Underground electronic music has always been a pulsating force that resonates with authenticity and creativity. Its roots extend deep into various cultures and it continues to thrive in the hidden corners of the global music scene. This unique world has been captured in several fascinating documentaries. Here’s a complete list that you must watch, starting from the most well-known to the lesser-known gems. These films explore various underground electronic music styles, far from the commercial glare of EDM.

1. “Berlin Calling” (2008)

Starring real-life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, “Berlin Calling” is a dramatic portrayal of an electronic musician’s life in Berlin’s techno scene. It’s a fictional story yet provides an authentic glimpse into the city’s vibrant underground culture, capturing club life and the artist’s struggles.

2. “Modulations: Cinema for the Ear” (1998)

A documentary film directed by Iara Lee, “Modulations” charts the evolution of electronic music across genres. It dives into the subcultures of drum ‘n’ bass, ambient, house, and techno, featuring interviews with pioneers like Kraftwerk and Prodigy, unraveling the art of sonic creation.

3. “High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music” (2006)

Gary Bredow’s “High Tech Soul” explores the origins and evolution of techno music in Detroit. It features interviews with legends like Juan Atkins and Derrick May, delving into the social and cultural factors that gave birth to this revolutionary genre.

4. “Paris/Berlin: 20 Years of Underground Techno” (2012)

This documentary by Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins draws connections between the techno scenes of Paris and Berlin over two decades. It explores the cultural exchange, artistic collaboration, and the gritty reality of underground techno culture.

5. “Speaking In Code” (2009)

Directed by Amy Grill, “Speaking In Code” offers a personal look at the global techno scene. Following artists like Modeselektor and Philip Sherburne, it paints an intimate picture of the passion and drive that fuels this thriving underground culture.

6. “Pump Up The Volume: The History of House Music” (2001)

This three-part British documentary explores the history and evolution of house music. It delves into the Chicago club scene, highlighting the social and musical roots, with contributions from seminal figures like Frankie Knuckles.

7. “Real Scenes: Detroit” (2011)

A part of Resident Advisor’s series, this episode focuses on the city where techno was born. It examines Detroit’s industrial landscape, socio-economic challenges, and how these factors shaped the innovative techno culture.

8. “Bassweight” (2008)

Centered on the rise of dubstep in South London, “Bassweight” features interviews with pioneers like Skream and Benga. It captures the energy, creativity, and cultural significance of a genre that started in the UK’s underground.

9. “Never Stop – A Music That Resists” (2017)

This French documentary directed by Jacqueline Caux explores Detroit’s techno scene, focusing on its resilience and creativity. It highlights the genre’s resistance against commercialism and its commitment to innovation.

10. “Sub Berlin: The Story of Tresor” (2008)

Focusing on the legendary club Tresor in Berlin, this documentary by Tilmann Künzel provides insights into the techno movement, featuring interviews with club founders, resident DJs, and patrons, celebrating a key institution in techno history.

11. “Raving Iran” (2016)

Susanne Regina Meures’s “Raving Iran” follows two DJs in Tehran as they navigate the challenges of pursuing techno in a repressive regime. It’s an intimate portrayal of courage, passion, and the universal appeal of music.

12. “Universal Techno” (1996)

Directed by Dominique Deluze, “Universal Techno” investigates the global phenomenon of techno in the ’90s. It connects Detroit, Berlin, and other techno hubs, providing a broad perspective on the genre’s international reach.

13. “Notes on Breakcore” (2005)

A self-produced documentary by breakcore enthusiasts, it explores this underground genre’s ethos, sound, and community. It’s a rare insight into a lesser-known segment of electronic music, capturing its complexity and dedication.

14. “Feiern: Don’t Forget to Go Home” (2006)

Maja Classen’s “Feiern” is a look at Berlin’s 48-hour party scene. It presents raw footage from clubs, after-parties, and personal interviews with clubbers, DJs, and bouncers, providing a candid look at Berlin’s relentless party culture.

15. “I Was There When House Took Over the World” (2017)

This two-part documentary traces the rise of house music from Chicago’s underground to its global takeover. Featuring interviews with key players, it showcases the revolution house music brought to the dance floors.

16. “Slices: Pioneers of Electronic Music Vol. 1 – Richie Hawtin” (2006)

Centered on influential Canadian DJ Richie Hawtin, this documentary captures his innovative approach to techno music. It offers insights into his creative process, live performances, and the impact he’s made on the electronic scene.

17. “The Sound of Belgium” (2012)

Exploring the unique electronic dance scene in Belgium, this film uncovers the rich tapestry of Belgian dance music. It investigates the cultural and historical context that led to the rise of genres like New Beat.

18. “Sunshine & Noir: Art in L.A. – Underground to Overground” (1996)

While not solely focused on music, this documentary showcases the L.A. underground art scene, including the development of the electronic music culture. It’s a broader look at creativity in a city known for its artistic diversity.

19. “Better Living Through Circuitry” (1999)

Directed by Jon Reiss, this film explores the subculture of electronic dance music and rave parties in the United States. It features interviews with Moby, DJ Spooky, and other significant figures, portraying the rave as a utopian ideal.

20. “808” (2015)

Focusing on the Roland TR-808 drum machine, this documentary explores its influence on various genres, including hip-hop and dance music. Featuring artists like Pharrell Williams, it’s a tribute to a machine that defined a musical era.

21. “Maestro” (2003)

Chronicling the birth of the dance music scene in New York City, “Maestro” reveals the underground world of clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft. It’s a historical look at the pioneers and the movement they spearheaded.

22. “Party Monster: The Shockumentary” (1998)

Delving into the wild party scene of New York in the late ’80s and early ’90s, this documentary explores the Club Kids’ culture, a mix of art, drugs, and electronic music that defined a unique era.

23. “Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984–1992” (2018)

Artist Jeremy Deller takes a different approach to document the rise of rave culture in Britain. He engages with a classroom of students, linking rave to politics and social change, offering a unique perspective on dance culture.

24. “Come Rave With Me” (2018)

This documentary directed by Mia Zur-Szpiro explores the importance of community and self-expression within the UK’s underground rave scene. Through interviews and on-location footage, it showcases the inclusivity and freedom of the rave culture.

25. “Beatz – Divergences & Contradictions of Electronic Music” (2014)

This Spanish documentary explores the paradoxes and contradictions in electronic music. Featuring interviews with over 150 artists, it discusses the philosophies and ideals behind the music.

26. “Lost and Sound” (2012)

London-based filmmaker Lindsey Dryden explores the connection between music and hearing, focusing on three individuals with varying levels of hearing loss. It highlights the universal and profound connection people have with music, including electronic genres.

27. “Moog” (2004)

Celebrating the life of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer, this documentary explores the instrument that revolutionized electronic music. It includes interviews with musicians and technicians who share their experiences with the iconic device.

28. “Waveform” (2013)

“Waveform” documents the rise of the Irish electronic music scene, focusing on the people, the music, and the parties. It provides a unique local perspective, showing how global trends in electronic music have manifested in Ireland.

29. “Raw Chicks.Berlin” (2017)

This film by Beate Kunath follows eleven female electronic music artists in Berlin. Through intimate portrayals, it challenges gender stereotypes and provides insight into the creative process of these musicians in the underground scene.

30. “Can You Feel It – How Dance Music Conquered the World” (2018)

This three-part series explores the birth and growth of dance music, focusing on the DJs, producers, clubs, and technology that fueled the revolution. It offers a comprehensive look at how dance music became a global phenomenon.

31. “Vinylmania: When Life Runs at 33 Revolutions Per Minute” (2012)

Directed by Paolo Campana, this documentary is a tribute to vinyl records and their connection to electronic music culture. It explores the obsession DJs and collectors have with vinyl, providing insights into this analog love affair.

32. “Inside House” (2015)

Chronicling the house music scene in South Africa, “Inside House” explores the genre’s rise in a post-apartheid country. It showcases local talent and highlights how house music has become an integral part of South African culture.

33. “Re:Generation Music Project” (2012)

While not solely focused on underground electronic music, this documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev explores the collaboration of DJs and artists from different genres. It showcases how electronic artists can regenerate and reinterpret classical, jazz, and R&B, resulting in a fresh sound.

34. “Losing My Edge: The Rise of the Bedroom Producer” (2021)

A modern exploration of how technology has enabled aspiring electronic musicians to create music from their bedrooms. It features interviews with renowned and upcoming artists, showcasing how the underground scene is continuously fueled by grassroots creativity.

35. “High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music” (2006)

Focusing on Detroit, the birthplace of Techno, this documentary explores the social and political circumstances that led to the emergence of this innovative genre. Interviews with pioneers provide a firsthand account of Techno’s history.

36. “Never Stop – A Music That Resists” (2017)

Centering on the French electronic music scene, this film examines the resilience and evolution of Techno music. Through personal stories and club scenes, it showcases the genre’s cultural impact in France.

37. “Modulations: Cinema for the Ear” (1998)

This film explores the entire spectrum of electronic music, from early experimental sounds to rave culture. It includes interviews with some of the most influential figures in electronic music and is an excellent introduction to the genre.

38. “We Call It Techno! A Documentary About Germany’s Early Techno Scene” (2008)

An in-depth look at Germany’s vibrant Techno scene during the late ’80s and early ’90s, this documentary combines rare footage with interviews to depict a defining era of electronic music in Germany.

39. “Universal Techno” (1996)

Highlighting the transformation of Techno from a subcultural phenomenon to a commercial industry, this film explores the genre’s cultural, social, and economic dynamics. It provides an academic perspective on the Techno movement.

40. “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989” (2015)

While not solely focused on electronic music, this film provides an overview of West Berlin’s art, music, and cultural scene. It includes insights into the emergence of Techno and the rebellious energy of the city.

41. “Sonic Futures: How Technology is Guiding Electronic Music” (2019)

A modern exploration of how technological innovations continue to shape and guide electronic music. Interviews with artists and producers provide insight into the evolving landscape of electronic music production.

42. “The Sound of Sheffield” (2015)

This documentary focuses on the electronic music scene in Sheffield, UK, which played a significant role in the development of various electronic genres. It’s a localized look at the influence of a single city on the global scene.

43. “Put the Needle on the Record” (2004)

Focusing on the Miami Winter Music Conference, this documentary offers a snapshot of the electronic and dance music scene. It captures the excitement, creativity, and community that drives electronic music lovers.


These documentaries, varying in style and subject matter, serve as vital chronicles of the underground electronic music landscape. From personal narratives to socio-cultural explorations, they not only entertain but also educate, shedding light on the multifaceted world of underground electronic music.

Each of these films is a testament to the power of music to transcend boundaries, reflect society, inspire individuals, and foster communities. They are essential viewing for anyone looking to delve deeper into the vibrant, complex, and ever-evolving world of underground electronic music.

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