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Don't Know Shit About

Top Ten EDM Albums for People Who Don't Know Shit About Dance Music

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Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 4:00 AM
click to enlarge Paul van Dyk - CHRISTOPH KOSTLIN
  • Christoph Kostlin
  • Paul van Dyk

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Electronic dance music (you know, EDM) is the hottest thing going right now. But to you, it still all sounds like "oontz, oontz, oontz" -- except Skrillex, who sounds like "wom, wom, wom." Right?

Fear not. You don't have to be a kid yourself to know what the kids are into nowadays. The ten albums below might not convert you into a glowstick-twirling rave monkey, but they will at least help you tell the difference between dubstep and drum 'n' bass, or Chicago house and Detroit techno. Note that while these are great records, this isn't meant to be a definitive "best of" list -- it's just a good entry point for EDM newbies.

10) The Chemical Brothers

Exit Planet Dust (1995)

No one has ever engineered a better gateway drug to EDM than this ferocious debut album from the British production duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, which is why it kicks off our list. The Chems would refine their balls-out mix of techno, acid house, hip-hop and stadium rock on future releases, but they never went straight for the lizard brain more effectively than on this frenetic set.

9) Derrick Carter and Mark Farina

Live at Om (2004)

House music got its start in Chicago, and Chicago house in its purest form remains the dirtiest, funkiest, swingingest form of dance music based on strict four-on-the-floor beats. This double-disc collection captures live sets by two of Chi-town's most gifted DJs and is a brilliant study in contrasts: Where Mark Farina's jazzy, stylish tracks (like the Vibezelect tune above) are all about the hip-shake and shoulder-shimmy, Derrick Carter's downright filthy mix is all grit and grind and goes right for the crotch.

8) Underworld

Beaucoup Fish (1999)

The band behind "Born Slippy" (you know, from the final scene in Trainspotting) released three classic hard techno albums in the '90s, of which this '99 set is both their best and the one most accessible to newbs. The last Underworld album to feature their secret weapon, producer Darren Emerson, it contains at least three tracks that will melt your face off: the deceptively titled "Kittens," the Donna Summer-sampling "Shudder/King of Snake" (yes, it jacked that pulsating synth from "I Feel Love") and album closer "Moaner." For British techno, this is still the gold standard.

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