Plaid – Ralome
‘Ralome’ is all about that beautiful melody that kicks in at 1:49. The first time I listened to Rest Proof Clockwork, this melody played through my head continuously as I slept. It’s just an amazing piece of music, with the beautiful melody overlaid with the gentle brush percussion. For me, the space and vibe of this track is the highlight of the post-Clear Records Plaid catalog.
Annie Hall – Demerger At Random
Annie Hall’s tracks often thread a path between challenging avant-garde and dance floor accessibility. Her track ‘Demerger At Random’ is a great example of this, and is a study in rising and lowering tension and release. It makes for great connective tissue in a DJ set, but also works as the soundtrack for kicking back in the afterglow of a night out.
Einstürzende Neubauten – Fiat Lux A, Fiat Lux B, Maifestspiele, (Hirnlego)
‘Haus Der Lüge’ is one of my all-time favorite albums, and the bulk of the second side is made up of the four song suite ‘Fiat Lux.’ Fiat Lux A and Fiat Lux B both capture that post party feeling of the calm that settles in the early morning hours as the waves of excitement and adrenaline have subsided and everyone is in that ‘naked lunch’ moment of knowing exactly what’s on the end of their fork and that we’re gearing back up to face the day to day world again. Hirnlego is a bit of a shock awake after the droning and semi-musique concrete of Maifestspiele… if someone’s paying attention to the stereo… try to grab it before Hirnlego kicks in.
Dykehouse – Map Ref. 41° N 93° W
This is one of a couple covers on my list… although it might be more of a cover of a cover, since the Dykhouse version of Wire’s Map Ref. 41° N 93° W owes more to My Bloody Valentine’s version than to Wire’s original. In either case, the shoe gaze, fuzz tone, droning version that appeared on Ghostly’s Idol Tryouts compilation is my favorite version of this fantastic song. It rounds off the edges of the other two, which normally I wouldn’t go for, but somehow this lets the sound just flow.
Angélique Kidjo – Born Under Punches
Angélique Kidjo’s reinterpretation of this Talking Heads classic injects a power and confidence that would have been suspect in the original. It blew me away as soon as I heard it and when I learned there was a whole track for track cover album of Remain in Light, I picked it up immediately. It’s become a road trip standard for me.
Ian Pooley feat. Esthero – Balmes (A Better Life)
This just sounds like summer to me. Esthero’s vocals really mesh with Ian Pooley’s ‘Balmes’ — it’s got that string groove, the wandering bass line, and jazzy electric piano and marimba… I have a great memory of seeing Esthero on the Breath from Another tour (when the name Esthero referred to a band/project) in Detroit at St. Andrew’s hall with a friend who is, very sadly, no longer with us. This is just such a warm tune and reminds me of an important friend, so it’s on the list.
New Signal – Steppenwolf
This is a really personal one. It’s a great piece of purist Detroit techno, but it was also produced by a friend who was one of the first people to really help me out and support me when I was beginning to get more serious about my own music and production. He even loaned me a 909 back in the day that had once belonged to Jeff Mills (it had a little happy facer sticker in the corner on its face).
A Guy Called Gerald – Finley’s Rainbow
I came to techno and house as a Midwestern kid who came up through electro, punk, and industrial. Hardcore, jungle, and those kinds of breaks hadn’t really spoken to me. I spent a couple weeks in 1994 helping out Laura Gavoor in the offices of Transmat. She pushed ‘Black Secret Technology’ on me and that kind of opened me up to Drum and Bass. I’d know A Guy Called Gerald for his tracks with 808 State and, obviously, Voodoo Ray, etc… but here was some DnB that I made sense within my Detroit-centric paradigm… and that lead to an appreciation for wider DnB for me… Roni Size, Photek, Doc Scott, Goldie.
Intermix – Targeted
I have to slide some CanCon in on this list. Intermix was a Frontline Assembly side project from about the same time as what is probably FLA’s strongest album, Tactical Neural Implant. The Intermix release drops a lot of the trappings of the main industrial project and delivers something closer in style to Enigma. Targeted is a bit less Enigma-affected than some of other cuts on the release and settles into a bass stab-driven house groove over a simple break beat and what sound like synth ‘scratching’ and lush pads. Apparently, the production for the Intermix release was done before Tactical Neural Implant, and you can hear the influence of Intermix on tracks like The Blade and Outcast on the FLA album.
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 Disk 1 Track 3 (aka Rhubarb)
Party’s over. Go get some good sleep.
JGarrett’s Proximity is out 01/10 on Gobsmacked