Thursday, 17 July 2008

26 Records That Changed My LIfe - Part One

Ha- a bit of a grandiose title I know, but there have been so many records that have influenced me big time over the years, so I thought I'd try and document some of them. They are roughly in order, starting with the earliest ones that defined my musical taste, up until a few years ago,


I was 12 years old when this came out, and up until this point was unaware that music really existed outside of Top of the Pops. My interests switched from Madonna and Duran Duran when a couple of my schoolmates lent me some Street Sounds Compilations, along with a few other Hip Hop records from the US. This was on one of those compliations - and even though it was more the juvenile subject matter that got my attention, it got me into hip hop big time. A whole new world awaited....

2) MANTRONIX - WHO IS IT? (1987)

I cant overstate how dope Mantronix were. I bought the Music Madness album from one of friends and played the whole non-stop for weeks. Awesome, awesome beats and so ahead of its time. Music Madness and Bassline were big tunes, but check this performance of 'Who Is It?' from the album on 80's music programme The Tube, complete with a young Paula Yates!


While I was becoming a fully fledged embarrassing hip-hop white kid, into Public Enemy, Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim and Ultramagnetic MCs, I was unaware that a new for of music was rearing its head. That was until I went on holiday to Spain when I was 14 and heard Lil Louis's French Kiss EVERYWHERE. Amazing, and totally caught my attention, it was like nothing I'd heard before. Awesome. Very much a one-off though in terms of house music making an impact on me-that didnt happen until a few years later.

4) DE LA SOUL - BUDDY (1989)

Mid-late 80s hip hop was so lighthearted and cool as fuck. 3rd Bass, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Queen Latifah and the like brought hip hop away from the darker messages of groups like Public Enemy, and into the daisy age. Tracks were sampled to death as if copyright had never been invented. De La Soul sampled half of the 70s on their debut album 3 Feet High And Rising! This was the golden age of hip hop to me.


'Rave' exploded in 1991 in the UK and into my consciousness. I remember the first breakthrough rave tracks being in the charts, and them all being from Liverpool or nearby. Bassheads (named after the Basement Club in Birkenhead, just down the road from were I lived) had a top 10 hit with - Is There Anybody Out There, and K-Klass had Rythmn is a Mystery in the top 20 at the same time! There were even dodgy rave tracks from Liverpool going to number one in the shape of Oceanic - Insanity :)
For me there were two big influences at the time. The first was a radio show on Piccadilly Radio by Stu Allan, the second was a club in Birkenhead which my then girlfriend's dad owned called The Pleasuredrome. It switched music policy overnight from a sticky carpeted fun club into a full on rave-a-thon. I saw The Prodigy live there in 1991 as well as Carl Cox, Grooverider, Orbital and many more. It didnt even seem that big a deal at the time, as none of these names were yet the superstars they would become.
This track defines that era for me.


A strange time for me in that I was getting into bonkers rave tracks, going to clubs like Bowlers in Manchester, but still firmly into my hip hop. Its something that has never left me in a way - I've never been one for genres or labels and always try to listen to as many different styles as possible, even though I may obsess over one for a while. I'd even started djing (at house parties) at this time, and would play this track every set. A Tribe Called Quest could be the greatest rap group of all time. Check this.

7) 2 BAD MICE - BOMBSCARE (1992)

2 Bad Mice came out on Moving Shadow recordings in 1992 and blew me away. Emerging djs like Sasha as well as Fabio and Grooverider would hammer this track, and it was typical of the melting pot that was rave at the time. Bombscare predates drum and bass as well as a whole multitude of other genres. Rob Playford (Head Honcho of Moving Shadow and the guy who produced all of Goldie's best tracks) was one of the members of 2 Bad Mice.


I started university in 1992 and also commenced djing properly, spinning at Newcastle Uni's student union, and anywhere else that would have me. My grounding in rave back in my sixth form days took a step up for three reasons 1) My flatmate Dan McGuinness was a musical encyclopedia and had every single emerging house record worth buying, or in my case, borrowing. 2) I started to go to probably one of the best clubs in the UK, Shindig, which had just started, and it was here that over the next three years I would see the likes of Kenny Dope, Dave Morales and CJ Macintosh. 3) Cream started in the Autumn of 1992. I didnt set foor in the club until 1993, but when I did I got to see Dave Morales and Frankie Knuckles play and loop this track and I was mesmorised. House was now my thing.


Another record that came out in 1993. I saw Tony Humphries probably before I went to Cream if the truth be told, at a club called Rockshots in Newcastle City Centre. I think that was the first time I actually felt like a dj had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Tony played this track for 30 minutes and the crowd were in an organ-induced trance. Respect to the big man.


US house was massive in 1993. And this track was so worn out by me that I went through 3 copies! Awesome vocal, shuffling beats, great production. Sounds dated now, but I still love it.

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