1) Vladimir Cosma – Promenade Sentimentale (from Diva OST)
Back in the 80s I had a dream job which not only gave me free access to a recording studio – I could also get free tickets to film screenings. I distinctly remember watching Diva on a rainy Tuesday afternoon and being blown away by the sheer Frenchness of it, it was really like nothing I’d ever seen before. This also sounds like Erik Satie which is fine by me.
2) Faust – Das Meer (alternative)
Faust became well-known amongst the long-haired record buying fraternity of the mid 70s for releasing an album (The Faust Tapes) for the price of a 7” single: 49 pence. (One of Richard Branson’s early marketing wheezes and look where it got him.) Of course I snapped it up and thoroughly devoured it and have been a fan of their crazy grooves with power tool solos and wonderful tape cut-ups ever since. This is them in a more pastoral mood.
3) Norma Tanega – Beautiful Things
I first saw Norma Tanega on an Arena documentary about the 1966 scene in London. There she was in black and white grooving on a Gibson SG and looking impossibly cool in huge earrings and a big smile as she sang “You’re Dead”. Turns out she was in a relationship with Dusty Springfield in the 60s….Anyway I stumbled across her second album (incl. this track) in a mad record warehouse in the Forest of Dean a few months back. It’s not quite up to Walking My Cat Named Dog’s best track “A Street That Rhymes” but well worth a listen.
4) Paddy McAloon – Desire As (acoustic version)
Steve McQueen by Prefab Sprout was a massive record for me in the 80s, well-worn on C90, so I was excited to hear that Paddy McAloon was releasing an acoustic version. Top notch songwriting, brilliant lyrics, still gives me goosebumps.
5) Sapien – Gato de Oro (High Moon mix by Rockers Hi Fi)
This was for some reason the first track that came to mind when I started to compile this set, probably due to the sense of atmosphere, evening, a feeling of dust, sunset, tolling bells etc. Looking back this was the first Rockers remix where we really went to town and let our imaginations run wild, spaghetti-western stylee. I think we’d also just discovered Kruder & Dorfmeister (see below).
6) Dolphin Boy – On the Ceiling
This one takes me back to the days of the Big Chill, especially the one on Naxos in 2002 which was both an amazing family holiday with my partner and kids and a top top party. Playing to people lounging round a perfect turquoise swimming pool drinking iced cocktails…living the dream!
7) Kruder & Dorfmeister – Deep Shit Parts 1&2
This was the first K&D track I ever heard, on my very first trip to San Francisco in 1994. I was super-excited to be in the US, we’d just signed to Island Records and everyone was buzzing. Imagine our delight to learn that they’d written a track called Original Bedroom Rockers.
8) Ma Dukes Orchestra – Hoc N Pucky
9) Ma Dukes Orchestra – Take Notice
A few years ago a friend sat me down to watch the video of the full Suite For Ma Dukes concert – Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s arrangements of Dilla tunes played by a huge orchestra. It is no exaggeration to say it was life-changing. To watch him grooving as he conducts on Youtube is to see someone fully engaged and in love with what he is doing.
10) Abstract Orchestra – Meat Grinder
…and then along came the Abstract Orchestra with their live take on Madvillainy (the Doom/Madlib version definitely being one of my desert island discs). Fantastic stuff. This has the additional reference point of featuring a replayed sample of “Sleeping In A Jar” from the Mothers of Invention’s “We’re Only In It For the Money” which I bought in Memory Lane in Northampton in the mid 70s. My first and possibly favourite Zappa album.
11) Eric Lau – Dedication A, B & C
I’m including this as a short-hand reference to John Peel – massively influential in my formative days plus all the sounds come direct from his record collection (on the Nothing Leaves the Archive EP on First Word Records). Here the abstract beats intersect with jazz samples and set us up nicely for….
12) Tom Trago – Fluorgreen Legged Gangster
I often seem to find that I discover a later “form” of music and then trace it back to the originator; whether it’s a sample on a track that leads me back to the source record or a development in style that points me back in time to where it came from. This track comes from Beat Dimensions on Rush Hour Records and brings back a lot of happy head-nodding memories of evenings in, tripped out instrumental hip hop with a distinctly wonky vibe. Much later I properly got into Madlib and then even later than that Dilla – from whence this stuff really originates.
13) Madlib – The Mystery (Dilla’s Still Here)
So here are a couple of Madlib tracks to just ram him the point; this one a typical collage of spoken word samples and his trademark phat soupy beats, followed by…
14) Madlib – Step Into Tomorrow
From the “… Invades Blue Note” set, his take on Donald Byrd which illustrates how Madlib really gets inside a sample and makes the source material his own.
15) Kraftwerk – Expo 2000
Again with a catalogue like theirs where do you start? This was the first record of theirs I picked up after they re-emerged from the years they spent digitising their entire analogue output (or something) and I just love the way the sound is absolutely perfect and at the same time chilled.
16) Broadcast – Dave’s Dream
Another huge area of music that I have listened to obsessively but can’t really cover here. This is a nod to the stranger end of stuff I dig plus it has some nice library-ish elements (don’t get me started…)
17) Basil Kirchin – Heart of the North
Basil’s music always feels strangely familiar to me even when I’ve never heard it before so I have a theory that it must have been on some early TV shows I saw as a child and was forever imprinted on my psyche. This also has the bonus factoid of being the most expensive record I’d ever bought at the time.
18) Deradoorian – Weed Jam
In my peak Stereolab-sessive days I watched a long and rather dull Youtube interview with Laetitia Sadier (she wasn’t dull but the questions were) in which she namechecked Angel Deradoorian who was doing some gigs with her. I followed this up and found the only two Deradoorian releases which showcase her incredible voice and penchant for minimal beats and Hofner violin bass (also played by Robbie Shakespeare as well as obscure Liverpudlian moptop Paul McCartney).
19) Primal Scream – JU87
How to represent dub in the short time remaining? Well Adrian Sherwood is at the controls and he makes the Scream sound as good as anything that ever came out of Brixton or indeed Kingston so he has my vote….plus he produced (when he was 19 or something) the incredible Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter 3 which is essential dub listening.
20) Round Five – Na Fe Throw It featuring Paul St. Hilaire
…better known as Rhythm & Sound featuring Tikiman, the deepest darkest dub out of Berlin without it ever feeling anything but warm and natural. I particularly love the way this sounds like they’ve literally recorded a noisy phaser pedal onto a track of its own.