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music The Best Experimental Bands/Artists  

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Unlike other musical genres, anything that experimental bands do is unpredictable. Whether that's by nature, by training or just something they enjoy doing, experimental artists know how to push the envelope on what their fans consume sonically and their songs generally challenge the convention of even what loyal fans can predict will happen. The bands on this list are generally of the pop and rock music variety. Many of the experimental bands and experimental artists are on here for their willingness to change song structure, fuse genres and use instruments and sounds that weren't well known or even thought of in the same way.

So, what are the best experimental bands and experimental artists? You've probably heard of the experimental music artists that are in the top half of this list. David Bowie, Bjork, Animal Collective, Frank Zappa and Peter Murphy are names associated with experimental music. These artists have all challenged their listeners by releasing music that isn't conventional and thus, have actually become more beloved by their fans.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best experimental bands. If you notice that a band isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best experimental music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest experimental music musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular experimental music bands that you might've heard of. (413 items)
list ordered by

1
+ - 164 62
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

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2
+ - 34 23
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Scott Walker Pop music, Rock music, Merseybeat

3
+ - 78 72
Björk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

4
+ - 52 55
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

5
+ - 45 52
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

6
+ - 67 79
Satanicpornocultshop is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Satanicpornocultshop Dubstep, Electronic music, Ghetto house

7
+ - 7 6
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

8
+ - 40 47
Swans is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Swans Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

9
+ - 15 16
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Steve Lieberman Garage punk, Outsider music, Heavy metal

10
+ - 19 21
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

11
+ - 18 20
Tuxedomoon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Tuxedomoon New Wave, Experimental music, Punk rock

12
+ - 26 30
Psychic TV is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Psychic TV Acid house, Electronic music, Post-industrial music

13
+ - 5 4
Violent Silence is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Violent Silence Thrash metal, Progressive rock, Art rock

14
+ - 13 14
Throbbing Gristle is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Throbbing Gristle Noise rock, Dark ambient, Electronic music

15
+ - 17 19
Genesis P-Orridge is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Genesis P-Orridge Psychedelia, Psychedelia, Industrial music

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16
+ - 21 24
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
David Sylvian New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

17
+ - 21 24
Portishead is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Portishead Krautrock, Breakbeat, Folktronica

18
+ - 29 34
Coil is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Coil Dark ambient, Electronic music, Noise music

19
+ - 29 34
SAFliper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
SAFliper Glitch, Noise, Experimental - SAFliper is a Portuguese noise and glitch music composer/ producer

20
+ - 33 39
Luigi Russolo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Luigi Russolo Experimental music, Avant-garde

21
+ - 37 44
Animal Collective is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Animal Collective Psychedelic folk, New Weird America, Electronic music

22
+ - 28 33
Klaus Nomi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Klaus Nomi Synthpop, New Wave, Disco

23
+ - 24 28
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

24
+ - 12 13
Autechre is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Autechre Hip hop music, Minimal techno, Electro

25
+ - 8 8
Cluster is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Cluster Krautrock, Electronic music, Experimental music

26
+ - 15 17
J.G. Thirlwell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists

27
+ - 15 17
Diamanda Galás is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Diamanda Galás Gothic rock, No wave, Electronic music

28
+ - 7 7
Current 93 is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Current 93 Dark ambient, Post-industrial music, Neofolk

29
+ - 2 1
Nina Hagen is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Nina Hagen New Wave, Gothic rock, Opera

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30
+ - 8 9
Blixa Bargeld is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Blixa Bargeld Dark ambient, Rock music, Industrial music

31
+ - 6 7
Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boy... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boys Experimental music

32
+ - 9 11
Nurse with Wound is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Nurse with Wound Dark ambient, Drone music, Industrial music

33
+ - 2 2
Faust is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Faust Krautrock, Experimental rock, Progressive rock

34
+ - 2 2
Peter Blegvad is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Peter Blegvad Experimental rock, Experimental music

35
+ - 2 2
Keiji Haino is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Keiji Haino Psychedelia, Rock music, Drone music

36
+ - 2 2
Medeski Martin & Wood is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Medeski Martin & Wood Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

37
+ - 12 15
Peter Murphy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Peter Murphy Gothic rock, Experimental music, Alternative rock

38
+ - 12 15
Mike Garson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Mike Garson New Wave, Rock music, Jazz

39
+ - 5 6
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Mike Oldfield Synthpop, Rock music, World music

40
+ - 8 10
Marc Ribot is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Marc Ribot Electronic music, Experimental music, Alternative rock

41
+ - 8 10
Tribes of Neurot is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Tribes of Neurot Dark ambient, Experimental music

42
+ - 11 14
The Books is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
The Books Sound collage, Folk music, Electronic music

43
+ - 7 9
Moebius & Plank is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Moebius & Plank Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

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44
+ - 10 13
Puscifer is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Puscifer Trip hop, Rock music, Post-industrial music

45
+ - 6 8
Boyd Rice is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Boyd Rice Neofolk, Drone music, Industrial music

46
+ - 6 8
Julia Holter is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists

47
+ - 9 12
Fred Frith Guitar Quartet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Fred Frith Guitar Quartet Experimental music, Contemporary classical music, Free improvisation

48
+ - 9 12
Arthur Russell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Arthur Russell New Wave, Disco, Fusion

49
+ - 9 12
Thurston Moore is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Thurston Moore Noise rock, No wave, Experimental rock

50
+ - 2 3
Grotus is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Grotus Experimental rock, Industrial rock, Experimental music