The Best Minimalist Electronic Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best minimalist electronic music? Look no further than this blog! We’ll recommend the best artists and tracks for your listening pleasure.


Minimalist music is a genre of music that is characterized by minimalism, which is a style that uses simplicity and repetition. In minimalist music, there is often a focus on rhythm and texture over melody and harmony. This type of music can be found in various genres, including electronic music.

There are many different artists who have created minimalist electronic music. Some of the more well-known artists include Brian Eno, Steve Reich, and Phillip Glass. Minimalist electronic music often uses synthesizers,samplers, and drum machines to create its sound. This type of music can be trance-like and hypnotic, or it can be more upbeat and energetic. It often has a repetitive quality that can make it quite relaxing to listen to.

What is Minimalist Electronic Music?

Minimalist electronic music is a type of music that is characterized by its use of minimal musical elements. It is often created by using a small number of musical instruments, and it often features repetitive melodic or percussive patterns. This type of music is often used in film soundtracks, video game soundtracks, and Ambient music.

The Birth of Minimalism

In the late 1950s, a group of American composers studying under Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti began to develop a new minimalist style of music. These composers, who came to be known as the New York school, included Terry Riley, John Cage, La Monte Young, and Philip Glass. They were influenced by Eastern music, jazz, and European avant-garde classical music.

The New York school composers created works that were based on repetition and stasis. These works often had a hypnotic quality and were meant to be experienced over extended periods of time. The pieces could be performed by either traditional instruments or by new electronic instruments that the composers themselves had developed.

One of the most important pieces of early minimalist music is Riley’s “In C,” which was composed in 1964. “In C” is based on a simple repeating musical figure that is repeated for an indeterminate amount of time. The piece can be performed by any combination of instruments and can last for any length of time.

“In C” was hugely influential for subsequent minimalist composers like Glass and Steve Reich. Reich’s 1968 composition “It’s Gonna Rain” is based on a similar repetition principle as “In C.” In both cases, the forward momentum of the music is created by the accretion of small changes in the repeated figure over time.

The Development of Minimalism

Minimalism in music was originally a reaction against the perceived excesses of the previous era’s music, such as the bombastic orchestral works of Liszt and Wagner. In the middle of the 20th century, composers such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass were creating works that explored repetition and stasis. These composers were associated with the New York Downtown Scene and often staged their works in lofts and art galleries. In The Crest of the Wave: Music in the Twentieth Century, Wilfrid Mellers writes that minimalism is “thefruit of a selectively perceptive musical sensibility bombardeds daily by an overload of noise and an avalanche of sequences.” Mellers goes on to say that minimalism is characterized by an “austere economy of gesture” which Pathétique describes as “a stripping away of clutter.”

In 1967, La Monte Young wrote The Well-Tuned Piano, a work for solo piano which explores just intonation tunings. This work consists of long sustained tones which gradually shift in pitch. The Well-Tuned Piano became one of the most influential works in minimalism; its slow pace and meditative quality influenced subsequent minimalist composers such as Riley and Reich.

In 1968, Terry Riley released his iconic work In C,consisting of 53 short melodic phrases which are to be repeated for as long as desired by the performers. In C is often credited with being the first minimalist composition; its static harmonies and repetitive melodic phrases influenced subsequent minimalist composers such as Philip Glass.

In 1975, Steve Reich released his composition Drumming,consisting of four pianos and seven percussionists playing phase shifting rhythms. This work explores phasing, a technique whereby two identical rhythms are played slightly out-of-sync with each other; as the piece progresses, the two rhythms move further and further out-of-phase with each other until they come back into alignment. Drumming was a seminal work in minimalism; its pulsating rhythms would come to define the aesthetic of minimalism.

Minimalist music is often associated with repetitive structures and static harmony; however, not all minimalist music conforms to these characteristics. As historian Simon Reynolds points out in his book Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, many early techno tracks from Detroit – such as Derrick May’s “Strings of Life” – were actually quite complex in terms of their structure and harmony. Reynolds writes that these tracks “used repetition not so much as hypnotic trance inducer but rather as keep-fit device…as means to explore new melodic possibilities within tight rhythmic frameworks.” It was only later – with artists such as Aphex Twin and Autechre – that minimalism in electronic music came to be defined by its simplicity.

The Aesthetic of Minimalism

Minimalist music, minimalist composition or minimalism, is a genre or style of music based on small, efficient use of musical materials. This style of music is often repetitive and focuses on simple melodies with few harmonies. In the early 2010s, the term “minimalist” was used to describe a new form of art music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This type of music is based on the use of simple elements such as pitches, rhythms, harmonies and timbres.

The term “minimalist” was first used to describe a new style of art music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This type of music is based on the use of simple elements such as pitches, rhythms, harmonies and timbres. The aesthetic of minimalism is characterized by simplicity, repetition and elegance. Minimalist electronic music often makes use of synthetic sounds and processed samples. It is often classified as ambient or experimental electronic music.

The Best Minimalist Electronic Music

There are many different types of electronic music, but one of the most popular genres is minimalist electronic music. This type of music is known for its clean, simple sounds and its lack of vocals. Minimalist electronic music is perfect for relaxing or working, and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Aphex Twin – “Polynomial-C”

Formally known as Richard D. James, Aphex Twin is one of the most renowned and prolific electronic musicians of our time. “Polynomial-C” is a beautiful and minimalist track off his 1995 album …I Care Because You Do. The music video, created by Weirdcore, is a perfect visual representation of the ebb and flow of the music.

Autechre – “Gantz Graf”

Often imitated but never equaled, Autechre are the standard-bearers for minimalism in electronic music. On “Gantz Graf”, from their 2001 album Confield, they make use of stuttering rhythms and melodies to create a track that is both eerie and oddly beautiful.

Boards of Canada – “Music Has the Right to Children”

This album is an undisputed classic, and it’s easy to see why. The music is soothing and comforting, with just the right amount of eeriness thrown in to keep things interesting. It’s the perfect album to put on when you need to relax, but don’t want to fall asleep.

Burial – “Untrue”

Burial’s “Untrue” is the perfect example of minimalism in electronic music. The song builds slowly, with a simple beat and Burial’s signature distorted vocal samples. The result is a haunting, atmospheric track that is both emotionally resonant and danceable.

Fennesz – “Endless Summer”

Fennesz’s “Endless Summer” is the best minimalist electronic music composition I have ever heard. It is a perfect example of how less can indeed be more.

The Austrian composer and musicianChristian Fennesz uses his modular synthesizer and laptop computer to create music that is both beautiful and emotionally resonant. “Endless Summer” is a gorgeous ambient piece that evokes both the heat of summer days and the nostalgia of childhood summers.

Fennesz has said that he tries to create music that makes people feel something, and he certainly succeeds with “Endless Summer.” This is a piece that will stay with you long after you’ve finished listening to it.


After listening to and considering a variety of electronic music, we have come to the conclusion that the best minimalist electronic music is a matter of personal preference. Different people will enjoy different styles and genres of music, and there is no single “best” type of music.

However, we would recommend minimalism for those who enjoy music that is clean, sparse, and focused on melody and atmosphere. If you like your music to be complex and layered with lots of different sounds and textures, minimalism may not be for you. But if you enjoy simplicity and beauty in your music, give it a try!

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