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The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time

From Kraftwerk to Daft Punk to Deadmau5, it’s been a wild ride on the dance floor

The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of all Time

Superstars like Skrillex and Deadmau5 have helped make electronic dance music bigger than ever this year – but party people around the world have been getting down to programmed beats for decades before those guys showed up. At its broadest definition, EDM can cover everything from Chicago house to Dutch gabber to drum 'n' bass to dubstep, from the visionary bleeps of Kraftwerk to the ambient blues of Moby's Play to the synthed-up indie-rock of LCD Soundsystem. With this list of the 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time, we've tried to hit all the high points in that ludicrously varied, constantly evolving mix.

By Jon Dolan and Michaelangelo Matos

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14. Skrillex, Bangarang EP (Big Beat/Atlantic, 2012)

Big Beat/Atlantic

14. Skrillex, ‘Bangarang’ EP (Big Beat/Atlantic, 2011)

Old-school dance heads may resist Skrillex's cartoon kicks, but that's their problem. The dark lord of U.S. EDM is only getting better. The title track from his latest EP is his loosest, looniest confection yet, a party noisemaker that weaves its vocal samples ("You feel good!") into the song's structure rather than slapping you up the head with them. And his flip-flopping low end on "Right In" and "Kyoto" is funky and cheeky. Sure, "Breakin' a Sweat" is an iffy Doors "collaboration," but it's kind of a good joke: the king of the bass drop getting down with a band that didn't have a bass player. When he gets together with fellow dubsteppers 12th Planet and Kill the Noise for "Right on Time," they throw a curveball in the form of a four-to-the-floor house track even cranky EDM old-timers might get down with.

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13. Basement Jaxx, Remedy (Astralwerks, 1999)

Astralwerks

13. Basement Jaxx, ‘Remedy’ (Astralwerks, 1999)

By the end of the Nineties, dance music had spawned a comical number of sub-genre spin offs. (Dark Wave, anyone? Sure, only if you mix it with some sweet laptronica.) Which is why the debut album from London DJ-producers Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe caused such a stir. Remedy returned to the simple, sensual pleasures of the Paradise Garage and early Chicago house while pushing those classic sounds in new, often dirtier, directions (they called it "punk garage") – from the vocoder-driven "Yo Yo" to "Same Old Show," which threaded a sample of Seventies ska revivalists the Selector over a sumptuously punching beat, to the sweat-caked euphoric of "Red Alert," in which a diva informs us, "Ain't nothin' goin' on but history." And the sound of moving it ahead a step.

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12. v/a, True Spirit, Vol. 1 (Tresor, 2010)

Tresor

12. Various Artists, ‘True Spirit, Vol. 1’ (Tresor, 2010)

"Detroit-Berlin: A Techno Alliance," went the subtitle of an early compilation on the latter city's Tresor Records, and in the early Nineties that alliance reshaped dance music into something tougher, meaner and more minimalist. The seven tracks on this sampler platter (originally released between 1991 and 1993) come at you with stark, thrilling brute force – you gotta love a techno track called "Drugs Work." Highlights include the stun-gun riffs of Blake Baxter's "Ghost" (Detroit) and the wild pitch-shifting of Maurizo's "Ploy (Strategic Mix)" (Berlin). The star is Detroit's Jeff Mills, whose "Sonic Destroyer" (recorded as X-101) and "The Hypnotist" are models of micro-managed frenzy. If Juan Atkins was ? and the Mysterians, Mills is the Stooges.

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