WARMER MIXTAPES #1595 | by Chris Weeks [Kingbastard/Myheadisaballoon/Weeksy]

First off, I would like to say thank you to Vlad for asking me to do this. Secondly, picking a Top Ten Favourite tracks is insanely difficult. Therefore, I had to go with pieces that over the years have spoken to and stayed with me. I set out to choose tracks which are more current, but in all honesty, I actively seek out and listen to so much Music, to pick something from the now to include as a favourite, from material that I've only recently heard, doesn't seem right. Therefore, this list is not my favourite tracks of all time. It's more a reflective selection of songs and records that have meaning to me on a personal level. I've always tried to listen to a diverse a range of Music, so to pick just ten tracks from that pool is ridiculously challenging. These are then, ten tracks that I will never forget.

1. Radiohead | How Can You Be Sure?
I've been listening to Radiohead for over twenty years. It's fair to say I grew up with them. I will always listen to anything they release. It's fair to say that they are probably my biggest influence, musically speaking. However, this track is not actually my favourite of theirs! I do love it, and chose to include it as it has a real place in my heart. I first heard it on a friend's copy of the Fake Plastic Trees CD single and instantly had to ask to have it. It reminds me of simpler times. Its heartfelt and poignant vocals, beautiful male/female harmonies and Acoustic sensibilities get to me every time. I've been listening to it on and off for over twenty years. I never get bored of it. Personally I think it should've been on The Bends rather than being just a B-side. At the time I was teaching myself to play and falling in Love with the acoustic guitar, so this song really appealed to me. It reminds me of being sixteen/seventeen, driving around in my little Mk2 Fiesta (my first car), hanging around with friends in the Summer, enjoying Life, carefree. I could easily make this list all Radiohead songs. They were and continue to be a very influential band for me. Amazing songwriting, production, sounds, techniques, great lyrics, progressive and Experimental mindset... They have everything. My fiancée is also a massive fan. I had the pleasure of going to see them in Miami recently, at the beginning of their tour of their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool. It was my first time seeing them live; an amazing experience and one I was so lucky and happy to have shared with her. They did not disappoint.

2. John Rutter, Catrin Finch | Hiraeth
+ The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset... I've chosen two in one here, for reasons I will explain... I moved to Wales, about ten years ago, to a beautiful place in Pembrokeshire. It's fair to say that I am very much a Countryside person these days. For me, cities are a place to visit, not to live. I love to walk and listen to Music, so it's perfect for me. Such beautiful scenery. Catrin Finch came to my attention for a number of reasons. First off, you can't live in Wales without hearing about her. She's an incredible, technically talented Welsh harpist. She fully came to my attention because of my father. He had also moved to Wales and had fallen in Love with the Sound of the Harp. He bought himself a beautiful Welsh Teifi Harp and was taking lessons. He was a very technically minded and analytical man and he never did anything by halves. He was very committed to becoming more than just a proficient player. Sadly I lost my Dad to cancer, about four years ago. The harp sits in the house as a poignant reminder of him and his passions. I can't bring myself to play it, even though it sounds beautiful. It just brings back too many raw emotions. Anyway, back to the track choices. The John Rutter & Catrin Finch track featured on a CD that I bought for my Dad. The track I've chosen was one we played at his funeral. I find it very difficult to listen to. However, when I do, it brings back the fond memories of hearing him play his harp. I wasn't able to listen to it for at least a couple of years after he passed. Now I listen with a heavy-heart, but still, the fond, more pleasant memories always overpower the negative. It's a beautiful piece. Now, onto The Kinks and Waterloo Sunset. This was also played at my Dad's funeral. It was a track that I first heard in my formative years, being played by him, and then again during my College days, when I was delving back into Music from the 1960's, listening to many bands and artists from that era. This was one of, if not his favourite song. He grew up in London and it spoke to him. It's a beautiful track, perfect Pop songwriting. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand-up when I listen to it and always makes me smile and think of him.

3. Public Enemy | Give It Up
Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age... Now, this choice is not a track, but a full album. If I absolutely had to pick a track then it would be Give It Up. During the 1990's I was big into Hip Hop and Rap. Public Enemy were one of my favourite groups and, while this album flopped somewhat and was critically panned, I Love it. For me it's like a Rap-Concept-Album. It has a little bit of everything. I found it easier to get into than their previous material. I can still rap-along to Give It Up, (no one wants to hear that though, it isn't pretty!)... The lyrics have stuck with me for over twenty years. It's insanely catchy and still sounds great. Chuck D sounds awesome, on top of his game, and Flavor Flav adds his inimitable stylings to it. It reminds me of being at School, going into the common-room and sharing new Rap Music discoveries with my friends. When I started getting back into vinyl, about ten years ago, this was one of the first records that I simply had to find to add to my collection.

4. Eels | Climbing To The Moon
Electro-Shock Blues... Again, this is an album choice, rather than a single track. I simply can't choose a favourite track from this record, I love all of it. In my opinion it's their (or his, Mark "E" Everett's) Magnum Opus. It's an album that comes from a personal place. The story behind it is so sad and tragic. Yet, "E" handles that with such dexterity and a truly unique approach to both Songwriting and Production. It has so many clever and beautiful nuances. Relatively straightforward melodies and song structures are juxtaposed by awesome little quirks, vocal samples, strings, vinyl scratches and incredibly heartfelt and poignant lyrics. Again, if I absolutely have to pick just a single track, then I would go with Climbing To The Moon. It's not the most inventive song on the record, but it's just so moving. I bought this album on first release, back in 1998. It has remained as one of my favourite records. I never tire of it. At the time, as a budding acoustic guitarist and songwriter, it showed me that you can be free to experiment, draw heavily from personal experience and not have to restrict or pigeon-hole yourself to one particular sound.

5. Jan Jelinek Avec The Exposures | If's, And's & But's
This track is just too good to not include in my list. I would've liked to include his album Loop Finding Jazz Records, but I feel like I'm not really playing the game if I keep picking albums! This track was released on the ~scape imprint back in 2003. It was a time when I was already fully immersed in Electronic Music, but I'd never heard anything like it. I first heard about his Music when a producer-friend shared Loop Finding Jazz Records with me. At first I pretty much dismissed it, didn't give it the time it deserved. Thankfully I went back for subsequent listens and it quickly burrowed itself deep into my musical-psyche. Upon further investigation, Jelinek's glitched-up, error-laden beats, Jazzy sensibilities, skewed electronics, deep bass and inventive techniques just blew me away. His records from that period still sound so fresh to me. Such a good groove and unique style. It made me push myself when it came to producing my own Electronic Music. Made me strive to find my own style. I've never tried to replicate his sound, but I've definitely borrowed and explored some of his techniques. For me it remains influential material and essential listening.

6. Ribs Of Apache | Sequoia 
Ribs Of Apache aka Crystal Manning... This is a track I love by the woman I love. It was hard to pick just one specific track of hers, but I think Sequoia showcases her creativity exceptionally well. She is a very talented Music-maker/producer. We met through our mutual Love of Music and mutual respect of one another's creative output. Crystal made this track when we had started to become more than just friends and asked me for advice about it. I also helped with the mastering. I love it because not only it's a great piece of Electronic Music, it also serves as a reminder of how talented and special a person she is. We have a long-distance relationship, she's in the US, I'm in the U.K. So, whenever there's a period where we don't get to chat, I delve into her back-catalogue and every time I do it just further increases my love for and want to be with her. Finding someone who shares my passions has been an incredible, Life-changing experience. Not only is she an intelligent, creative producer, she also has a beautiful singing voice. We hope to write and perform together, soon.

7. Aphex Twin | Come To Daddy
Quite possibly one of the most influential Electronic artists out there. I've been a fan for many many years, going back to his Selected Ambient Works 85-92 record. I was considering picking a track from that, Tha, as it still resonates with me today. However, I have chosen Come To Daddy because, at the time of release in 1997, the EP and track just blew me away! It's insanely inventive and brilliantly creepy. I had never heard anything like it before, or since! I first discovered it when I was living in Halls Of Residence at University. Again, it was a producer friend of mine that showed it to me. He had and has exceptional Music tastes. I could've picked a number of Aphex Twin tracks, but this has the most relevance for me in terms of the sensation it gave me from that first listen. It still sounds completely amazing and unique. Include the video; genius! I never get tired of hearing it. It's a record that challenged my conceptions of what Music can be. Pushed me to experiment with my own creations. He is a master of his craft. A huge influence and a truly extraordinary, creative Music-maker.

8. Björk | Hyperballad
I had to include something from Björk in this list. I first got into her Music when I was sixteen years old, attending Art College. I had Debut on cassette, and would listen to it on a loop whilst working on Art projects in the classrooms. Funny then that I should choose something from Post instead! The reason for which is simply because it is an all-round amazing song, and is the first track that comes to mind when I think of Björk. I have loved it since the first time I heard it. The production, the arrangement, the lyrics, the somewhat more tempered vocal performance. She has always creatively pushed boundaries and been a law unto herself, and I love that attitude. I have a massive amount of respect for her as an artist and performer. She is an unique character and someone I would dearly love to meet and have a chat with. Iceland seems to produce a very individual type of Creative. I would have liked to include Sigur Rós and their album Ágætis Byrjun in this list. The landscapes of Iceland could well be the reason that such inventive and beautiful Music comes from that nation. It's a place I definitely have to visit in my lifetime. As with a lot of the artists or bands I have selected for this list, Björk has great adaptability and a wonderfully diverse and open approach to Creativity. She's a progressive artist that exists in her own world. Creativity/the creative-process is my favourite element of Music-Making. I love Music which overflows with ideas, resulting in a very individual and novel perspective. Björk is the epitome of this.

9. Squarepusher | Boneville Occident
I learnt about Squarepusher a little late. Whilst I was aware of his earlier output, I only truly discovered his Music when I was at University. It was 2001, and Go Plastic came to my attention. Simply put, the album is brilliant. It's challenging and progressive. It turned the Electronic & Drum And Bass/Jungle style Music which was very prevalent at that time on its head. It opened my mind to a whole different Sonic landscape. Why this whole album, and the track I chose, stick with me is not only for the fact that it is exceptional, but it also reminds me of a very specific time, place and moment in my life. It was the soundtrack to a Van-Trip I took with friends. Essentially, we decided to hire a van and drive across the UK in it, visiting various locations and essentially living in it. It was just a basic transit van, no home comforts. We took it from Leeds to Brighton. From Brighton to the hills and valleys of Wales and pretty much wherever else we could! It was a trip of Exploration, Comradery, Debauchery and Fun. Looking back, I can distinctively recall Boneville Occident as the standout Musical accompaniment to the trip. Every time I hear it, it takes me right back to that moment, driving the van, me and three friends, over the misty Welsh hills, with Squarepusher blaring.

10. The Undertones | Teenage Kicks
And last, but not least... This is definitely not one of my favourite tracks of all time! Don't get me wrong, it's a good song, but my selection of it is about the attachment it has to the legendary Radio DJ, John Peel. It was certainly one of his favourites. He was a massive influence on my listening habits and formative years of Music listening/creating. He showed me that there no rules regarding what you like or don't like. You are free to listen to whatever the hell you want to! Forget the judgement of others. He taught me to give any/all Music a chance, and that there was so much good Music out there, in every genre, if you take the time and effort to find it. He inspired my Musical Eclecticism. Informed me about great artists and bands. Pushed the boundaries of what it was acceptable to play on the radio, and did it all with such a humble and honest attitude. He truly loved Music. He was a pioneer, a trend-setter, and a genuine one-off. I have a huge amount of respect for him. No one has shaped my 'Music Adventure' more than him. He opened my mind to all sorts of Alternative Music, and for that I will be forever grateful. I sorely miss his dulcet tones on the radio.