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    18. Tim Gane—Stereolab

    London, England’s Stereolab were led by a guitarist, but listening to them you’d never guess that. Over ten albums for independent labels (though often backed by Elektra), Gane generally makes his guitar playing just one element in Stereolab’s wash of droning keyboards, bass, motorik drums and girls singing in perfect harmony or describing their progressive politics in French. Not that anyone can blame him; after devising a formula this awesome, few sensible musicians would be looking for an opportunity to cut a gnarly solo. In instances where Gane’s guitar is the focal point of a song, it generally recalls the Velvets at their most languid, like on “Avant Garde M.O.R.” off The Groop Played Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, or Neu! at its noisiest, like on “Jenny Ondioline” off Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements.