Basement Tracks 001: October
It is our pleasure today to welcome you to one of our brand new features, Basement Tracks. Each edition we will feature a different artist fronted with the same hypothetical question: If they were to be locked in a basement until the end of their days, which small selection of records and if they want, optional mixtape, would they take with them? We feel the simplistic beauty of this feature is in the context. This is a chance to see what electronic music artists would choose to listen to over anything else, in a scenario far from the dancefloors of which the are used to conducting play.
So without further ado we introduce our first guest in the basement: October. Also known as Julian Raymond Smith, the Bristol based artist who may usually stir thoughts in the electronic music realm, currently co-running the Bristol/Berlin imprint TANSTAAFL and previously in playing the same role at the head of Caravan Records. Dig a little deeper and you may uncover knowledge that Julian’s talents also lie in guitar based music, this leads us to raise the question as to how broad this man’s influence of music is. With all this in mind October proves as a perfect first guest for Basement Tracks. Enjoy…
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
If someone put a gun against my head and said what’s your favorite band…? A near enough impossible question but; I’m pretty sure I would’ve said Joy Division. I choose ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ single because it’s my favorite JD cover but this entry represents their entire back catalog which is very small due to the bands short lived career as Joy Division.
Bauhaus – The Singles
It’s difficult to choose a favorite Bauhaus record so I chose this album as it contains all the hits. In Bauhaus’ short lived career, they released 4 studio albums and several 12s. This compilation contains their best work such as: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, ‘Passion Of Lovers’, ‘Dark Entries’… But if there’s only one Bauhaus song you need to hear, it’s most definitely, ‘Terror Couple Kill Colonel’. My favorite Bauhaus song ever!
The Cure – Seventeen Seconds
The Cure have released so many albums but frankly, I’m not into all of them… I personally feel this band have only put out a few albums that really speak to me. Most of the back catalog I can take or leave but the few albums they did that I love, are exceptional. The essential Cure albums are: ‘Seventeen Seconds’, ‘Faith’, ‘Pornography’ and ‘Disintegration’. The album ‘Faith’ was a result of Ian Curtis’ suicide and you can really hear that on the album. Especially the opening track, ‘The Holy Hour’. ‘Faith’ is an incredible album and you can really hear the nod towards Joy Division. Robert Smith has claimed that the other 3 albums are, in his own words, The Dark Trilogy and are the best albums they ever did. If your not familiar with the band, I suggest ‘A Forest’ (from Seventeen Seconds) is a good track to start with.
Swell Maps – Sweep The Desert
Formed in Lemmington Spa in 1972 by two (now dead) brothers, singer and guitarist, Nikki Sudden and drummer Epic Soundtracks. Yes that right, Epic Soundtracks. The best name ever! The band are considered the father’s of Post-Punk. They really came into their own after the so called “official” birth of Punk Rock in ’76 when the Sex Pistols came on the scene… By that time, they were already making “Post-Punk” sounds by using alternate tunings, dowsing everything in spring reverbs, echo units and attacking their guitars with screw drivers, drills and drumsticks. Famously these guys are responsible for shaping US bands such as, Sonic Youth and Pavement. ‘Midget Submarines’, ‘Let’s Build A Car’ and ‘Full Moon In My Pocket’ are a good place to start if you wanna check these guys out.
Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats
20 Jazz Funk Greats is a classic album to say the least! Only containing 11 songs, none of which are “Jazz Funk” related like the album title suggests. Hailing from Sheffield consisting of four members the industrialist’s paved the way for experimental industrial music as we know it today. This is their most accessible album and features the track ‘Hot On The Heels Of Love’.
Iggy Pop – New Values
My favorite Iggy Pop record. It’s got a tonne of amazing songs in it and has Bowie on cheeky backing vocals.. Well most of Iggy’s albums had Bowie on it and vice versa. The albums single is ‘I’m Bored’ but also has classics like ‘Girls’, ‘Five Foot One’ ‘The Endless Sea’ and the title track ‘New Values’. If you don’t know them, I urge you to check them out!
Devo – Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!
Devo’s first album. The one with ‘Mongoloid’, ‘Satisfaction (I Can’t Get Me No)’, ‘Uncontrollable Urge’ and ‘Jocko Homo’. This album was recorded in Koln in Germany 1978 and was famously produced by Brian Eno. I don’t have a favorite Devo album – it’s all amazing!
Johnny Ace – Pledging My Love
I think ‘Pledging My Love’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ by the Flamingos are my two favorite songs of all time. Completely timeless. Johnny Ace accidentally shot himself in the face after performing a show on December 24th 1954. He was drunk and did not realise the gun was loaded. After been warned by someone to be careful whilst drunkenly waving his gun around during a poker game, he said… “It’s not loaded” pointed it at his face an pulled the trigger… Tragic, and sad but also really fucking stupid! He was one of the greats…
The Jesus Lizard – Down
Everyone’s favorite noise group! Jesus Lizard are just incredible. Noisy, powerful, demented but also highly vulnerable due to David Yow’s voice. I’ve seen them live and the man literally cries his heart out on stage. I could bang on about these guys all day. Never have they delivered a duff album – even the bad ones are good! I chose ‘Down’ as it’s their best album album cover and it’s the one I’ve listened to the least. So if I’m gonna be locked in a bunker till the end of my days I may as well absorb this album. I don’t really have a favourite album of these guys but if you want to check them out, I would start with ‘Goat’ or ‘Liar’. Kurt Cobain was super into them and released a 12″ single with Nirvana’s ‘Oh The Guilt’ on one side and Jesus Lizard’s ‘Puss’ on the other. The project was funded by Kurt as well but unfortunately it didn’t really help break the band into the mainstream like it worked out for Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. I guess the fuckers were just too hardcore and noisy to be commercially marketable.
Drexciya – Neptune’s Lair
What can I say – some of Detroit’s finest right here! ’Neptune’s Liar’ is my favorite album of theirs. It’s kinda poppy and jovial… ‘Surface Terrestrial Colonization’ and ‘Andreaen Sand Dunes’ are the pick of this LP for me.
Jurgen Muller – Science Of The Sea
Before I started to do music professionally – I was going to study Marine Biology or be a professional Skateboarder. Well neither of those things worked out so here I am. This album was made by a German oceanographer that did music as a hobby. Using only 3 synthesizers and a drum-machine he has created a sonic world describing what he’s seen traveling the world’s oceans. Such a beautiful warm, soothing album.
Legowelt – The Teac Life
Dutch man Danny Wolfers recorded this incredible album of deep forest techno onto a TEAC VHC tape machine for that extra warm fuzz, wow and flutter. I don’t really need to say much about the Dutch master… We all know what he’s capable of in the studio so I just recommend buying this if you still can… It’s potentially one of the finest Techno albums ever made and I feel it’s his finest work to date.
Cal Tjader – The Best Of
A highly underrated Swedish Jazzer right here! The man played drums for the likes of Dave Brubeck and George Shearing in the fifties before turning his hands to the Vibraphone! One of my favorite instruments – I would love to own one. Mr Tjader’s love affair with Latin rhythms and his European jazz sensibility gives him a unique exotic take on 60s modernist jazz. Also because of his drumming experience, all his music has the best groove! Check out ‘The Fakir’ as a prime example.
Ciccone Youth – The Whitey Album
This was a side project of all the members of Sonic Youth and Mike Watt from the Minute Men formed in 1986. Ciccone is Madonna’s real first name and the band covered her hit single, ‘Get Into The Groove(y)’. They also did a cover of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’ which was recorded in a Karaoke booth. I love Sonic Youth and next to Joy Division they are the perfect band. I also considered Sonic Youth’s ‘Daydream Nation’, ‘Evol’, ‘Sister’ or ‘Badmoon Rising’ for this bunker jam but Ciccone Youth got it cos it’s so damn weird…
Formed by the now late Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early seventies. A prime example of Krautrock. They released 4 albums none of which did very well at the time of release but was a huge inspiration to people like; David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, PiL, Brian Eno to name a few… Eno even flew over to and started working with Michael Rother and the members of Cluster, called Roedelius and Moebius; the results of that later became Harmonia.
Tangerine Dream – Hyperborea
Released in 1983, it’s the bands best work hands down excluding some of the film soundtracks they scored. It’s a highly personal album for me as it was my late brother’s favourite.
Mix: Frank Zappa – The Lost Tapes
This is not your traditional mix done by a DJ. It’s a complication of a bunch of unreleased Frank Zappa material and is quite simply amazing! It’s my favourite Zappa album. It’s pretty weird and contains everything from wig-out surf music, blues, doo-wop, soul, classical, jazz, spoken word, old sailor sea-shanties to electronic experiments… All of it is mixed together so it was the first record I heard that was just one continuous track… So for me it’s the most inspiring “mix” ever.