This is the mother of them all. Released in 1995, this is more or less an expansion of their ground-breaking 1987 “7 Minutes of Madness” remix of Eric B & Rakim’s Paid in Full, which single-handedly created the sample-heavy genre of dance music which would dominate the 1990’s. I absolutely adore this mix—there’s not a single second in which there aren’t at least two songs (sometimes three or four) playing simultaneously.
2. The KLF – Chill Out
It’s hard to separate the myth from the facts about this one. The wiki page is about as accurate as can be expected, considering I’ve heard about five different stories about the creation of this album over the last twenty years. In any event, it’s a bizarre mixture of the radio; songs by Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Presley, Boy George, and Tuvan throat singers; keyboard riffs; and solo pedal steel guitar melodies. I really can’t imagine a life without it.
3. Booka Shade – DJ-Kicks
Seamlessly mixing house, synth pop, John Carpenter film scores, and French pop music, this is one of the most consistent DJ mix CD’s I’ve ever heard. Although it’s all over the map stylistically, it still has a really nice bittersweet atmosphere throughout.
4. Air – Late Night Tales
It has Maurice Ravel, Black Sabbath, Scott Walker, and The Cure on it. What more do I need to say?
5. Jesus’ Son (soundtrack)
Although it’s technically a movie soundtrack, really this sounds more like a mixtape from a really bizarre friend. It manages to create a poignant mood in spite of the silliness of some of the song selections.