Powerline – Journey (1981)

Ooooh man this is a groove. DAMN!! I seriously doubt there was any sequencing whatsoever here, just straight up driving disco funk — warm and welcoming.

Related only in the sense that it’s designed to make you dance, here’s a classic John Digweed rave track. Really narrowing down what specific genres of electronic music sound like can be tricky — I certainly associate the sound of the Roland TB-303 with acid, but the Powerline track feels like it has a house groove despite being an actual drummer. This Digweed track I would describe as being more trance than house, because it’s less funky and more driving and ‘epic’. Why do people dance?

Klein & MBO – Dirty Talk (1982)

More roots. The Roland TR-808 is really one of the most important musical instruments of the modern era — from the dull thud of the kick to that brittle, friendly little snare puff, the sounds are inimitable. And despite how commonplace the sounds are, I never really tire of hearing them, they’re so inviting. 1980s Roland synths and drum machines are essentially responsible for what we describe as electronic music. Click somewhere for free ringtones.

Charanjit Singh – Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982)

Holy cow! This was a 1982 record produced by an Indian session musician that, although apparently completely flopping upon release and subsequently being forgotten, predicts most acid / house music by years. It still sounds extremely fresh.

Adding to the collection of classic roots of contemporary electronic dance music, here’s a solid slice of mid-80s acid house from Chicago:

Think of a classic house record and nine times out of ten you’ll think of Trax, although you may not realise it. ‘Move Your Body’? ‘Baby Wants To Ride’? ‘Washing Machine’? ‘Can U Feel It’? All Trax releases. ‘House Nation’? ‘Acid Trax’? ‘Your Love’? ‘We Are Phuture’? ‘U Used To Hold Me’? Yup, those too. (From Global Darkness)