The Orb – Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
Pretty much a game changer for me, as it was probably the first ‘ambient’ album that I ever got lost inside. Alex Patterson and Thrash go on a journey beyond the Ultraworld, with a sprawling, trip and psychedelic ride from Gaia to the Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain…. Pure genius improvisation and a collage of colourful, cinematic sound, and always a huge influence on my music.
Dub Syndicate – Strike The Balance (On-U Sound)
My favourite Dub Syndicate album by a country mile, Adrian Sherwood’s production skills were on fire for this one, from the Big Sherman’s ‘Mafia’, resplendent with metallic vocoded vocals, the the hypnotising dub of ‘Hey Ho’’ and the good time skank of ‘Cuss Cuss’ , this album distills everything about On-U Sound that I love.
Various Artists – Andrew Weatherall’s Nine O’Clock Drop (Nuphonic)
The compilation album plays just as much a part in my collection as full length artist albums. Andrew Weatherall, for 2000’s ‘Nine O’Clock Drop’ put together an absolute first class selection of early synth-pop, new wave and dub tunes. Already being a huge fan of the reggae tracks here (Aswad’s Warrior Chant, taken from the Babylon soundtrack, and Colourbox’s Western Dub epic ‘Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse’), Weatherall tapped me into such other gems and oddities as 23 Skidoo’s ‘Coup’ and ‘Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight’. A genre busting collection of daring and unique music.
Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe (XL Recordings)
Such a heartfelt and rich album from Bobby Womack, brought back to the masses, firstly through the Gorillaz single ‘Style’ and then ultimately with this long player. I love the production vibe that Richard Russell and Damon Albarn brought to this, so simple yet thoroughly modern, and really letting Womack’s, at times, frail, vocals just ooze through, and a very touching album to bow out on, with his passing in 2014.
he Clash – The Clash
Quite simply, the album that ignited the spark for me. Having discovered the Clash a year or so after their split, initially with the Combat Rock album, I pretty much went all in with the punk spirit, and especially the DIY approach that The Clash, and many other bands of the time, played a hand in. The first Clash album is pure incendiary, a short, sharp shock to the senses, and if ever there’s an album to kick start your day and fire your belly with energy and attitude, this is it.
Steve Reich – Music For 18 Musicians
A masterclass in minimalism from Steve Reich, with cyclic loops of chords, rich with harmonies and melodies, and a pure hypnotising, luscious and beautiful piece of work that rewards with every play. I definitely took inspiration from Reich on the opening track of the ‘Return To Telepathic Heights’.
FUSE – Dimension Intrusion (Plus 8)
I see that this has recently received the anniversary re-issue treatment, and quite rightly so. Richie Hawtin’s stunning album ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to techno music. Soaked in reverb, spacious and dreamy, even when the BPMs ramp up on something like ‘Train Tracs’, it’s absolutely perfect techno to my ears.
Inner Life – Make It Last Forever (Larry Levan Remix) (Salsoul)
This has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion, Larry Levan builds and builds this classic Patrick Adams produced, Jocelyn Brown vocal stormer. It’s so drenched in a kind of sadness, no wonder it was the last record ever played at Levan’s Paradise Garage. 13 minutes of pure gold. Those strings! That bass! That vocal!
Nuyorican Soul – Nuyorican Soul
This album from Louie Vega, Kenny Dope, and an assortment of first class players and singers, has really stood the test of time . Sounds as timeless and vital as it did when it was first released, serving up house beats alongside the blues, jazz, soul, disco and hip-hop. The George Benson lead ‘You Can Do It (Baby)’ is a highly seductive jam that always hits the sweet spot.
Steely Dan – Aja
The masterpiece that is ‘Aja’ by Steely Dan, it’s quite simply one of the most sophisticated albums of all time. The musicianship and production here is first class, with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker crafting out intelligent, catchy, witty and funky jazz pop rock. So many gems on here from ‘Deacon Blues’ , ‘Josie’ and ‘Black Cow’. I finally was able to see the Dan live last year in London, minus Becker who had just passed, and they delivered this music in style.
A Sagittariun – Return To Telepathic Heights (Running Back Incantations)
Released on Gerd Janson’s Running Back Incantations label, A Sagittariun’s third album chronicles the journey back to Telepathic Heights; an expedition that encounters many obstacles along the way. The feuding parties of the two planets make for a journey of determination and self-discovery for our techno lone ranger that will ultimately deliver him to the sacred site on which Telepathic Heights stands. Conceived as a space western soundtrack to the cinematic interpretation of this tale, Return To Telepathic Heights delivers ten chapters that journal the ultimate mission to reach the imposing tower of Telepathic Heights, where dream telepathy has become the primary communicative tool amongst its peaceful and harmonious community who have opted out of the planetary war that continues to rage, seemingly with no armistice anytime soon. The score fittingly winds its way through the trials and tribulations of this journey, blending minimal and harmonic rhythms, industrial funk, dreamy
A Sagittariun – Return To Telepathic Heights (Running Back Incantations) Release: 7th June 2019 Cat No: RBINC004LP Format: Vinyl LP / digital