Essential German Electronic Music Compilations

“Essential German Electronic Music Compilations” is a blog about essential German electronic music compilations. It’s written by me, Timo Blomberg, who occasionally releases his own music as “Sun Electric” on R&S Records and “Orbital” on Edel. You can reach me through the contact form below if you have any questions about the blog.

The purpose of this blog is to give a guide to those who are interested in German electronic music but don’t know where to start. This includes both old and new releases.

The posts are mainly made up of lists of the best albums from a certain year or genre. But I also do write reviews of new albums or compilations when I feel like it.

My taste is broad, but ranges mostly from techno to ambient and everything in between, although I’m not interested in minimal house or minimal techno. My favorite labels include R&S Records, Warp Records and Mille Plateaux. I’m probably most interested in releases from 1996-2006, but that doesn’t mean that newer or older stuff isn’t cool too. If you like my posts, check out my other blog, “Acid House Kings”, which is about Swedish indie pop music!

Essential German Electronic Music Compilations is a blog about electronic music compilations. All of them can be downloaded for free.

The German electronic music scene has been one of the strongest and most influential in the world for over 30 years, with a long history of internationally successful artists and labels. There is an enormous number of compilations that have been released over the years, and I’d like to try to compile a list of essential German electronic music compilations.

I generally define “German” as “from Germany” or “with strong ties to Germany”, so some of these might be a bit tenuous, but I think they all fit the bill. To qualify as an “essential compilation” I think they should either be widely regarded as important (as in: you will find it on many lists like this), or they should have had a big influence on contemporary electronic music. I’ll also include releases that are part of a series (like the Total series), but not releases that only contain tracks by one artist (like Kompakt Total).

I’m sure there are a lot more compilations that should be included in this list. Please leave suggestions in the comments!

German electronic music is justifiably famous, and the constant flood of compilations can be overwhelming. The goal of this blog is to make sense of the flood.

Each post will focus on a couple of essential compilations. My aim is not to give you all the information available about the compilations, but rather to direct you to what I consider the most important ones and give you some context for them.

I am not an expert in this music, but rather a fan who has been poking around in it for a while. I already have a list of compilations that I consider essential, and these are what I’ll be writing about first, but if there are any you think should be added to the list, please let me know.

The following is a chronological list of essential German electronic music compilations. This list is far from being complete, so you are encouraged to add your own suggestions in the comments section below.

A certain degree of overlap with the other lists (especially Essential German Electronic Music Albums) is unavoidable, as many LPs were also released in shortened compilation versions. Also note that many albums which are not listed here will be included in the upcoming sequel, Essential German Electronic Music Albums Vol. 2.

The original goal was to limit the selection to one release per artist and label, but this proved to be impossible for some artists and labels. So you will find several releases by and about Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, as well as several releases on the Virgin/Caroline label, for example.

In this blog we have been going through the German electronic music scene chronologically, starting with the early experiments of bands like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The next logical step would be to take a look at what happened in the 1980s, but I am going to go a different route: I will skip forward to the 1990s.

Why? Because that is when one of my favorite genres of music reached its peak: compilations.

Of course there have been compilations of electronic music since the genre began, but until the 1990s they were mostly focused on well-known artists or labels. In the 1990s, however, a number of labels began releasing compilations that brought together all kinds of lesser-known artists and labels from all over Germany.

In this blog I will focus on those compilations. There are quite a few of them, and I don’t claim that this list is complete by any means. But I think it covers most of the essential ones.

Kraftwerk – Autobahn (1974)

Kraftwerk’s first full-length album was a major landmark for German music. In fact, their work can be seen as the starting point for all modern German electronic music. It’s hard to think of any German dance act that doesn’t owe some debt to Kraftwerk.

The music itself is a wonderfully optimistic and joyous celebration of driving on the autobahn. There is nothing in the lyrics to suggest the urban alienation that is so much part of our image of Kraftwerk. The title track is given a good workout at over 24 minutes, while there are also short songs on side 2: “Kometenmelodie 1” and “Kometenmelodie 2” (Comet Melody).

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