Each CD was thirty dollars... an unheard-of amount when I was a college student. So, I only bought one. It wasn't very good, but I played the heck out of it. Here is what it looked like:
And here is a sample song, "Me My Dream" by the forgotten artist "Off"
BE MY DREAM - OFF
Sure, there was electronic music before 1988. In high school, I fell in love with Kraftwerk. "Computer World" had just come out, and my brother bought it on vinyl. I bought my own copy of "Electric Cafe" soon after. And a local IMAX movie theater played Alan Parson Project's "I Robot" before each movie, which wowed me, so I tried to find all the rock instrumentals I could: Vangelis, Tangerine Dream (still love the early stuff!), Tomita, and things on the Windham Hill label showcasing the then-new New Age movement.
But this music was different. It was louder, for a start. And you could dance to it. But unlike Giorgio Moroder's work (yay for the "Midnight Express" soundtrack!) this wasn't music for a disco. This was harsh and abrasive and weird, like the music they might play in a Blade Runner nightclub. My friends and I made mixtapes for each other. We discovered Front 242, and then Ministry. The really affluent ones bought import records and introduced us to "Charly" and "Strings Of Life" and "Clear". I did acid and listened to acid, too.
With the nineties around the corner, electronic music would explode, with rave music and Prodigy and a showcase on MTV. But for those two years in college, it felt like a secret experiment... a new world that only my friends and I were privilege to. I hope the current generation of kids are finding something unique and special to call their own. Because from my MP3 player, I'm not impressed by Bon Iver and Adele and Interpol and Animal Collective giving me that thrill of something I've never heard before.