Mystery Sonic Reducer

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After a prolific decade of music-making, this was the last album recorded by the highly influential foursome that has helped shape the musical landscapes of artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Arcade Fire. Released in 1988, the record frequently incorporates Latin rhythms and, although it produced a couple successful singles, much of the album was indicative of a band struggling to form one of its last creative gasps with trite lyrics and several songs that lack clear direction. The heavy Latin influence surfaced again on the lead singer’s first solo album released a year later. [SM]

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Dance clubs and cruise ships around the world were blue in the face from playing this album’s hit dance single over and over and over again. Now the song in question is taboo from overplay, but that doesn’t stop the closet revelers from moving their bodies behind closed doors. This Italian electronic trio didn’t get its name from a famous European landmark (as it would seem). Rather, it’s a combination of a random word generated by a computer and a portion of a phone number mistakenly scribbled on a demo. With space-themed lyrics and deep house beats, this album is a classic piece of techno history—for better or worse. [AD]

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The source of early ’90s booty bass in every passing lowrider, this classic brought G thangs to the mainstream audience. Explicit lyrics addressing substance abuse and those delicate relationships with the fairer sex marked a turning point for above-ground hip-hop. But the real selling point was the mixture of heavy beats with live instruments, funk and soul. The artist’s brutal and plain delivery built the blueprint every thug with a mic would follow for the next decade and beyond. [MD]

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