10 Pieces of Music that Totally changed me (One way or another lol)
I wrote this because I found myself thinking about what records or pieces of music really changed me. not the ones I love the best (although there is crossover) or the ones that are the coolest or whatever but the ones that, when i look back, I can say “right there, something changed”. I thought you might enjoy….But if not, errr, I heard Gammer is doing something? I dunno. Buy a horse.
This is actually the very first bit of music I remember. I was a child when I heard it, and I remember being at my friend Stuart Clark’s house. We listened to it over and over again and danced around like the little kids we were. I had not thought about it until I thought of this article, and had not listened to it for years, so it was very strange to hear it again. Could this be the reason I like electronic music even to this day? According to the You Tube comments, this wasnt the first version of it, but it is the version i heard.
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
Despite my career, I would not say I came from a musical family. I can recall my mum having and occasionally playing a Cliff Richard tape, but thats not really music ha ha! I grew up with my mum and step dad, and it was a great childhood, very happy. Just not…musical. i also saw my biological father a number of times a year, which was also brilliant. He was also not huge on music, but he did like both classical and country. So he would play the radio, and I would hear both this track and “Coward Of The County” by Kenny Rogers. Both of these pieces are basically storytelling in music form, and I loved them. Now that I think of it, my two main loves musically are: Electronic music, but I usually prefer tracks with no vocals, and folk styled music with something to say. So thats…interesting…
Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
Of course, I also like a bit of jungle here and there, so is it weird that this is maybe the first record I bought with my own money? In the UK, at this time, raggae was having a bit of a time in the spotlight, – I have fond memories of Eddie Grant and Bob Marley videos etc being on Top of the Pops. But this track got to number one, and stayed there for months. Man, this video is awful. It has not stood the test of time. And the song hasn’t done much better lol. But I played this so much as a kid, I wore the record out. Although, that might have been because my Grandad’s stereophonic polygramaphone machine had a needle like a nail.
Ice-T – Reckless
So maybe my current music taste is based on all the things from my youth combined? These first 4 tracks all massively influenced me, and they all occurred before I had any real access to the music of the world – they were all tracks that came at me through the normal channels – parents, friends, TV, and movies, and before I ever actively searched for what I liked to hear.
I heard this on Breakdance the Movie and have loved hip hop ever since. For many years, hip hop was ALL I listened to, all I bought. This record started me off, but throughout my school years, I was buying first the hip hop that got in the UK charts – Whistle “Im Only Buggin” and Doug-E-Fresh “The Show” and the like. It was all I could get. But as I got older, I found stores that sold Public Enemy and EPMD and Eric B & Rakim etc, and eventually found other stores that would sell imported vinyl from the USA. By that point, I was into hip hop of life. Although, yeah, when i say life, I kinda mean until 1990 when rave came around. My love for it continued through the 90’s, and even into the 2000’s, but I am not so keen on the current blah version of hip hop. but maybe thats because it doesn’t combine the magic elements – electronic music and meaningful lyrics. I like to hear stories, of the street or on a philosophical bent, or about personal feelings. Mumble rap doesn’t count and “guns, drugs, ho’s and also, I am the bestest rapper person” also got a bit tired a few decades ago lol
M.A.R.R.S – Pump Up The Volume
It was a tough choice between this and Erik B & Rakims “Paid In Full” (Coldcut Remix). I cant remember which one I heard first, but as Paid In Full is still hip hop, lets go with this. Both records used random sampling, but Pump Up The Volume was really new to my ears when i heard it. What was it even? It got in the UK pop charts, which is how I heard of it, and I was blown away. This record made NO sense at all. It was part of a wave of “house” (?) records that were all just mad. This, Steve Silk Hurley’s “Jack Ya Body”, Simon Harris’s “Bass, How Low Can You Go” and various others, all that used a sampler to make these random collection of samples into actual music. Again, the impact in my career is obvious and I remain a lover of all things bonkers and random. But still, this changed things for me…suddenly “dance” music was a thing, an interesting thing, when all i had ever loved before was hip hop.
Quadraphonia – Quadraphonia
Finally we move into the world of rave. Too many to choose from, but this track is one of my most vivd early rave memories. Hearing it at Club Labrynth the first time I went. It introduced me to the whole scene, even though I had heard bits and pieces, and with its rap section, this was like the logical progression for me as far as music went. it had all the things I loved – it was fast, noisey, had random samples, had hip hop influences, and best of all, it was EPIC. i have always loved dramatic music, and this track is both triumphant and tough and unrelenting and underground. Or was, for the time at least.
Smart Es – Sesames Treet
This is, of course, a list of the records that changed my life and my musical direction – how could this not be in here? But there is nothing new to say about it, other than before it, I was a huge fan of hardcore, but I did not really contribute to the scene, and after it, i was 100% involved and have been ever since
Hyper On Experience – Lord Of The Null Lines
Again, if you know me at all, there is not much to add to this entry. As an artist, I did not have any real…direction…musically. I loved elements of everything listed above, but it was only after hearing this, and earlier H.O.E tracks, that I understood there were levels of technical ability, and music was not always about how well it worked on the dance floor, but also about so many other things. I remain an artist and a person who is fascinated by technical cleverness, whether it is a youtube video by Cyriak or Aphex Twins musical car crashes or you name it…but that fascination, birthed with early tracks such as “Pump up The Volume” turned into an obsession with the work from H.O.E, and contemporay artists who were maybe not so clever, but were just as inventive – Sublove, Automation, etc….
Nine Inch Nails – Closer (Se7en OST)
All of these pieces of music are bridges to the next, its all about the touchstones that lead to the next progression. I paraphrase Bruce Lee “There are no peaks, just plateaus, but you must not stay there”.
So it is that I went to see the movie Se7en when it came out, and I found it profoundly disturbing – nothing good happens to anyone, and then it ends on a bum note. But what impressed me the most was the opening credits – before Se7en, movies did not have the clever opening sequences we see nowadays on pretty much every movie and show. They just had credits on a black screen or quietly over the opening of the film. But this sequence? And this music? I came out of the theatre thinking “what the fuck did I just watch?”. The music was just a random collection of screeches and rewinds and static, and it was incredible. My initial thought was “I need to sample that” but….what was it? No internet meant tracking it down was very difficult, but eventually I found out it was Nine Inch Nails, and from the album “The Downward Spiral”. This was a little misleading – sure, Closer is on there, but it is not the same version by any means. Still, the “damage” was done. I listened to that album on a CD listening post in a store in Australia, and it was like a whole new window opened in my mind, and whole new world to discover. Rock music could be like this? With samples and techno noises and incredible lyrics that actually spoke to me? Sure, I loved hip hop, but I was not a gangster from LA, I was not black, I totally empathised, but I did not experience that world. However, NIN spoke directly to the parts of me that no music had ever represented before. And I loved it. From there on out, I tracked down every Nine Inch Nails related thing, acts they worked with (Marilyn Manson) and people who influenced them…on and on…which brought me to…
Leonard Cohen – The Future
My insatiable appetite for all things NIN led me to the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers – because Trent Reznor put it together, and the film was pretty amazing for its time as well. The album was inspirational in the way it combined all different styles of music with samples and sound effect – the soundtrack is, in many ways, a musical version of the film. And there are two Leonard COhen songs on there, both of which fascinated me. Lyrically, they stood apart from everything I had heard before, and the style was…simialr…sort of…to some of the country music my dad liked. But that music never had lyrics like “give me crack, anal sex…” or “Im the little jew, who wrote the bible”. Obsessive as I was (and remain, when it comes to music I like) I was soon buying every Leonard Cohen album, and was now being influenced by both the hardest industrial rock and the most thoughtful and profound lyrics I had ever heard. To make…happy hardcore? I guess lol.
And thats sort of where I stop. Is it any wonder that muy musical career is so varied within the parameters of hardcore and dance music? My tastes range so far…and yet…I always come back to the key elements…a desire to create something with majesty, or something epic, that desire to use sound to tell a story, or just to make something work despite being absurd.