1. Alpha Mist – Antiphon
As I was told, the motto of this list is all time favourite home listening records, so I’ll share some of the sound I’m likely to put on at home whenever I take a step back from a day in the studio or coming home from a weekend in clubs.
I rarely listen to electronic club music at home. I want to listen to music that takes me to a different place and a different time far beyond what I would make myself, otherwise I’d feel the itch to follow the slightest trace of inspiration and the relax would be gone.
I’m starting off with this album by Alpha Mist because it happens to be the one that has been playing at home the absolute most during the last years. It will instantly set the mood for relaxing and chilling.
2. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing
My father introduced me to the blues when I was little. But I think even if he dad had never listened to John Lee Hooker or Tom Waits, there would have been no way around discovering it on my own. It just resonates with me.
The sound of Jimi Hendrix is the ultimate congestion of all the elemets I love in music, no matter which genre. The soggy wetness and funky punch of these technically flawless recordings have fascinated me forever. I will never get tired of listening to all the mindbending details in the guitar play and the soothing sizzling of the tube amplifiers in the background. Dusty, warm electricity and drums that sound like they have been pushed down a fight of stairs meet raw creative energy, real emotions and mystery. If you know what I mean. I think it’s perfect.
3. Tom Caruana Presents: Wu Tang Vs The Beatles – C.R.E.A.M.
The phenomenon that is The Wu-Tang Clan gave Hip Hop and Rap music the form I relate to the most to this date. I listen to much of the new rap stuff too. But the energy and the sound of the Wu somehow do a similar thing for me like Janis Joplin or Jimi hendrix do. I just love how the raw imperfections in these productions become a part of the whole package. It would not work without the background noise and the crispness.
When I found Tom Caruana’s Wu Tang Vs The Beatles I could not beleive my ears. What a tribute to the original 36 Chambers. Essentially I have listened to this album over and over again for over 20 years.
4. Roy Davis Jr., Peven Everett – Gabriel
As so often I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but the vibe and the melodies in this just got to me the first time I heard it and it has never stopped to work for me. It contains references to Soul, brings it across House to Garage. This track also happens to be part of the set Four Tet and Floating Points played in the last night at London’s Plastic People. The night I listened to that 6 hour long recording for the first time became one of the most intense listening experiences ever.
5. Cesaria Evora – Angola (Carl Craig Mix)
This has this trippy vibe to it, and sometimes that kind of crossover sound makes a perfect soundtrack for hanging out. However, this remix right here is by carl Craig, who has been one of the biggest inspirations for me in techno music ever since I started. His music sounds dusty and raw, that’s one thing, but it also features the perfect balance between minimalistic layout and machine driven creativity.
So this gem is also a lot more club related than most of the others on this list so far. It’s balancing on a thin line, because while taking me to some place else, it might also get me eyeing my working desk again…
6. Cobblestone Jazz – Dump Truck
This track hits multiple of my nerves at once. It’s pure funk, wild and jazzy. But also club music. That menacing synth crowns the combination. To me, the whole track is bouncy and fun, but that synth sounds like massive speakers, strobes in the dark and smoke. Maybe that perception has something to do with the one time I stumbled in on a Matthew Jonson live set at Berghain, right into the moment when he played his “Return Of The Zombie Bikers”, which has a similar lead synths in it. I did not realise that Matthew Jonson was part of Cobblestone Jazz until later. By then I had already played “Dump Truck” many times in my sets.
7. Issa Juma Super Wanyika Stars – Utalia Na Nani (Who Will You Cry With?)
This is Kenyan rumba. Singer Issa is from Tanzania. But it’s not just about this track, it’s the whole world of African music I want acknowledge here. Fela Kuti should have his own place on my list just like Tony Allen and so many other legends, too. I guess if it wasn’t for their influence, a lot of clubs would be empty and this would be a very short list.
8. Jethro Tull – Bourée
Going back to the music that’s less clubby and takes me to unknown worlds or different dimensions and just lets me ease up so I can forget about my current project for a while. At this point I had to decide wether to post something by Creedence Clearwater Revival or Jethro Tull, but I decided on Jethro Tull because it’s the album ‘Stand Up’ by Jethro Tull I’ve listened to the most. “Bourée” is an adaptation of a piece written by Johann Sebastian Bach. So in a great way, this tune also stands for all the classical music I have listened to.
9. Bobby McFerrin – LIVE Improvisation at The Kennedy Center
The concept of improvisation has always fascinated me. Be it in any acoustic genre or electronic music. I’ve been looking into cracking the code to instant music creation for myself, doing field research by going to jam sessions, listening to Kink sets and jamming with friends in the studio. One of the most intriguing “instruments” is the trained human voice. It’s always there when it’s needed and it’s intuitively connected to the brain of the musician. On the other hand, the singer will gain instant attention amongst the human audience, because their brains instinctively react much more sensitively to human voices than to any other sound.
I also chose to include this clip as a representation of the hours I listen to all sorts of finds on the internet. That could be the sound of singing fish. Or live recordings of vocalists like Bobby McFerrin, who in this clip is creating all the togetherness and joy music can bring while also making it look very easy.
10. Curtis Mayfield – Tripping Out
Some music just makes me smile on the inside and on the outside. Also, this tune sounds like being in love. To be honest, I’m still not sure if all of the wit and sneaky humor I sense in many soul classics was implied intentionally. But I know that’s what good music does, it combines the serious aspects of life with an uplifting spirit. By combining danceable rhythms with melancholic notes it creates this meta-level where sadness and happiness meet for the ultimate music sensation. Now then, I ought go back to my sequencer again, I’ve gotta combine some fun percussions with emotive melodies.
David Mayer – Facts Matter (Connected)
After a successful and creative year that included his Sondela EP alongside Floyd Lavine on Connected, David Mayer is back on his regular label with two more terrific tracks. With an inimitable and floor filling style, this German producer has built a solid reputation over the past decade, from his releases on the Keinemusik label to his most recent standout releases for Ouïe, Objektivity and of course Connected. He returns here with a superb new single that journeys into melodic house territory and again makes a lasting impression. Super opener ‘Facts Matter’ is an enchanting house trip through languid synths and cinematic grooves that has a starry night sky perfectly painted out above. It’s one to get lost in and end up somewhere very different from where you started. Equally classy is ‘Secrets’, another majestic melodic number with sustained chords and glowing keys drawn out over wavy house drums. It’s progressive and poised, emotive and well executed throughout as it rises and falls a number of times over.