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Baker's Dozen

Semi-Chaotic Elements: Ekoplekz' Favourite Albums
The Quietus , June 4th, 2015 11:11

With his third album on Planet Mu out, Nick Edwards gives us an in-depth trawl through his top 13 LPs, a Baker's Dozen that scans his formative 90s electronica influences and acts as a "reference point" to Reflekzionz

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Global Communication - 76:14
This was the work of Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard, better known back then as Reload, who made some fine homegrown techno records. But for sheer, unabashed loveliness, you can't beat 76:14, which is probably the last word on the sort of luxurious, saccharine-laced, highly melodic ambient techno of that era. There was a lot of it about at the time, in the wake of Warp's Artificial Intelligence initiative. Beaumont Hannant released his Texturology album the same year, which narrowly missed inclusion in this list, but which seemed to be reaching for similar giddy heights of euphoric, atmospheric balm.

The epic '14:31' is probably the epitome of that style; almost beatless other than the ponderous ticking of a grandfather clock as endless waves of analogue synth, electric piano and soothing 'aaaahs' weave their magic spell. Things get a bit livelier later on, with '8:07' picking up the pace with some very Tangerine Dream-style arpeggios, but by the final '12:18', the vibe has almost completely flatlined into a gossamer haze somewhere between Eno's Ambient series and Clannad.

I loved the fact they recorded the album at their little studio in Crewkerne, halfway between Yeovil and Chard in deepest Somerset. Being a West Country boy myself, I had fond memories of passing through those sort of zones as a child, heading down to the Dorset coastline for family holidays. But I must admit, listening back now, I feel there's something a bit cloying about all that fluffy prettiness, and this record acts more as a signifier of the times and a gateway to some pleasant memories. It's something I would only dip back into very occasionally now, when the mood takes me, but I guess, in a way, this is extreme music. So-called 'intelligent' techno had to see how far it could go in that direction, before finding other avenues to explore, but of course a whole industry of electronic 'chillout' records followed in its wake, but that wasn't a place I felt any need to dwell in for much longer.


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