Writer: Stefano Lariccia
There is no doubt in saying that 1983 was an important year in electronic music and culture. It wasn’t just the starting point of a worldwide shift, but it was the year that saw the affirmation of different cultural currents, which began at the end of the 1970s.
The Warehouse of Chicago, the birthplace of house music and the Paradise Garage of New York were shaking the world with a new night time vibe. The sound was still reminiscent of Funk and Disco, but the music was evolving into a proper electronic sound.
The Roland TR-909 drum machine was introduced in the market, from which many artists took inspiration, deciding to take things to the next level. Electronic music started to generate different genres that would go on to conquer the dancefloors, from commercial to futuristic underground sounds.
All over the world music machines were starting to dominate creativity and the collective consciousness, culminating in huge hits and unforgettable clubbing nights.
So without further ado, let us dive into the past, this is our list of the 10 best electronic songs of 1983.
Herbie Hancock – Rockit
Legendary Jazz pianist and genial composer reinvented his sound into a blend of electro-funk, delivering this amazing piece of art. Inspired by the Afrika Bambaataa hit, Planet Rock, hip-hop influences are scattered throughout the track. This new wave of music would come to define the early part of the decade.
Deux – Game and Performance
A masterpiece from early synth-duo Deux. Formed in Lyon in 1983, they only ever released two singles. The hallmarks of this track are cold and minimal sounds with an amazing French accent on vocals. Sublime and unique, their style is both enigmatic and futuristic.
Indeep – Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
Despite the fact the song was released at the end of 1982, it hit a home run in 1983. Released in the middle of the “Disco Sucks” backlash, it was not an easy time for the genre. Nevertheless, the New Yorker quartet managed, thanks to the irresistible bit and a little bit of rap, to emerge victorious on the world dancefloors.
Giorgio Moroder – Scarface Intro Theme
This movie is undoubtedly a pop culture favourite and the soundtrack was produced by no other than king Giorgio Moroder. The intro theme is the most iconic piece of the bunch. Defined by a nice funky beat garnished with electronic effects and melodies, you can even hear Fidel Castro vocal sample. A stunning beginning of a legendary movie.
Alexander Robotnik – Problemes d’Amour
A massive cult hit. This track has marked the best moments in many seminal parties around the globe, from New York to Ibiza. It could also be defined as the beginning of Italo Disco. A nice bouncy bass accompanied by captivating synthesizers, and the robotic sequences that perfectly join the vocals – pure genius.
Hashim – Al-Naafyish
A must for all the b-boys and b-girls of the 80s, this track is tough and aggressive in the best way possible. Amazing tune from Bronx base producer, Hashim, it makes you want to challenge the other crew in a street dance-off. Badass synth sounds, restless rhythms, it’s hip hop, electro-funk and breakbeat rolled into one. One thing is for certain, this song means business from the very start.
White Horses – Laidback
This track was so ahead of its time. It has funky elements but is overall a proper clubbing record. It has the attitude of modern club music; whilst retaining deep sound within the structure of a dancefloor hit. The provocative title conjures up visions of wild nights fuelled by dubious white powder, which caused a sensation when it first dropped.
Kraftwerk – Tour de France
True pioneers and originators of electronic music, it can only be the mighty Kraftwerk. A euphoric and happier sound than their usual raw synthesis, this track celebrates their interest in cycling. They wanted to represent the rapid motion and the enthusiasm, a competition like the Tour de France can transmit.
Blue Monday – New Order
One of the most recognizable intros of all time. When those drum machine kicks start, you already know what you are in for; a classic piece of music. After the tragic end of Joy Division, the band regrouped as New Order, changed their sound and achieved the best comeback in music history. All the sonic elements are sublime; bass line, engaging rhythmic section and incredibly catchy melody. When played today it makes the same effect it did 38 years ago – it generates pure dancefloor ecstasy.
Clear – Cybotron
A ground-breaking track. An early innovator of Techno, Juan Atkins with fellow Cybotron, Richard Davis, created this mad electro cut. This futuristic track is the precursor of the Detroit sound. It was made by using two magical samples from two Kraftwerk songs. The result of this experimentation is a vortex of originality, with a steady kick, signature samples, and techno attitude. A crazy thought, but it almost sounds like acid at some points. Perhaps it was a revealing omen of things to yet come?