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12 Must-Watch Documentaries Unveiling the Soul of Electronic Music

For the music aficionados out there, are you ready to dive deep into the pulsating heart of electronic music? Get your popcorn ready and clear your schedule because we're about to take you on a cinematic journey through some of the most captivating documentaries that explore the world of electronic beats, synths, and culture.
Note that this list is, of course, non-exhaustive and is set to give you a nice glimpse.

"I Dream of Wires":

Ever wondered about the origins and evolution of the synthesizer? Look no further than "I Dream of Wires." This documentary delves into the fascinating history of these iconic instruments, from their humble beginnings to their undeniable impact on modern music. With interviews from legendary artists and synthesizer pioneers, this film is a must-watch for anyone curious about the inner workings of electronic soundscapes.


Prepare to be transported back in time to the birth of a musical revolution with "808." This documentary chronicles the iconic Roland TR-808 drum machine and its profound influence on hip-hop, pop, and electronic music. Through interviews with industry legends and archival footage, "808" offers a captivating glimpse into the machine that changed the course of musical history.

"Daft Punk Unchained":

Join the enigmatic duo on a journey through their meteoric rise to fame in "Daft Punk Unchained." This documentary provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at the iconic French electronic duo, from their humble beginnings in the underground scene to their legendary performances at some of the world's biggest music festivals. With exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage, "Daft Punk Unchained" is a must-watch for fans of electronic music.

"What We Started":

Brace yourself for an epic tale of electronic music's past, present, and future with "What We Started." This documentary follows the journey of two electronic music icons – Carl Cox and Martin Garrix – as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of the dance music industry. From the underground rave scene to the glitzy world of EDM superstars, "What We Started" offers a comprehensive look at the evolution of electronic music.

"Berlin Calling":

Immerse yourself in the vibrant techno scene of Berlin with "Berlin Calling." This fictionalized documentary follows the journey of a struggling DJ as he navigates the highs and lows of life in the German capital. With its pulsating soundtrack and gritty portrayal of Berlin's underground club scene, "Berlin Calling" captures the raw energy and infectious spirit of electronic music like no other.

"Pump Up the Volume: The History of House Music":

Step into the vibrant world of house music with "Pump Up the Volume." This seminal documentary chronicles the rise of house music from its humble beginnings in Chicago's underground club scene to its global domination. Featuring interviews with pioneers like Frankie Knuckles and Larry Heard, "Pump Up the Volume" offers an intimate look at the cultural impact and enduring legacy of house music.

"Paris Is Burning":

Experience the intersection of music, fashion, and LGBTQ+ culture in "Paris Is Burning." While not exclusively about house music, this documentary captures the spirit of New York City's underground ballroom scene, where house music served as the soundtrack to extravagant voguing competitions. Through mesmerizing performances and candid interviews, "Paris Is Burning" celebrates the creativity and resilience of a community that found liberation on the dance floor.

"The House That Chicago Built":

Take a deep dive into the birthplace of house music with "The House That Chicago Built." This documentary explores the cultural and social factors that gave rise to the genre in Chicago during the 1980s. From the legendary clubs of The Warehouse to the innovative sounds of artists like Marshall Jefferson and Frankie Knuckles, "The House That Chicago Built" pays homage to the city's enduring contribution to electronic music.

"Modulations: Cinema for the Ear":

Brace yourself for a mind-bending exploration of electronic music's evolution with "Modulations." This groundbreaking documentary takes viewers on a sonic odyssey through various electronic music genres, including techno and trance. Featuring interviews with legendary artists like Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin, "Modulations" offers a comprehensive look at the cultural impact and technological innovations that have shaped the electronic music landscape.

"High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music":

Delve into the birthplace of techno with "High Tech Soul." This documentary chronicles the origins of the genre in Detroit during the 1980s, exploring its roots in African American culture and its emergence as a global phenomenon. From the pioneering sounds of Juan Atkins and Derrick May to the underground rave scene of the Motor City, "High Tech Soul" celebrates techno's revolutionary spirit and enduring legacy.

"Better Living Through Circuitry":

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of electronic music culture with "Better Living Through Circuitry." While not exclusively focused on techno and trance, this documentary offers a kaleidoscopic view of the electronic music scene in the 1990s, including its impact on rave culture and underground dance parties. Featuring interviews with artists like Moby and The Chemical Brothers, "Better Living Through Circuitry" captures the essence of a transformative era in electronic music history.


"Underplayed" shines a stark light on the persisting gender disparities within the music industry, particularly evident in festival and club line-ups. Through the voices of renowned artists like Rezz, Nightwave, and Sherelle, the documentary uncovers the systemic challenges faced by women, from being sidelined in studios to enduring online harassment and threats. Despite initiatives like Keychange, the film underscores the long journey ahead towards achieving true equality. It's a wake-up call for promoters, venue owners, artists, and music enthusiasts alike

Get ready to expand your musical horizons and gain a newfound appreciation for the electrifying sounds of electronic music, whether it’s House, Techno, Trance or other genres. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a curious newcomer, these documentaries offer a captivating glimpse into the origins, evolution, and cultural significance of some of the most influential genres in electronic music history. So, grab your snacks, dim the lights, and let the beats transport you to the heart of the dance floor!

(credit images: Berlin Calling, Modulations, Better Living Through Circuitry)

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