13 Best 90s Electronic Music Artists That Deserve Respect
The 1990s were a seminal decade for electronic music. This was a period when dance music began to move from the underground into the mainstream, and electronic acts started to achieve significant commercial success. So today, let’s explore some of the best 90s electronic music artists, examining what makes them memorable and appreciating their lasting impact on the music world.
90s Electronic Music Artists You’ll Love
1) The Prodigy
The Prodigy is one of the most memorable electronic music acts to emerge from the 1990s. Their high-energy, punk-inspired sound combined with techno and breakbeat elements to create a unique and innovative style that quickly caught the attention of audiences worldwide. The Prodigy’s music has a visceral, almost aggressive quality to it, driven by pounding beats and Keith Flint’s raw, snarling vocals.
The Prodigy’s most impactful album is undoubtedly “The Fat of the Land,” which featured massive hits like “Breathe” and “Firestarter.” These tracks helped to propel The Prodigy to international superstardom, and they remain iconic examples of 90s electronic music to this day. In addition to their musical impact, The Prodigy also helped to popularize electronic dance music, paving the way for other electronic acts to achieve mainstream success.
My favorite The Prodigy song: “Breathe” (1996). “Breathe” is known for its iconic opening synth riff and high-energy beats. It was the first single from their album “The Fat of the Land” and reached the top 10 charts in many countries. The song was also featured in numerous films, TV shows, and video games.
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2) Daft Punk
Daft Punk is another hugely influential electronic act that emerged in the 1990s. The duo’s blend of disco, funk, and house music created a sound that was both nostalgic and forward-thinking, and their iconic robot personas helped to make them one of the most recognizable electronic acts of all time. It’s hard to choose just one notable Daft Punk album. Each one of their albums is legendary in its own right.
Their debut album Homework features tracks like “Da Funk” and “Around the World” and introduced the world to this dynamic duo. These songs helped to introduce Daft Punk to a wider audience and helped to establish them as one of the most important electronic acts of the decade. Their 2001 follo-up, Discovery, featured one of their most timeless songs, “One More Time” which cemented their early legacy.
Additionally, Daft Punk’s use of sampling and their incorporation of live instruments helped to break down barriers between electronic and traditional forms of music, paving the way for future electronic acts to experiment with different sounds and genres.
My favorite Daft Punk song: “Da Funk” (1997). This instrumental track helped to establish Daft Punk as one of the leading electronic music acts of the 90s. The song’s quirky melody and funky rhythm have made it a dance floor favorite for over two decades.
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3) Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles was an American DJ and producer who is often referred to as the “Godfather of House Music”. He was born in New York City but gained fame in Chicago in the 80s, where he became a resident DJ at the famous nightclub The Warehouse. Knuckles is known for his soulful and uplifting house music, which often features gospel-infused vocals, soaring melodies, and deep basslines.
Some of his most famous tracks include “Your Love”, “The Whistle Song”, and “Tears”. Knuckles passed away in 2014, but his legacy as a pioneer of house music continues to be felt by generations of electronic music fans and artists.
Before he became a famous DJ and producer, Frankie Knuckles was a sought-after disco DJ in New York City in the 70s. He even played at the famous Studio 54 nightclub, where he was known for his eclectic and high-energy sets.
My favorite Frankie Knuckles song: “Tears” (1989). This classic house track features the soulful vocals of Robert Owens and is widely considered to be one of the defining songs of the Chicago house scene. The song’s emotional lyrics and lush production helped to establish Knuckles as one of the greatest DJs and producers of his time.
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4) The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers are another iconic electronic act from the 1990s. Their unique blend of big beat, techno, and psychedelic rock helped to create a sound that was both danceable and trippy, and their energetic live performances made them one of the most sought-after acts in the electronic music scene.
The Chemical Brothers’ impact can still be felt in the music of today. Additionally, The Chemical Brothers’ use of live instrumentation and their incorporation of visual elements into their live shows helped to redefine what a live electronic music performance could be.
My favorite The Chemical Brothers song: “Block Rockin’ Beats” (1997). This high-energy track features a catchy riff and hard-hitting beats and helped to establish The Chemical Brothers as one of the most innovative and exciting electronic acts of the 90s.
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5) The Orb
The Orb is a British electronic act that emerged in the late 1980s but achieved significant success during the 1990s. Their ambient soundscapes and psychedelic textures helped to create a style of electronic music that was more meditative and introspective than some of the other acts on this list.
Check out their album Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, which featured tracks like “Little Fluffy Clouds” and “A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld.” These songs helped to establish The Orb as one of the most innovative and experimental electronic acts of the decade, and their influence can still be felt in the music of today.
My favorite The Orb Song: “Little Fluffy Clouds” (1990). This ambient track features samples from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones, and it’s dreamy soundscapes and lush textures helped to establish The Orb as one of the leading ambient and chillout acts of the 90s.
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6) Masters at Work
Masters at Work is a duo consisting of American DJs and producers “Little” Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez. “Little” Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez have been friends since childhood, and they started making music together when they were still in high school. They even named their duo “Masters at Work” as a nod to their shared love of music and their dedication to perfecting their craft.
They are known for their soulful and jazzy house music, which often features live instrumentation and guest vocalists. Masters at Work has remixed tracks for many famous artists, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Donna Summer.
They have also released several albums and singles under their name, including the hits “To Be in Love” and “Work”. Masters at Work’s music is characterized by its musicality, its use of live instrumentation, and its ability to seamlessly blend different genres, such as jazz, soul, and Latin music.
My favorite Masters at Work song: “To Be in Love” (1991). This soulful house track features the powerful vocals of India and is widely considered to be one of the greatest house tracks of all time. The song’s uplifting melody and positive message have made it a dance floor favorite for over two decades.
7) Massive Attack
Massive Attack is a British electronic music act that emerged during the 1990s. Their unique blend of trip-hop, soul, and electronic music created a sound that was both moody and sensual, and their collaborations with other artists helped to expand the boundaries of what electronic music could be.
Massive Attack’s album Mezzanine, featured tracks like “Teardrop” and “Angel.” These songs helped to establish Massive Attack as one of the most innovative and influential electronic acts of the decade, and their use of live instrumentation and sampling helped to pave the way for future electronic acts to explore new sounds and textures.
My favorite Massive Attack song: “Teardrop” (1991). This haunting track features the ethereal vocals of Elizabeth Fraser, and its melancholic sound helped to establish Massive Attack as one of the leading trip-hop acts of the 90s. The song’s memorable music video, featuring a CGI fetus, also helped to make it a cultural touchstone.
8) Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin, also known as Richard D. James, is a British electronic music producer who emerged during the 1990s. His unique blend of ambient, techno, and experimental music helped to create a sound that was both complex and emotionally resonant, and his use of innovative production techniques helped to push the boundaries of what electronic music could be.
Aphex Twin’s most impactful album is arguably “Selected Ambient Works 85-92,” which featured tracks like “Xtal” and “Tha.” These songs helped to establish Aphex Twin as one of the most innovative and influential electronic music producers of the decade. Additionally, Aphex Twin’s use of abstract and surreal visuals in his music videos helped to create a distinct visual aesthetic that was unlike anything else in the electronic music scene at the time.
My favorite Aphex Twin song: “Windowlicker” (1999). This experimental track features distorted vocals and glitchy beats, and is widely considered to be one of Aphex Twin’s most innovative and groundbreaking songs. The song’s surreal music video, featuring distorted faces and bizarre imagery, also helped to cement its status as a cult classic.
Underworld is a British electronic music act that debuted during the 1990s. Their unique blend of techno, house, and trance music created a sound that was both hypnotic and uplifting, and their energetic live performances made them one of the most sought-after acts in the electronic music scene.
Underworld’s most impactful album is arguably “Dubnobasswithmyheadman,” which featured tracks like “Born Slippy .NUXX” and “Cowgirl.”
My favorite Underworld song: “Born Slippy .NUXX” (1995). This epic track features a soaring melody and driving beats, and its use in the iconic final scene of the movie “Trainspotting” helped to make it a cultural touchstone of the 90s.
Orbital is another British electronic music act that emerged during the 1990s. Their unique blend of techno, house, and ambient music helped to create a sound that was both cerebral and danceable. They are also known for their use of live instrumentation and improvisation in their sound.
In Sides, was their prominent album of the time and featured tracks like “The Box” and “Out There Somewhere.” These songs helped to establish Orbital as one of the most innovative and influential electronic music acts of the decade, and their use of live instrumentation and improvisation helped to create a distinct sound that was unlike anything else in the electronic music scene at the time.
My favorite Orbital song: “Chime” (1992). This influential track helped to establish Orbital as one of the leading electronic acts of the 90s. The song’s hypnotic melody and pounding beats have made it a dance floor classic for over three decades.
Portishead is a British trip-hop group that emerged during the 1990s. Their unique blend of hip-hop, jazz, and electronic music helped to create a sound that was both moody and atmospheric. They are known for their haunting sound, which blends elements of hip-hop, jazz, and rock.
Portishead’s music is often characterized by its sparse arrangements, melancholy melodies, and atmospheric production. Their use of live instrumentation and sampling helped to establish their signature sound.
A Portishead album to check out is “Dummy,” which featured popular tracks like “Sour Times” and “Glory Box.”
My favorite Portishead song: “Glory Box” (1994). This haunting track features the sultry vocals of Beth Gibbons and a memorable sample from Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Rap II.”
12) Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim is the stage name of English DJ and producer Norman Cook. He is known for his big-beat sound, which blends elements of hip-hop, funk, and rock. Fatboy Slim’s music is often characterized by its catchy hooks, infectious rhythms, and use of samples from a wide range of sources.
He has released several hit albums, including “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”, “Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars”, and “Palookaville”. Fatboy Slim’s hits include “Praise You”, “Right Here, Right Now”, and “The Rockafeller Skank”.
My favorite Fatboy Slim song: “Praise You” (1994). This upbeat track features a catchy sample from Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise,” and helped to establish Fatboy Slim as one of the leading electronic acts of the late 90s. The song’s memorable music video, featuring a group of amateur dancers performing in a shopping mall, also helped to make it a cultural touchstone.
13) Cajmere aka Green Velvet
Cajmere is the stage name of American DJ and producer Curtis Jones, who is also known by his alias Green Velvet. He is a pioneer of Chicago house music, and his music is known for its funky basslines, catchy vocal hooks, and playful lyrics. Cajmere has released several hit tracks, including “Coffee Pot (It’s Time for the Percolator)”, “Brighter Days”, and “Get Up”.
As Green Velvet, he has also released several hit tracks, including “Flash”, “La La Land”, and “Answering Machine”. He is also the founder of the record label Relief Records, which has released tracks by many other notable house and techno artists.
Fun fact: Green Velvet’s iconic hairstyle, which includes a tall, spiky mohawk and brightly colored hair, is not just a fashion statement—it’s also a nod to the punk rock and new wave music that he listened to growing up.
My favorite Cajmere Song: “Flash” (1995). “Flash” is a high-energy techno track that features a driving beat and a memorable vocal sample from a 1981 track by the group “Bohannon.”
Leftfield is yet another British electronic music act that emerged during the 1990s. They are known for their progressive and melodic sound, which blends elements of house, techno, and dub. Leftfield’s music is often characterized by its driving beats, emotive melodies, and use of guest vocalists.
A notable Leftfield album is their “Leftism,” which featured tracks like “Open Up” and “Release the Pressure.” These songs featured a distinct sound that was unlike anything else in the electronic music scene at the time.
My favorite Leftield Song: “Song of Life” (1995). “Song of Life” is a progressive house track that features a driving beat and a distinctive vocal sample
Wrapping It All Up
In conclusion, the 1990s were a seminal decade for electronic music, and the artists on this list helped to define the sound of the era. Each of the best 90s electronic music artists brought their unique style and approach to electronic music, and their impact can still be felt in the music of today.
Whether it’s The Prodigy’s aggressive punk-inspired sound, Daft Punk’s disco-infused house music, or Massive Attack’s moody trip-hop, these artists helped to push the boundaries of what electronic music could be and paved the way for future generations of electronic music producers and performers.
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This article was written by Justinian and edited by Michael.