music has this... I don't know... enthusiasm, and always puts me into a good mood.

Recommended songs: Lex (from Classics, 2006); Tacobel Canon (from Classics, 2006); Seventeen Years (from Ratatat, 2004)

Ratatat is great (and I think you did as fine describing them as anyone could, really). To all those who check out these links and are interested but not quite hooked yet, be sure to get a hold of and listen to "Loud Pipes" and "Wildcat", both from Classics. If you're not sure by the time the sample of an actual freaking wildcat roar comes in during the latter, you'll never be sure.

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Theres been a lot of good stuff mentioned in this thread. Helped me get out of a musical rut so to speak. I enjoyed zero 7, massive attack and ratatat. I'm gonna give one of my local friends (Doug Knight) a shameless plug. here's his myspace.

He plays indie rock, but he plays guitar/bass/drums and vocals. He's a pretty talented guy, and maybe someone will enjoy it.

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There's been plenty of good metal already discussed, so I'll skip that. =P

Drum & Bass

London Elektricity - For quite some time LE worked as a live band, breaking many traditions and clichés of the genre. Check out the album Power Ballads.

High Contrast - Solid dancefloor dnb.

Nu:Tone - Smooth vocal dnb; the tracks featuring Natalie Williams = hot stuff. Very sexy.

(...Basically anything on Hospital Records =P)


Hybrid - Hybrid's music is a cinematic experience. An adventure. Listen to each album start to finish.


Venetian Snares - If you're new to the genre, I recommend starting with the 2005 album Rossz Csillag Alatt Szueletett. It's a beautiful mix of hard, distorted breakbeats and melancholic string samples.


Portishead - Portishead can not be emphasised enough here. Dummy is one of my all time favourite albums.

Massive Attack - Blue Lines and Mezzanine are, in my opinion, their greatest albums. Must-listen.

Saltillo - A lesser-known artist in the field, but he makes some beautiful music, combining elements of trip-hop, orchestral music and drum & bass.

Hip-hop (Australian hip-hop heads represent!)

Hilltop Hoods - These guys have slick lyrics and catchy beats. A good starting point for Australian hip-hop.

The Herd - These guys take things a bit more seriously, with highly political lyrics and interesting instrumentals. Many tracks are dnb-influenced, while others have varied instrumentation, such as cello and accordion.

Unkle Ho - Member of The Herd; has released two solo albums. Both are an aural collage, crafted from a variety of world-music sources.

Progressive Trance

Above & Beyond - Their album Tri-State is one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. It's absolutely beautiful.

Vibrasphere - I think Vibrasphere originally started as a psytrance project, but lately things have been heading into prog territory, with several really peaceful downtempo tracks here and there. Very soothing stuff.


Talamasca - If you're a fan of the likes of Infected Mushroom, 1200 Mics and Hallucinogen, then you'll like Talamasca. There's something really addictive about the pulsing basslines here.

Malice in Wonderland - To my knowledge they've only released one EP, but it's a real kicker. This stuff is so dark it'll eat your soul.


Sound Tribe Sector 9 - These guys are renowned for their live performances and improvisation. They blend electronic sounds (I believe they use Ableton) with some really funky shit. It boggles my mind. Wow.


Estradasphere - Estradasphere's 'Hunger Strike' is perhaps the most exhilarating piece of music I've ever heard. These guys play an amazing hybrid of jazz/folk/metal/traditional/improvisation... their musicianship is unrivalled.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Metal with a violin and glockenspiel? A shrieking woman and a growling man? Yes please.


Johann Sebastian Bach - Fugue and Toccata in D minor. The Well-Tempered Clavier (48 Preludes and Fugues). Cello Suites. I really think listening to this kind of music helps remind us that music can be an artform and not just a commercial product.


Antonín Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B minor. Perhaps one of my favourite pieces written for cello.

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Opeth (Progressive Rock/Progressive Metal)

A Swedish metal band that explores whos playing contains elements of 70's progressive rock and jazz, and fronted by Mikael Akerfeldt, a great vocalist whether hes singing, screaming, growling, or bree-breeing, and has impressive classically-influenced guitar skills. Their songs juxtapose brutal and intense death metal sections with soft, minimalistic folky and jazzy sections, and they don't have one single bad song across their 15+ year career. They are also becoming kind of popular right now.

Ulver (Experimental/Electronica/Black Metal/Ambient)

A trio of musical geniuses from Norway that has covered virtually every genre known to man, from black metal to trip hop. Their music is some of the most creative and original out there.

Ayreon (Metal/Electronica/Folk)

A metal opera written and produced by Dutch musician Arjen Anthony Lucassen, an amazing producer. The music is impressive, it combines many genres, mainly metal and electronica, but also some folk and ethnic music. Guest vocalists range from Bruce Dickinson to Devin Townsend. Ayreon is known for their awesome layered female vocals and sci-fi/fantasy based lyrics.

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Rodrigo Y Gabriela

This guitar duo is absolutely astounding. They blend flamenco with rock elements all on acoustic guitars. Gabriela plays the guitar percussively while Rodrigo regularly provides the musical backup but neither is a slouch in playing.

Thank you. They are freaking genius.

There's a lot of metal going down here, so I'll leave off my suggestions there for now.

We need some more classical in this piece, so I'll go ahead and recommend Rachmoninoff in a big way. My second or third favorite composer (and one of my favorite pianists) in my favorite genre of music, next to maybe Chopin and Beethoven.

Amy Winehouse; very catchy jazz riffs backed up by her sultry and unique voice.

Guster; amazing musicians who do some interesting and actually good pop rock.

Killswitch Engage; yes, they're metal, but they deserve special mention because they're amazing and do LOVE metal, of all things.

Atmosphere; the MC, Slug, has amazing flow and lyrical ability and raps about stuff that's not guns and bitchs.

Scratch Track; acoustic emo rap. You read that right. Actually not really emo, just once again not talking about bling bling and such.

That's a pretty decent start from my list of favorites.

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Aphex Twin (Come to Daddy, Richard D. James Album)

Boards of Canada (Music Has the Right to Children, Geogaddi, Twoism)

Cex (Role Model, Oops I did it again!)

Venetian Snares (Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett, Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding, My Downfall, Cavalcade Of Glee And Dadaist Happy Hardcore Pom Poms)

Sigur Ros (Takk..., (), Ágætis Byrjun)

Mr. Oizo (Analog Worms Attack)

µ-Ziq (Lunatic Harness)

Múm (Finally We Are No One)

Kid 606 (Down With the Scene)

That should keep you busy.

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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Metal with a violin and glockenspiel? A shrieking woman and a growling man? Yes please.

If you like them definitely check out Unexpect. They're very experimental and avant garde with a violinist, female vocals and growling vocals. However they are more chaotic than Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.


This is technical melodic death metal at its best. Killer riffs, quality musicianship and really sick solos.


A fantastic metal band that fuses thrash, death and jazz elements into a unique brand of music. Plenty of time changes and great riffing. Something that needs a couple of listens to properly digest. A little bit of a tidbit, the singer of the band apparently tried out for the position of Drowning Pool's vacant singer slot.

Drunken Immortals

Here is a rap group that I really love. They're a local band from Phoenix. Yes I do mean band as there are about seven members or so and instead of abusing sampled beats, they play original music underneath the rhymes. The lyrics for the most part are intelligent and politically and socially conscious.

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Sigur Ros (Takk..., (), Ágætis Byrjun)

I'd just like to clarify that these guys don't really fit into the category given. They're more post-rock (like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Do Make Say Think, and their ilk) than ambient. That said, though, they are amazing, and their recent film (a documentary of their free, unannounced tour through their home country of Iceland) is beautiful and breathtaking.

On the subject of post-rock, everyone please investigate Explosions in the Sky as soon as possible. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone still gets me every time I listen to it, and you can even download their EP The Rescue from their website for free (

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Sorry I haven't updated the thread in a little while...I haven't been feeling well at all. Look for some more updates next week after MAGFest.

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Music recommendations, eh? Well, I mind as well take this time to mention my favorite artist.

Shiina Ringo

She has done a bunch of work solo, before forming a band called Tokyo Jihen. Although I enjoy Tokyo Jihen's music a lot (especially their latest album), I still prefer her solo work. Her music is very varied, using lots of different instruments. Some fall under the genre jazz, others rock, and some pop, most with much overlap. She also has a very distinctive voice, which might irk some, as it took me a few listens to truly enjoy her work, but I've since grown very fond of it. If you have time, you can check out these 3 promotional videos on YouTube:

Honnou (Instinct)

Yami ni Furu Ame (Rain in the Dark)

Tsumi to Batsu (Crime and Punishment)

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I have to thank my wife for introducing me to some amazing music.

They're a duo from Sweden, and I love this song. I'm not really sure what genre they would fall under, I guess pop. Their Wikipedia page:

Julieta Venegas- Lento

She's a Mexican singer, and this would fall under Foreign Language Pop or something like that. One of my favorite foreign language songs ever.

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They're a duo from Sweden, and I love this song. I'm not really sure what genre they would fall under, I guess pop. Their Wikipedia page:

The Knife really are refreshing. "We Share Our Mothers' Health" is also a good track to check out. It should be noted that they're only as pop as electropop, though, and should probably be considered more dance or general electronica or... dancetronica.

Also from Sweden and also refreshing are The Field and Shout Out Louds. The Field is just plain well-crafted house/techno with a minimalist tint that just hits the spot, and Shout Out Louds are a beautiful indie pop group who this year released what I feel is the most underrated album of 2007, and one of my favorites overall. Check out "Tonight I Have to Leave It" and "Impossible," both found on the myspace link (along with "Very Loud," the single and best track off their 2003/2005 debut).

Interestingly enough, both The Knife and Shout Out Louds have been covered/remixed by Ratatat, and both of these tracks are bloody awesome as all get out. Where Ratatat may be awesome and other bands may be awesome, Ratatat + other bands = more awesome. Compare

and Big Slippa Remix.

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Ryuichi Sakamoto

While Ryuichi Sakamoto has a vast catalog of music, there are a select few really worth mentioning.

1. Neo Geo (1987) - A mix of Japanese traditional sound and western electronic pop sensibilities drives this album. A great starting point for those wanting to transition from Yellow Magic Orchestra to his post-YMO solo work.

2. Smoochy (1995) - This album fuses classical instrumentation (piano, strings, etc.) with electronic beats. A gem of an album, not a bad song in the bunch. This is the high-point in Sakamoto's solo career.

Note: Both 'Neo Geo' and 'Smoochy' seem to be out of print. If you want 'Neo Geo', you're going to probably have to buy a used copy. If you want 'Smoochy', you're probably going to want to purchase used, though buying import new is an option (though more expensive).

3. The Last Emperor (1988) - This easily accessible film score is the start of Sakamoto's collaboration with filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci (he would later record the soundtracks to Bertolucci's 'Little Buddha' and 'The Sheltering Sky'). The soundtrack is not entirely Sakamoto, however. It's secondary composer is David Byrne (founder of new wave band 'Talking Heads') and his work for the soundtrack is also fantastic.

David Sylvian

Longime Sakamoto collaborator David Sylvian and member of 80's band Japan has only one really stellar album in his discography that stands out in my mind, 'Secrets of the Beehive'. His vocals are reminiscent of Bryan Ferry and the instrumentation is stellar; a very chill album. A beautifully coherent album, one track that stands out is 'Forbidden Colours' (a Sakamoto/Sylvian collaboration for the film 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence').

Harry Nilsson

One of the greatest pop musicians ever to exist, Nilsson created songs with great lyrical hooks. He wrote songs for The Monkees, penned the soundtrack to the musical film version of 'Popeye' (y'know, with Robin Williams), and was one of the first (if not the first) pop artist to ever release an album of standards. Three works of his I recommend whole-heartedly are 'The Point' (a beautiful fable), 'Newman By Nilsson' (a Randy Newman cover album; I know Newman's vocals are ridiculed, so are Dylan's, but both are excellent songwriters; Nilsson's vocals with Newman's great lyrics equals musical greatness) and 'A Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night' (his standards album), though his entire catalog is fantastic.

The Moffs

Obscure Australian indie band from the 80's, the Moffs have a great sound. Very laid back rock; I recommend their album 'Entomology', a compilation of singles. Every track is pure gold, though getting hold of their stuff is difficult. If you like the Stone Roses, you'll most likely dig the Moffs.

There is much more music I can recommend, but I feel that I have written enough for now.

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This is the kind of thread I always end up discovering new music from.... it's the best thing about the "long tail" and music.... before u had to read in a magazine or hunt around in a record store to find something cool -- which made the choices always subject to the "gatekeeping" of editors and music store buyers and etc... -- which would lead inevitably to mediocrity and the prevalence of "poser music" -- i.e. stuff that you want to like because you think it's cool, not because you really like it. Music journalism especially creates high-profiles for really lame stuff, because journalists are always looking behind their backs, trying to profile something that they think in 2 years people will think they were cool for liking "way back when".... I GREATLY prefer the democratic nature of threads like these, where people simply list their tastes and you can just look something up on itunes or youtube and check it out for yourself....

These days I'm really into techno and techno/rock and stuff like that -- try searching for these songs:

Thomas Falke "Revolution On The Dance Floor"

Groove Cutter "My Shooter"

Control One "Just A Little Bit"

Ian Carey "Redlight"

Kevin Weg "Dead Radio"

I don't usually go for techno but these are sort of like a weird crossover between rock and techno/trance.

Here are also some downloads with some other cool stuff too --

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For some insane orchestral music, check out these two CD's

Symphonic Rock (royal philharmonic Orchestra)

and Michael W. Smith's "Freedom"

they are great!

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Some good psybient albums for ya:

Shpongle - Nothing Lasts

Entheogenic - Golden Cap

Taruna - World Fusion 3 (or 1, or 2)

And for people who like electro, the minimal kind I highly recommend

Monolake - Cinemascope

and Boeoes Kaelstigen. Get their livesets from their myspace and website, highly worth your 0 dollars.

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I'll join in the fray with my strange style interests.


Hybrid - This has been said, but some of the best music ever made. If you don't like Hybrid you are completely devoid of human senses.

Elite Force - He describes it as "tech-funk" but I think its just flippin' awesome dance music. Listen to his single "You" or his new song (and one of my favorites so far) "Engine" for one of the best basslines ever.

Toksin - This guy is awesome, he mixes Rock, Breaks, IDM, Drum and Bass and a bunch of other stuff into very well-produced, easy to love remixes and a few originals. His remix of Mute Math's "Chaos" is possibly 10 times better than the original, but maybe just 9 times better, which is saying something since I really like the original.

Burufunk - This guy really introduced me to my love of massive, sweeping basslines. If you don't like this stuff, you can't be a fan of Breaks; 'nuff said.

Junkie XL - I'm not a huge fan of his new stuff, but the several remixes he's done of his own "More" track (not the original) are really good. Otherwise, He's done some pretty amazing work, with special mention going to his Single "Today" and his awesome remix of Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice".

Binster - Our very own binster makes some absolutely amazing breaks songs if you didn't know already. I LOVE his song "So Angry", has some of the best melody work with awesome chunky breaks.

SGX - Hero of the Grey Area is probably one of my favorite albums. Ever. Atmospheric, sexy, hard breaks and some great melodies. You should already know that though.

Stefan Anion - AWESOME! This guy is god's gift to sexy beats. If you've never heard of him then head over to his site and download (for free) his Mad World Remixes. He's also done a great remix of Hybrid's "Until Tomorrow"

Amon Tobin - This dude is a total genius with samples. I usually think that using other people for samples is kind of a cop-out, but Amon Tobin mixes all of the samples together so well and then mangles the shit out of them while still retaining a certain quality to keep it enjoyable and interesting as well as beautiful and massive. His latest album Foley Room is alright, but extremely well produced. I prefer either Out From Out Where or Permutation. He also did the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Soundtrack with the most amazing song ever on it: El Cargo. Seriously, go listen to it right now.

Celldweller - I don't know if this counts as breaks anymore, but he has some awesome electronic, industrial rock with a bit of a break-y beat. Definitely sexy stuff. My favorites are "Frozen" "Switchback" "Stars of Orion" and "Unlikely (Stay with me)"

BT - TBU is pure genius, Emotional Technology is probably the best-produced album ever made by anyone, Movement in Still Life (UK version) is the best mixed album of all time, ESCM is a major journey into the original Trance music, and Ima is a humble beginning of an amazing artist. There are a few "best of" albums in-between, but those albums should really be on your CD wall, otherwise you're a twat and a masochist.

Long Range - They are actually a pretty interesting group. After Orbital ended a little while ago, Paul (or Phil) Hartnoll went over and formed with some other guy and made some pretty tight breaks music mixed with kind of an old-school rock vibe. Their single "Just One More" has a truly great chorus and a few other songs off of their debut album are worth picking up.

Pendulum - In Silico just came out and I've been listening to it constantly. Its a great DNB/Rock mixture that makes you want to jump up and punch someone in the teeth... with your pelvis. Odd allusions to sex aside, they are a great DNB group that a lot of people from the site draw great inspiration from, including myself. Some people prefer Hold Your Colour to In Silico, but I disagree.

Nu Breed - I have their phenomenal Y4K album and I'd have to say they have some cool tunes to go with the awesome album. Sort of a more tech-y sound that isnt for everybody, but I enjoy it and they're worth a definite listen.


Harry Gregson-Williams - I have a huge man-crush on this guy and totally recommend any movie he does the score for. He seriously elevates what could be a shitty movie to a not too bad movie with his scores, and the good movies he does elevate the movie to a work of true art. Spy Game, MGS 2/3/4, Enemy of the State and Narnia have to be some of my favorites. (not up yet)

Steve Jablonsky - I actually just started listening to this guy and he has done some great filmscores. Check out his Steamboy OST for some sexalicious soundtrackin'.

Nick Phoenix - He actually does the audio shtuff behind EWQLSO, StormDrum and Colossus. Head over to and you can hear a bunch of his work for a bunch of things. Really well-done and interesting.

Nick Singer - I'm loving his remixes of the Halo/Marathon music and his site has a buncha cool tunes and stuff on his super awesome site.

These are just a few of the artists I really like, there are a ton more that I haven't mentioned; including Hyper, Cirrus, Apollo 440(now dead, drummer is in Pendulum), General MIDI and others.

Oh, and that Hy Bound guy has some good stuff too... :D

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Wow, this thread is still around. I should try to update it sometime in the week - not until next week though, as I'm still tired from a Nightwish concert last night and going to be seeing them Saturday night as well, and then flying to NY the morning after.

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