Experimenting in the Stereolab

by David

Stereolab formed in the early ’90s, and even though they’ve since been hugely influential, not many people know their music. And it doesn’t help that describing their music is difficult: they’ve absorbed elements of noise rock, Brazilian bossa nova, Burt Bacharach, the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, and French pop of the ’60s. Oh, and when their lyrics aren’t in French, they usually flirt with Marxism.


Serene Velocity: A Stereolab Anthology” is a good start, but most of their ‘middle period’ albums are consistently excellent (“Emperor Tomato Ketchup“, “Mars Audiac Quintet“, “Dots and Loops“, and “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night“).





Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements” was their first album proper, and while a song like the 18-minute “Jenny Ondioline” does have its charms (as long as you like one-chord noise drones), their later albums were more sophisticated, inventive and pop-oriented. Try “The Free Design” from “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night“, or “Lo Boob Oscillator” from the soundtrack to “High Fidelity“.






One response to “Experimenting in the Stereolab”

  1. SDye says:

    I agree, David! Many people don’t know Sterolab’s music, so I really appreciate your list! It was a children’s picture book, “Esquivel! space-age sound artist” by Susan Wood that alerted me to the fact that Stereolab’s “One Note Samba – Surfboard” was actually a cover of an Esquivel song. I love the discovering two things that I’m interested in coming together in an unexpected way and learning that a something that I thought was unique was an interpretation of something that already existed. I DEFINITELY recommend checking out Stereolab, Esquivel, and the picture book by Susan Wood and illustrated by the AMAZING Mexican artist, Duncan Tonatiuh.

Leave a reply