music The Best Experimental Bands/Artists  

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4.0k votes 535 voters 36.6k views 413 items Embed

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
168 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 24
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Scott Walker Pop music, Rock music, Merseybeat

3
79 73
Björk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

4
53 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
21 22
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

6
45 52
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

7
67 79
Satanicpornocultshop is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
StevøPearce added Satanicpornocultshop Dubstep, Electronic music, Ghetto house

8
7 6
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

9
40 47
Swans is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Swans Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

10
15 16
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
GANGSTARABBI added Steve Lieberman Garage punk, Outsider music, Heavy metal

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

14
21 24
Portishead is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Portishead Krautrock, Breakbeat, Folktronica

15
29 34
SAFliper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
SAFliper added SAFliper Glitch, Noise, Experimental - SAFliper is a Portuguese noise and glitch music composer/ producer

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16
29 34
Coil is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Coil Dark ambient, Electronic music, Noise music

17
33 39
Luigi Russolo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Luigi Russolo Experimental music, Avant-garde

18
37 44
Animal Collective is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Animal Collective Psychedelic folk, New Weird America, Electronic music

19
28 33
Klaus Nomi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Klaus Nomi Synthpop, New Wave, Disco

20
24 28
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

21
12 13
Autechre is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Autechre Hip hop music, Minimal techno, Electro

22
8 8
Cluster is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Cluster Krautrock, Electronic music, Experimental music

23
15 17
Diamanda Galás is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Diamanda Galás Gothic rock, No wave, Electronic music

24
15 17
J.G. Thirlwell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
VioletaEspejo added J.G. Thirlwell

25
7 7
Current 93 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Current 93 Dark ambient, Post-industrial music, Neofolk

26
10 11
Nurse with Wound is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Nurse with Wound Dark ambient, Drone music, Industrial music

27
6 6
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Mike Oldfield Synthpop, Rock music, World music

28
21 25
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
DuncanLindsell added David Sylvian New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

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

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30
2 1
Samantha Bouquin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
minamoonstar added Samantha Bouquin

31
17 20
Genesis P-Orridge is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Genesis P-Orridge Psychedelia, Psychedelia, Industrial music

32
5 5
Violent Silence is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
schlurp added Violent Silence Thrash metal, Progressive rock, Art rock

33
8 9
Blixa Bargeld is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Blixa Bargeld Dark ambient, Rock music, Industrial music

34
6 7
Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boy... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boys Experimental music

35
2 2
Faust is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Geoffd99 added Faust Krautrock, Experimental rock, Progressive rock

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
2 2
Keiji Haino is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Keiji Haino Psychedelia, Rock music, Drone music

38
2 2
Peter Blegvad is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Peter Blegvad Experimental rock, Experimental music

39
12 15
Mike Garson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Mike Garson New Wave, Rock music, Jazz

40
12 15
Peter Murphy is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Peter Murphy Gothic rock, Experimental music, Alternative rock

41
8 10
Marc Ribot is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Marc Ribot Electronic music, Experimental music, Alternative rock

42
8 10
Tribes of Neurot is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Tribes of Neurot Dark ambient, Experimental music

43
11 14
The Books is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
The Books Sound collage, Folk music, Electronic music

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44
7 9
Moebius & Plank is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Moebius & Plank Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

45
10 13
Puscifer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Puscifer Trip hop, Rock music, Post-industrial music

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

47
6 8
Boyd Rice is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Boyd Rice Neofolk, Drone music, Industrial music

48
9 12
Fred Frith Guitar Quartet is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Fred Frith Guitar Quartet Experimental music, Contemporary classical music, Free improvisation

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
9 12
Arthur Russell is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Experimental Bands/Artists
Arthur Russell New Wave, Disco, Fusion