WARMER MIXTAPES #340 | by Daniel Berman [Red Rack'Em/Hot Coins]
I have chosen songs from my childhood and teen years as I feel that they have influenced me far more than any contemporary music.
1. Big Youth | Natty Cultural Dread
My Dad brought me up with Big Youth. Hearing deep spiritual music from an early age has definitely informed my music. Big Youth was talking about Rasta pride and coping with injustice in the world. As I was growing up in an unfriendly Scottish fishing village as an incomer (they even had a name for people who weren't born and bred there), I really related to the sentiments in Big Youth's music. Keep Your Dread Natty Keep Your Culture...
2. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions | Perfect Skin
I love this era of pop music when bands were bands. Band like Deacon Blue and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions could write beautiful songs, play their instruments to a high level and perform genuinely breathtaking live shows. Lloyd Cole is an amazing lyricist. He sounds so knowing. And I love the bright, sunny jangly sound of The Commotions. 90% of today's hype driven poser bands aren't fit to shine the shoes of a lot of the 80s bands I fear.
3. EPMD | Let The Funk Flow
Imagine growing up in a fishing village in Scotland with a population of 1000 people. Imagine how exotic and cool hip hop was in 1988. I used to have to get my mum to buy my albums because of the parental advisory sticker being enforced in Dundee Our Price. I grew up with hip hop and it definitely transported to me to another place. EPMD will always be one of my favourite groups. I love the relaxed flow. The dope beats. The use of delay on the last word in each verse.
4. 18th Dye | Glasshouse Failure
As a drummer/bassist in a few bands and a skateboarder, I really enjoyed grunge and alt rock in the early to mid 90s. My friend at college Iain Hinchliffe (then in Sawyer now in Part Chimp) introduced me to loads of amazing music including 18th Dye (who Sawyer might have supported perhaps in 1995). I love this track. It's the perfect example of quiet/loud and has the ever present Steve Albini on the boards.
5. Various Artists - East Coast Project | A Journey Through The Sound Of Edinburgh
Edinburgh was 50 miles away from where I grew up. And they had real producers there. With real studios and everything. I was making hip hop pause tapes and learning how to scratch on a suitcase turntable while Blackanized, Unkle Jack, 3 Bag Brew etc. were making the stuff I would dream of one day making. I still dream of making it. This album was a massive influence on me. I actually knew the people who made it. They were real people. Blackanized dug for their samples. The even had a guy called Fawaz who was their break finder. It was his job to find them dope beats to sample. Seeing this type of production culture first hand as a teenager was a massive inspiration for me.
6. Funkadelic | Back In Our Minds
This demented slice of wonky funk is an ode to somehow returning to Earth after taking a lot of acid. It had a lot of poignancy to me and my friends. We had some great times but also some pretty bad comedowns.
7. Surgeon | Magneze
Bloody hell. I get rushes listening to this right now. I went to very hard techno clubs in Edinburgh from around 1995. This track sums it all up for me. Hard as fuck. But totally funky and cool. It doesn't sound dated at all and really shows how ahead of his time Surgeon was. I had never heard music like this at high volume before. Those were great days. The only problem was I was unemployed so I used to spend my whole weeks money on one night out. It was EXPENSIVE in those days. Getting a taxi was a once a year treat.
8. Roni Size & DJ Die | It's A Jazz Thing
My love for drum and bass around 1994 came from my visits to Bath to stay with my friend Robin. He was part of a crew who went out raving and were immersed in the emerging drum and bass culture of Bristol and the South of England. I remember hearing this track on Ragga FM which was a pirate station they listened too. I immediately connected with the use of the bass and rhodes sample from the Lonnie Liston Smith track Shadows. This tune really sums up the intelligence of drum and bass at that time. I know it sounds cheesy to describe it as intelligent but it really was mind blowing music for me at the time. Soulful yet street. Hard but also emotional. For me the early Full Cycle drum and bass is the stuff that I will always cherish. I am about to sell most of my drum and bass records btw if anyone wants to make me an offer...
9. Black Jazz Chronicles | If The Creator Came Today
I think this is some of the best work from Ashley Beedle. He managed to encapsulate the spiritual African vibe into forward thinking electronic music. I love the influence of drum and bass that crept into a lot of the Ballistic Brothers stuff at this time. God I miss those days. When Jockey Slut was recommending 10 good albums every month. Dance music really was king in the late 90s.
10. Al Wilson | The Snake
What I loved about my time in Edinburgh circa 1995 was that my then flatmate Fraser would get into a new style of music every 3 months. This fast turnaround of styles was a massive inspiration on me both as a DJ and later on as a producer. He had a friend at work who was a very well dressed football casual who was totally into Northern Soul. There were big links between the football casuals and discerning music in those days be it on the house and techno scene or dub/northern soul. I remember listening to this track a lot when we got back from clubs. It was a revelation to hear hi-octane up tempo club music from a different era when you had just got back from a hard techno night.