Basement Tracks 002: Chris Farrell
This edition of Basement Tracks features a man at the centre of the Bristol electronic music scene, not only is he a DJ but he his a record store owner and label boss, Chris Farrell.
From playing various clubnights across Bristol to running Idle Hands, the cities only underground record store that doubles up as the cities best underground imprint of present, I think it’s safe for us to call Chris Farrell a true figure head in the Bristol scene. He has been immersed in the sounds of city since he moved to Bristol in search jungle and drum & bass throughout his time working at the seminal Rooted Records seeing the great rise of Bristol dubstep firsthand.
Chris’ selection of records for the basement really spreads the board. We heard tales of dub, reminisced with dancefloor bangers and found out how Chris would literally take his love for techno to the grave.
Peverelist – Erstwhile Rhythm / The Grind
I remember Peverelist giving me a CD:R of this prior to it coming out. I went home, listened to it and thought fucking hell this is new! It has all the things I love about music, it’s techno, it’s jungle, it’s dub music. Forward thinking sound system music at its best. Along side Pinch’s ‘Qawali’ this is my favourite Bristol dubstep record.
Happy Mondays – Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)
I bought this when I was 12 years old at a record fair. It was produced by John Cale from The Velvet Underground, before the Madchester era and all the E’s kicked in. It has a really loose, scratchy and funky rock music. It reminds me of being a teenager and hanging out with my mate Ben in Worcester.
African Head Charge – My Life In A Hole In The Ground
An early 80s dub record where the On U Sound crew took dub and ran with it, pushing it forward to incorporate a wild palette of sounds. A lot of purist Jamaican dub has a similar feel to it, this is completely different and still sounds ahead of its time.
Pépé Bradock – Deep Burnt
What do I have to say about ‘Deep Burnt’ – It’s probably my favourite house record of all time, I never get sick of it, I’ve seen some of my close friends get very emotional and cry on the dance floor to it. The sample is a Freddie Hubbard tune, I think.
New Order – Substance 1987
When this came out it was essentially a ‘best of New Order’ and without being too Alan Partridge about it I would have to say it is my favourite New Order album. It has all the early singles on it, and no matter how many adverts it’s on, I’ll never get sick of ‘Blue Monday’.
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works ’85 -’92
I like this album because I was getting into this in my late teens when techno really opened up for me as a thing to get into, it’s timeless. Around my late teens, Aphex was doing ‘Window Licker’, ‘Come To Daddy’ and I think a lot of people latched on to that aspect of his character, the weird and whatever.. I was kind of put off those tunes by that. I like this and the Polygon Window LP.
Felt – Space Blues
One of my favourite bands, they were an 80s indie band from Birmingham. I first heard this tune as a teenager on an NME compilation. Back then it was harder to get hold of records like this; before the internet and living in Worcester it wasn’t easy finding records. It has only been in recent years that I have been able to expand my Felt collection.
The Other People Place – Lifestyles Of The Laptop Café
This is a really mellow, beautiful electro record. My friend Luke Malcher put me on to this about 6 or 7 years ago, he couldn’t believe that I didn’t know it because it’s exactly what I like. I bought it a few weeks after the recommendation.
Various – Firehouse Revolution
This is a King Tubby compilation of recordings he made in the 80s. The guys from Rhythm & Sound have name checked this period of his work alongside the Wackies label as a big influence on their sound.
Keith Hudson – Pick A Dub
This was an LP that as a teenager opened me up to music beyond indie and rock. It forced me to enjoy music as ‘sound’ rather than as 3 minute pop songs. My dad made me listen to this when I was about 14, I’m glad that he did as all other music that I have got into since then has probably been because of this. In terms of a dub LP it is very sparse and stripped back, there isn’t any stupid noises on it. If I had to choose one record out of all of them it would be this.
The Impressions – Self Titled
Curtis Mayfield was great. This is my dad’s type of music, it’s only really the last few years that I could really get into it on my own terms and now I love it. It’s warm and has sentiment behind it, really heart felt. They were a massive influence on reggae. There are even photos of The Wailers dressed up in imitation of the Impressions.
Artwork – Red E.P.
This was just great when it came out, it got played to death a nd still sounds hot. It crossed over to the broken beat broken lot. I used to go to the night Futureboogie used to do at Level, called ‘Seen’ at the time it was one of the only good quality music night in Bristol. You would get stuff like this played next to house, nu-jazz, Detroit techno and broken beat.
Fela Kuti – International Thief Thief (I.T.T.)
I first heard Fela when I was 18 years old and it blew my mind. On the same day someone played me the Blade Runner soundtrack and music has never been the same since. ‘ITT’ is one of my favourite Fela tracks/LP.
ESG – A South Bronx Story
This is a great meeting point between disco and post punk, they got sampled a lot in early hip hop and never made any money out of it. I think they were signed to Factory Records at one point. A record that very rarely leaves my record bag.
Maximum Joy – Stretch
Bristolian post-punk record I found in a collection I bought when I was 21. It has a dubby disco avant-garde type thing going on, I know Jules (October) likes this one as well.
Kraftwerk – Computerwelt
It’s a blueprint for everything that came after, the albums before it were great but this is the electro blueprint. All the tunes are still completely playable now – Numbers, Pocket Calculator etc.
Maurizio – M-4.5
I could of picked any Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound, Maurizio, Main Street but this the first one I ever heard and it’s the one that’s stuck with me. I’m a massive fan boy and I’ve got pretty much everything they’ve ever done. I first heard M-4.5 of a Francois K mix and was like wow, what is that? Delving in I didn’t realise dance music could be like that, you could stick that on, sit down, listen to it and hear things you didn’t hear before – It’s probably your ears playing tricks on you but it’s the machines whirling away in the background, it’s not really melodies but it’s noise built up. There is a hell of a lot going on as well being really bumping club tracks.
Rhythim Is Rhythim – Icon
I want this played at my funeral, it sounds like it should be heard in a cathedral or something!
I fucking love techno, I love music generally, but the music I love is techno like this. If I’m stuck in this basement I could mix between Icon, M-4.5, Kraftwerk, Peverelist endlessly and I’d be alright.