Machine Soul: An Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Music (Rhino)


Machine Soul: An Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Music


If for no other reason than to have the single greatest party CD of the new millennium (so far), this 2-CD set from Rhino is indispensible. Twenty-eight tracks tracing the evolution of electronica from the man-machine music of Kraftwerk's "The Robots" to Brian "BT" Transeau's "Godspeed," this is the most comprehensive and accessible attempt at tracing the lineage of electronic music (since the Seventies, anyway) yet delivered. The expansive liner notes by NYC producer Johan Kugelberg admit there's no feasible way to include everything that serves as a DJ/programmer milestone these days, and to this end, he covers much in words that's absent on the two discs themselves; from Lev Theremin to Pierre Schaeffer, John Cage, and Raymond Scott, the mini-essay encompasses the history of the world's most popular current musical form. As for the discs themselves, it's hardly exaggerating to say that this is the party people's party album. Where else are you going to find the genius and seminal Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer disco masterpiece "I Feel Love" back-to-back with Sparks' "The Number One Song in Heaven?" K-Tel, eat your heart out. Other standout tracks (if such a thing exists on compilations of this sort, and frankly, it all comes down to a question of taste) are Throbbing Gristle's "Adrenalin," merry pranksters the Shamen's "Move Any Mountain," and L.A. Style's techno-annoyance "James Brown Is Dead." Electronica has consistently come up short on these shores, but Rhino's brilliant comp is a sign that, at the very least, things are progressing nicely.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Marc Savlov
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
The Prince is dead, long live the Prince

Aug. 7, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle