|Alter Ego & Playgroup have released a double CD mix; one historical and one representing electro now. I don't know if I agree with every choice on that record, and i'm not sure if they haven't picked the tracks from the perspective of modern electro rather than how the music was back in the day.|
So where did it start? It's a question with several answers, and an argument waiting to happen.
Afrika Bambaataa was always ground zero for me, but some folks go earlier, citing Kraftwerk.
Consdidering Bambaataa kick started his scene by chopping and mixing their records, it seems fair they receive some credit. The injection of unashamedly electronic sounds into the then very disco hip hop was inspired by them, if not directly their idea.
I first discovered electro through those influenced by the early stuff, and it's a diverse list of acts; from Rage Against the Machine covering 'Renegades of Funk' to Les Rythmes Digitales and the super-homage that was Darkdancer, electro has shaped a lot of my favourite music.
It's a style of music that a lot of folks were inspired by, even if - as Norman Cook puts it - some of the folks citing it are listening too much to “A Flock Of Seagulls” and not enough to “Egypt Egypt”. Personally I love some of both, but it does make clear one thing; electro is a pretty loose term that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Right now it means an 808 and a solid dose of the funk to me, but that changes depending what I've been listening to lately. I've been listening to more old school stuff of late and I was jamming with a Groovebox 303 recently, so it's all about the squibs, booms and clickety hats.
What does it mean to you today?