Aphex Twin – Drukqs
After years of listening to indie music, hip-hop and post-rock, discovering Aphex Twin for the first time was life-changing. To hear something so unique, so beautiful and not have the faintest idea what was going on was amazing. On top of this, Richard D. James’ arrogant and mysterious persona stood out from a sea of musicians who couldn’t wait to get under the spotlight. It’s fair to say he was one of the main reasons we bought our first synthesisers and drum machines.
Drukqs seemed to polarise a lot of his fans, but to us, it proved that he strived to push the boundaries of music. The album showed he could compose tunes both mind-blowingly complex and fantastically simple, whilst in turn producing an album that was thoroughly coherent. It opened us up to a lot of modern classical composers like Philip Glass and Erik Satie, who had a big influence on us.
Perhaps most importantly, the album is timeless, and we’ll be hard pressed to find another LP to shift our ideas about music as much as Drukqs did.
Radiohead – Amnesiac
This album took a while to get into compared to their earlier records, but after returning to it continuously over the course of a few years, Amnesiac became one of those albums that you could never cease to analyse. Ed O’Brien claimed that “they had never smoked so much weed during the course of writing a record” and to us, the idea of Radiohead writing an album, whilst high, seemed like they’d fathom something unfathomable. Ultimately that was how Amnesiac turned out, an album so aesthetically provocative. ‘Pyramid Song’, ‘Hunting Bears’ and ‘Knives Out’s stand out for us as some of the greatest tracks they’ve ever written. Both the production and instrumentation on the record hugely influenced us in the latter stages of composing +DOME.
Burial – Untrue
A really inspirational album, especially over the last two years. A unique take on club music, for what was happening at the time – which for us was high fidelity electronica, but Burial flipped it – focussing on vast, reverb spread melodies with groaning, filtered sub basses. The pitched vocals on this record gave the technique millions of ears, and almost single-handedly gave birth to its own sub genre. We weren’t big listeners of garage or step music, but the shifting rhythms and loose percussion translated what was previously dormant into an exciting new mode.
Ben Frost – Theory of Machines
When Adam Udovich from Teenagers in Tokyo first showed us Ben Frost, we were immediately obsessed. The fact that an album can be so saturated and overdriven yet still maintain such space is astonishing. For a while, we’d been hearing a lot of electronic music coming out that wasn’t really pushing anywhere new. A lot of people had moved onwards from post-rock/ambience, but Theory of Machines proved that you could use components from both and make something entirely new. Along with Clark, Ben Frost was able to make electronic instruments sound so organic, and totally flip the genre upside down. You could call it post-rock-electronica, but really it’s a massive step beyond that. Theory of Machines is an incredibly produced album, and without a doubt one of the greatest exports Australia has to offer.
Clark – Body Riddle
An almost genre-less record, Body Riddle is extremely human for such a produced solo record. At the same time it maintains its sequenced structure – it feels computerised but sounds mysterious yet decisive. It’s a rare occasion when a listener can’t grasp a hook but craves repetition of certain phrases – and that’s what Body Riddle does. It inspires concentration and excites only to a point where the unexpected is delivered.
Body Riddle is a record that excels in control and after listening to it made us reconsider what it meant to write an electronic album. Rhythmically, its foundations are confidently chopped with obvious sample end points strung together with sharp cymbal rushes. The result is a heavy groove-based record that feeds a hip-hop background with an electronic club palette.
Extremely inspirational for us when recording and sequencing drums, though the overall sounds could never be imitated – Body Riddle is an indication that originality doesn’t have to come from recreation.
Autechre – ‘VLetrmx’
This was added on to the end of the original Tri Repetae tracklist, and concludes the album perfectly. At first it seems like one of those tracks that ultimately should have a beat fade in and take it to the next level, but instead it manages to do exactly that with just one single layer remaining throughout its entirety. This has to be one the greatest ambient songs of all time, if that’s how you decide to classify it. Never has there been a track as intense as this one, with such an overwhelming swell and the perfect pick of chords. There’s not much else that can be said about this track, other than it dwarfs every other attempt at ambient music.
Hudson Mohawke – ‘Polkadot Blues’
The wonky scene that came out of L.A. in late 2008 had a huge influence on us, and for a while all we listened to was instrumental hip-hop. The Glaswegian scene seemed to bring something new to the table that Flying Lotus and Samiyam hadn’t really come across, it was more instrumental R’n’B than anything else. ‘Polkadot Blues’ especially, had an unmatchable swagger to it. The staggered high-pitched vocals and overdriven bass-kicks gave two fingers to all the production techniques we were used to, and opened our eyes to a whole new genre of music. It was undoubtedly our most listened-to track of 2008, and changed our original IDM approach to beat-making dramatically.
Mount Kimbie – ‘Maybes’
There’s a lot to be said about the music that has come out of London, particularly the dubstep scene. But for us, the first two Mount Kimbie EP’s on Hot Flush hit the nail on the head. The track ‘Maybes’ stands out. The opening piano build that starts off drenched in a thick reverb that takes you to some of the most exciting phrases in dance music of the last few years is more than seminal. All the percussion lines manage to sound like they’ve been dropped in puddles of water. What’s amazing is it’s so subtle. Halfway through the track you realise that nothing’s disappeared and it’s just been a constant build. When all is said and done, Mount Kimbie are a power house, and this is their atom bomb.
Secede – ‘Leraine ft. Kettel’
This is another one of those tracks that starts with sounds that practically put you on top of a mountain. Windy and distant ambiance. One of the best keyboard progressions we know creeps in underneath and even though it’s blanketed with filters, reverbs and who knows what; you just know what’s coming. It’s future music and it’s really pretty. You can tell that Kettel weighed in heavily on this track, and because of that it’s so special. It keeps growing and wets you up more and more as you listen. To this day we’ve never come close to replicating the lead synth sound, despite many attempts. We’ll pay good money to whoever can…
Boards of Canada – ‘Roygbiv’
Quite an unusual track, but an undeniable favourite for all Warp fans. This song was one of the innovators of instrumental hip-hop, and the most single-worthy track off their album Music Has The Right To Children. For us, this was one of the tracks (and albums) that brought us all together in the first place, and inspired us to begin the band. Structurally and aesthetically, it was what we first aspired to, and our earliest tracks were blatant rip-offs. The synth that drives it has such warmth and it seems odd to be picked as a lead. Despite this, it manages to intertwine itself perfectly with the beat and never seems out of place. Combined with perfect vocal snippets and reverbed piano, ‘Roygbiv’ ties up perfectly making it an absolute classic of the genre.
+DOME is released through Rice Is Nice.