1. Aphex Twin | Alberto Balsalm
Aphex Twin has long been a Musical Hero of mine, so it’s hard to pick a favourite track by him, but this is one I always return to, time and again. Brings a tear to my eye. It’s the Melody. So Simple and so Beautiful. And the Sound that the Melody is played on. Perfect. Not much else to say about it, really. Just a Stunningly Beautiful piece of Music.
2. Pan Sonic | Leikkuri
Mika Vainio is one of my Favourite Musicians. Everything he does is so Tasteful, like he never puts a foot wrong. And his work with Pan Sonic was no different. I first heard this track in 2007 I think, driving to a festival with Dara from Lakker. A friend of ours had made a mixtape and this track was on it. When it came on, the two of us just stopped, turned the Volume Up and sat with our jaws open. We felt this is it, this is the kind of music we want to make. The Sounds are so Good, such a Beautiful Noise, Gorgeous Distortion. It’s so Pure. Drum Machines and Noise. Like a Distillation of Electronic Music down to its most Important Parts and Throwing Away Everything Else. Awesome Stuff.
3. Downpour | A Beginner’s Guide To Mass Hysteria
This is Intense. I picked this up years ago in a clearance sale in Tower Records in Dublin. I had no idea what it was, but I’m glad I got it. The Opening Track is this Dark Jungle/Breakcore track that morphs into the most Amazing Noise track - Beautiful, Dark, Dystopian, Organic Noise. It’s quite an Incredible track. I haven’t heard anything else like it. Powerful and Iintense and Life-Affirming. I used to finish up sets with this. There is no Real Follower if you Play a track Like This. It’s Apocalyptic stuff. It’s hard to find a Stream Online, but there’s a bunch of copies for sale real cheap on Discogs. If you’re into Noisey Heavy Music I’d recommend picking one up.
4. Arvo Pärt | Spiegel Im Spiegel (Performed by Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe)
What can you say about this piece? Incredibly Moving, Stunningly Beautiful, Delicate, Brave, Timeless, Simple, but Not Simplistic. It’s a Real Tear-Jerker. Probably been used on Countless Soundtracks. It has that Indefinable Quality that Great Art has. That thing we Feel, but Can’t Understand, or maybe Understand, but can’t Articulate. That thing that makes us feel Alive and Part of Something. Beauty. One of the Great Pieces of 20th Century Music in my book.
5. Autechre | VLetrmx21
One of my All Time Favourite Tracks from one of my All Time Favourite Groups. A Simple Melodic Line on a Gorgeous Synth that Swells and Diminishes in Intensity over the course of eight minutes or so. I imagine this would be a favourite of many Autechre fans. It’s Epic and Beautiful. A Real Goosebump Inducer. One of my favourite Musical Memories is Aphex Twin playing this track in Dublin in 2011 and mixing it with our Lakker track Spider Silk. It was a double whammy - one of my Heros playing one of our tracks, and choosing to mix it with one of my Favourite Tracks Ever. That’s a Memory that’ll be with me Forever.
6. Daft Punk | Touch (feat. Paul Williams)
I kind of avoided all the Hype leading up to the release of Random Access Memories. I wasn’t too Hopeful for the album. I don’t really know why. I hadn’t listened to Daft Punk in ages, and always felt their albums were a bit Patchy. I wasn’t taken initially with Get Lucky (I Love it now though), and all the Promo seemed a bit much. But I was Completely Wrong. The album is Incredible. The Best Thing They’ve Ever Done, in my opinion. It’s way better than I imagined, surpassed all my expectations. And this song Touch is the Centrepiece and Stand-Out. It’s like a weird mix of ELO and something from a Musical and it works beautifully. Really Out There yet very Accessible. Very Heartfelt and Very Moving. Grandiose without any Irony. It’s so Joyful, Uplifting and Positive (the whole album is) and I think the World needs more of that at the moment. And the line If Love is the Answer, you’re Home (I think that’s the line!) really resonates with how I’ve been feeling about Life and the World recently. My favourite piece of Music I’ve heard in a while.
7. S. Maharba | Something In The Way She Moves
I stumbled across this on Bandcamp recently and I was completely floored. The way it opens Suggestively and then drops into the most Beautiful Hip-Hop Beat. Instant Goosebumps. I don’t know much about S.Maharba, but he or she is Amazingly Skillful at Sampling. Everything Works So Well Together. All the Lovely Texture and Crackle, Sounds You Can Almost Touch. I’m a big fan.
8. Robert Hood | Minus
Simply one of the Best Techno Tracks Ever in my view. It’s Almost Perfect. I don’t know how he does it, Building Something so Immense from such Small Amount of Material. A Masterclass in Restraint and Minimalism. I came to this track quite late, only having got into it a few years ago. But when I heard it again I was blown away. I think when it came out I was too Immature to Appreciate its Subtleties, but now I Love it. Everything is just Right, from the way it Develops, to the Sound of the Synths, to the Repetitive Melodies, and the Simple Kick behind it all. Amazing. I’ve played it in so many sets.
9. Morton Feldman | String Quartet No. 2
This is famous for being one of Feldman’s Longest Pieces (and Feldman wrote a lot of Lengthy Pieces). It’s a Single Movement String Quartet that lasts about six hours. And it is Incredible. I had the pleasure of attending a performance and it is one of the Most Memorable and Profound Musical Experiences of my Life. I lasted almost the entire thing - I nipped out at one point to get some food! But the Experience of Listening to such Quiet, Repetitive and Intense Music over such a Sustained Period of Time was Something Unique. The Feeling of Hearing a Phrase or Idea that Occured maybe Three Hours Previously is Hard to Describe. Like a Memory of Something that you’ve Only Recently Experienced, but yet Feels So Distant. Very Dreamlike. It’s a Different Type of Listening. If you ever get a chance to sit through a performance I would recommend it. Don’t be put off by the Long Duration. Just go with it - it’s Immensely Rewarding.
10. Frank Ocean | We All Try
Frank Ocean is Really Inspiring to me. I really Love the Honesty in his Lyrics. Everything he does is so Heartfelt. You can Feel the Emotion in Every Breath. And this song is probably my favourite of his. I got into his Music through being a huge Odd Future fan, and when I heard Ocean’s Music I was pretty blown away and an even bigger Odd Future fan. This Soft, Soulful, Emotive, Coldplay-Sampling R’n’B came from the same crew as the Really Nasty Fucked Up tracks by Tyler and Earl. They’re a Serious Bunch of Young Musicians. Anyway, this song brings a tear to my eye. It’s so Positive, so Honest, and contains such a Simple and Powerful Message for the Future of Humanity. The Belief in Humans. We’re All Good, We’re All the Same, We Fuck Up, But We All Try. We can Turn Our World Around Us into a More Positive Place. It’s a Beautiful Song.