Early 2000s: the essential electro labels

Early 2000s: the essential electro labels

Oct 20, 2020

The 2000’s marked a turning point in the world of electronic music. The past ten years, house music dominated that music scene with roots in funk, disco, soul and hard techno. However, with the arrival of minimal and electro, electronic music reached a turning point.

German labels such as Playhouse, Minus, Kompakt, Perlon and International DJ Gigolo redefined the sound of European dancefloors by blending rock & roll and funky minimal techno. Together, they brought new inspiration to the electronic scene. In 2000, Radiohead shocked the world with its album “Kid A”, parting from rock music and drawing influence from electronic and ambient music. Hence, electro is fueled by different musical styles as many new genres are created, using unique melodies, a variety of instruments and techniques, and mostly darker vibes from rock music.


In the late 1990's, the broken rhythms used in breakbeat (2-step, drum and bass...) were quite popular in the UK. However, minimalist music and melodies influenced by funk bass took over dance clubs. The funky, minimalist, German label Playhouse played a determining role in the development of microhouse music and signed on the first famous electro artists and albums. Names such as Losoul, Isolated and Villalobos immediately come to mind with classics released by Playhouse: "Belong" (Losoul, 2000), "Alcachofa" (Ricardo Villalobos, 2003), "Plastik" (Simon Baker)...


British-Canadian electronic musician and DJ, Richie Hawtin moved to Berlin in 2003 after a short stay in New York, with his label Minus, a close-knit collective in electronic music. Launched in 1998, the label quickly became popular for its unique mix of minimal techno, becoming the home base for artists Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle among others. In 2006, Minus was named best electronic music label of the year by Resident Advisor.

London-based record label Border Community, founded by DJ and producer James Holden best represents the evolution from pure techno to house music. Before creating the label, his musical productions were very trance oriented, but with his EP "A Break in the Clouds," he changed his music and built a new and more complex structure. This label presents many projects blending techno and experimental house, similar to the 1990 minimal music in London clubs.

These labels and artists laid the foundation for today’s electro music trends. Their influences are still strongly felt as electronic music is constantly evolving, becoming more popular by reaching a wider audience.