Most Interesting Years for Music Production

I’ve been thinking about all the music I have loved over the years, and how much of it was before, during, or after my most impressionable/youthful years. I’ve come to the conclusion that the music that was released between 1998-2002 has been the most powerful on a whole compared to all the other music I like, particularly the cross-pollination of genres/instruments/analog/digital/etc. While there are plenty other eras of awesome music and innovations, this is the one that has impressed upon me the most, and I was wondering what y’all thought was the most important time in music.

Here are some of the albums (listed chronologically) that I think are great examples:

Amon Tobin - Permutations (1998)
Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come (1998)
Autechre - LP5 (1998)
Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty (1998)
Godspeed You Black Emperor! - F#A# Infinity (1998)
Don Caballero - What Burns Never Returns (1998)
Fugazi - End Hits (1998)
Busta Rhymes - Extinction Level Event (1998)
Pole - 1, 2, 3 (1998-2000)
Squarepusher - Music is Rotted One Note (1999)
Mos Def - Black on Both Sides (1999)
Beck - Midnight Vultures (1999)
Dismemberment Plan - Emergency and I (1999)
Boards of Canada - Music has the Right to Children (1998)
Ol’ Dirty Bastard - Nigga Please (1999)
Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity (1999)
Fantômas - Fantômas (1999)
Mr. Scruff - Keep It Unreal (1999)
The Avalanches - Since I Left You (2000)
Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command (2000)
Deltron 3030 -Deltron 3030 (2000)
Del the Funky Homosapien - Both Sides of the Brain (2000)
D’Angelo - Voodoo (2000)
St. Germain - Tourist (2000)
Don Caballero - American Don (2000)
Quasimoto - The Unseen (2000)
Amon Tobin - Supermodified (2000)
Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antartica (2000)
Jan Jelinek - Loop Finding Jazz Records (2001)
Autechre - Confield (2001)
Squarepusher - Go Plastic (2001)
Mum - Yesterday was Dramatic - Today is OK (2001)
The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 (2001)
Cornelius - Point (2001)
Liars - They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (2001)
Matmos - A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure (2001)
Aphex Twin - Drukqs (2001)
Mouse on Mars - Idiology (2001)
Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)
Akufen - My Way (2002)
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi (2002)
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags and Codes (2002)
Keith Fullerton Whitman Playthroughs - (2002)
The Books - Thought for Food (2002)
Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow (2002)
Metro Area - Metro Area (2002)

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Are you by any chance in your late 30s?

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Haha, yes! But oddly enough I’d say I didn’t hear at least 2/3rds of these records until years after they came out.

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maybe you need to change the title to ‘electronic’ music!
I think maybe 90 to almost mid2000 are the best years for electronic music! Early warp records, Ae, afx, early techno years with Jeff Mills, surgeon, plastikman etc techno still at 140bpm
Lots of disco’s, parties, underground raves, good xtc :slight_smile:
Good hiphop Dr Dre, cypress hill etc
First heavy loud ‘festival’ bands like the Prodigy and chemical brothers, Function One boxes
the best years for some really cool flagship synths, mostly digital
the beginning of eurorack modular stuff!
So that defines it all :slight_smile:

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I originally wanted to say just the years 2000/2001 (since it usually takes about a year for a record to come out), but decided to do a five year span as I was looking at albums that came out around this time. My main argument is just that this short period really had an impressive amount of genre crossover with lots of experimentation and cool use of new technologies, which in turn produced some truly amazing albums (many which would not be able to have been made prior).

I think that there are lots of great albums coming out all the time, and was just looking to see what other people thought of as a brief moment in time where there was an explosion of creativity across genres which produced amazing albums.

I think I own every one of those records!
I am also in my late 30’s and a big fan of a lot of stuff that was happening at the turn of the century.
I was massively into breakcore and electronic noise back then.

I think my favourite era for music is a bit before that though. I think electronic music from 92-96 was amazing. Everything was pretty new and exciting and people weren’t afraid to do what they wanted.
Nothing beats the excitement for a 14 year old of your older brother coming home with a massive book of tapes from the latest dreamscape or helter skelter party or the thunderdome tapes changing hands in school like cigarettes round a prison.
I know, nostalgia sucks and all that but I genuinely think electronic music was better before it got all self conscious and cool.

Having said all of that, I can’t imagine living in a world where I can’t throw on a random track from NTS sessions whenever the mood takes me (which is often) so I guess the best time is now because I can listen to everything ever whenever I like and awesome stuff keeps coming out every day.

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1992

Definitely dig what your saying.

Would you say the same thing across all genres? There’s a few seminal albums from 92-96 that I obviously didn’t include and that I would say are better than many of the albums on this list (and could say the same for stuff coming after my range of dates).

Why 92?

Early 90s was the era where innovation in music arrangement and production peaked. It’s represented most strongly in genres such as jungle and drum and bass as defining the last radically different “sound” that lacks a direct historic precedent that it mimics or echoed. Drum and bass and jungle actually introduced a “new” sound into music that has not really been innovated upon until, maybe something like Skrillex’s brostep (I know I know).

This is aping and probably bastardizing an argument made by Simon Reynolds in his book energy flash which is such an amazing work of electronic music history. In my experience I have just had so many serendipitous moments of digging records and tracks up, not knowing anything about the artist or track, hearing it and loving it only to find out it was recorded somewhere between 91-93.

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Don’t drag me into this Peter :grinning:ok while I’m here my favourite era is probably synth pop late 70’s early 80’s, bit before my time but when I was in my teens I went back and bought all the albums of that era
Human league
Soft cell
Depeche mode
Yazoo
Gary numan
OMD
Kraftwerk etc

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Very cool. Def agree about the DnB/jungle era. That is how I feel about the year 2001, and why I started this thread. That year just was a cornucopia of amazing albums for me.

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That is definitely a very cool era! The dawn of digital and sampling, analog polysynths are relatively common place, and lots of weird intersections of rock/hip hop/electronic/world music. I’d also throw Talking Heads into that mix…

And out of the hundreds of Electronic albums listened to over the years, this is still my favourite, the fact they listed all the kit used on the back was probably how I got an interest in synths etc
image

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Interesting list.

For me, one of the greatest pleasures is to sit in front of your gear, twiddle and noodle with the world of possibilities at your fingertips, come up with nothing good, then take a walk with a really great mid 90s electronica trip hop album start to finish. (Ninja tunes, Tru Thoughts etc). Mind blowing how good some of them were without all the stuff we have today.

Then go back and re-start your gear twiddling with open ears and open mind and an open bottle of something stimulating.

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as a great goa trance fan, i’m very sentimental about releases of 1994–1997 era.
but i realize that it was unique set of many circumstances and has nothing to do with years.

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Interesting. I don’t know too much about that scene. Are there any other genres where you believe lots of great albums were produced that fall under those years?

I definitely believe there are pockets of time where a certain genre spits out its best material, which usually coincides with the first groups/musicians producing in that genre, but I think it is really interesting and amazing when a really wide range of hallmark music/albums all happens to be made within a very short time period.

For me the peak would be around 2005-ish (when I was in my early 20s). I think a lot of the genres you mention in your list really started to fuse around that time. Personally I was heavilly into hardcore, alternative and hiphop around the 2000s. I got interested in postrock, psych and ambient a few years later and I feel the first half of the 00s was the time that all of these genres stared to melt together. Boards Of Canada, Mogwai, Helios, 65daysofstatic, This Will Destroy You, Radiohead, stuff like that really resonated with me and it still defines a lot of what i would like my tracks to sound like.

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what an awesome playlist you’ve got! yeah i often think of it too, especially when i stumble upon some forgotten album “from the past”, how innovative and “unaffected” it turns out.
and yet, some more advanced and deep tracks pop out here and there, if to give it second thought. one of my recent discoveries in that regard was skee mask —“compro”, or trentemoller’s latest “observe” — it just amazes me how they feel and manipulate the sound and overal flow

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Most of the time people stick to the kind of music they heard during their teenage years to their 30’s. Late 60’s and the whole 70’s were more interesting in terms of production and live performance imo (if we are talking about all kinds of music, not just “electronic”). Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown (just to name a few “big shots”). Extremely skilled musicians and performers pushing boundaries. I wasn’t born at that time but have studied their work which has influenced quite a lot of musicians to these days. I loved the 90’s though and still do. Not only from 98 to 2004. Early 90’s were really interesting: turntablism, drum and bass, rap music was strong and diverse (Public Enemy, Beastie boys, Cypress hill, Wu Tang…). Trip hop and Mo’wax label… The industry drastically changed during the early 2000’s though. Internet, cheaper and faster personal computers changed the game for the worst and the best: you can make your own album from your room now, promote yourself, talk with fellow musicians from all over the planet, which is great. But the offer exploded making it harder to get visibilty, and you have to dig deeper to find gems nowadays.

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