WARMER MIXTAPES #88 | by Benjamin Berry [Fear Of Tigers]
1. Underworld | Dirty Epic
One of the most enduring and romantic memories from my teenage years is driving around rural Yorkshire in a clapped out yellow beetle in the early hours of the morning with Underworld first album Dubnobasswithmyheadman gently pumping out of the speakers. Dirty Epic is my hands down favourite and Karl Hype’s patchwork vocals conjure some wonderful imagery: There comes another God he sings as a brooding backdrop heads on the midnight train to Romford.
2. Odyssey | Native New Yorker
It’s such a big big record. Big song, big strings and delicious production. When I listen to this I just want to be the person in the song: a hard nosed city girl coming home from a night of hedonism and heartache at Studio 54. When he dropped you off on East 3rd...They really just don’t make them like this anymore.
4. The Cure | The Same Deep Water As You
As an album Disintegration has got to be The Cure’s crowning moment. From the gentle opening of Plainsong to Untitled, its final track, the record makes me feel like two arms are outstretched, wrapping around me in tender despair. The Same Deep Water is Disintegration at it’s most hopeless, but somehow I’ve always resonated with the feeling of being completely and utterly lost.
5. Saint Etienne | He’s On The Phone
Now you’re talking! A girl I dated many moons ago made a tape for me and this amazing track was oddly sandwiched in-between You And Me by The Wannadies and a fantastic grune-esque cover of 60s classic Sugar Sugar which I’ve not been able to track down since. He’s On The Phone is a wonderful song and a teenage anthem if ever I heard one. But I love the production too. It’s just so cheap but it works incredibly well. If I ever use euro sounds in my music, it’s this song I’m trying to get at.
6. Sigur Rós | Svefn-G-Englar
I could have picked almost any Sigur Rós song but I chose this for its magical ability to transport me to a mythical place full of icy waterfalls, windy heaths and hidden people. I almost look forward to winter just so I can sit indoors on a gloomy afternoon, listen to Sigur Rós and wish I was in Iceland. The NME recently ran a poll of the worst rock bands of the decade and Sigur Rós were in the top-ten. But that’s the whole point. Angsty rock and roll is dead and whether they want to or not, Sigur Rós set the paradigm for the future of guitar music.
7. The Pixies | Debasser
For me The Pixies are the greatest rock band who’ve ever walked The Earth. They make Nirvana sound like Fall Out Boy and Radiohead look like a bad incarnation of Coldplay. They’ve been copied so so many times but no one has ever got close. I thought for years that Frank Black shouted Tramp in the chorus of Debasser but of course he’s saying Chien as the songs lyrics are based on Dali’s film Un Chien Andalou. I also love the fact that The Pixies are so un-rockstar like. Even in his early days Frank Black was balding and fat and there’s no pent up angst or misogyny in sight.
8. Autechre | Nil
Before I first discovered house and disco, ambient music was my thing. Warp Records were at their peak in the mid-nineties releasing records from all the ambient pioneers of the day such as Aphex Twin and B12 . Out of all the records from that era, Autechre’s second album Amber stands head and shoulders above the rest. I remember the first time I hear Nil, lying on my bed with the lights on low listening to it from a rickety old turntable that my older brother had donated to me and thinking I got to make something as good as this. The sleeve is wonderful too and just looks amazing on gatefold vinyl.
9. Ryuichi Sakamoto | Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
I first heard this on a cassette that my parents used to listen to called Inspirations. It had a bunch of late 80s/early 90s instrumental music a lot of it was very cheesy TV themes and the like (perhaps that’s where I get it from!). Of course Ryuichi Sakamoto’s crowning moment is anything but cheesy. It’s a sublime piece of music that conjures the deepest emotions from a simple set of chords and an even simpler melody. Although I love David Sylvian’s voice, it’s the original instrumental piece that I love the most. By modern standards it’s a very simple and sounds just as emotive performed as a solo piano piece as it does in the original which is surely a benchmark of perfection.
10. Soft House Company | What You Need (Luv Dup's Sat At Home Mix)
Arguably, the only club track on my list really serves as a metaphor for all googol of piano anthems and old school screamers that lie just below the surface of my consciousness. I can’t claim to have any special memory of this tune in particular but when the piano riff kicks in it makes me think I’m in a club in Northern England with the dry ice turned up to ten.
+11. Mascara | See You In L.A.
Weighing in at just over nine minutes long, this is a lesson in how to make an epic record. Soaring strings glide over bubbling syntherzizers and a bass line is to die for. The spoken word part in the middle is about as good as spoken word gets in a song: We strolled the beach at Malibu…I looked in your eyes and you kissed me again…I miss you so...Beautiful stuff.
+12. The Future Sound Of London | Papua New Guinea
It’s an apocalyptic end of the world anthem that’s positively otherworldly. It makes me think of an acid drenched sun coming up at Glastonbury whilst reality reveals itself in its full lucid glare. How did they make this record? I have no idea and I don’t want to know, I’d rather it remain a beautiful mystery.