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Producer John Leckie On The Ten Essential Records He's Worked On
The Quietus , July 9th, 2009 07:39

Writing for the Quietus, producer John Leckie guides us through the ten records he's worked on that you must hear before you die

He might be best known for his work with the likes of the Stone Roses, Radiohead and Muse, but John Leckie is one of our most prolific and wide-ranging producers. Here, he looks back at some of the lesser known records that he's works on, and picks out his favourite ten. More recently. Leckie has been working on a project called India Soundpad, designed to encourage musical collaboration and connections between the subcontinent and UK. You can find out more about the project here, and listen to some of the artists involved on mySpace.

25 O'Clock/Psonic Psunspot by The Dukes of Stratosphear (Virgin 1986)

The Dukes are really another band: XTC in disguise. Truly psychedelic in a British way, lots of fun and beauty and 'Wow, how did they do that?'about it. Each track is a 'Spot The Influence'. File under humour and enjoy a Bike Ride to the Moon.

Real Life by Magazine (Virgin 1979)

Recorded in the snow at Ridge Farm and mixed at Abbey Road, Magazine were held in awe by many other bands around at time. This was their first record and it was bashed out punk style in a week but had a real class and style to it with arrangements and guitar sounds you just never heard before. Apart from the mysterious Howard Devoto the band and sound has been copied by many name bands. It can be played today thirty years later and sounds like a new record.

Quit Dreaming and Get On The Beam by Bill Nelson (Phonogram 1981)

Bill Nelson was in BeBop Deluxe in '70s and we did seven albums together for which I'm forever grateful 'cos he was the first guy to let me produce. Here he is solo and at his most creative and modern with favourites, 'Do You Dream in Colour?' and 'Living in My Limousine' etc. and it all sounds much like what's happening today with guitar and electronics. All instruments played by Bill.

Stormcock by Roy Harper (Harvest/Science Friction 1970)

Although I was just an Abbey Road lowly tape op/button pusher on this one, it has amazing sound and outstanding guitar work from Roy and Mr Page. Just four tracks on the record, including the epic 'Me and My Woman'. The full orchestra was kept waiting while me and Roy hastily edited the eight track tape to record on. I did many records with Roy and honoured to feel honoured to have known and been close to the man.

No CV by My Computer (Gut 2004)

Recorded in basement under Dave's flat in Urmston, Manchester over a year. Chesey, who could be the best singer in UK when he's on it, plays the songs on acoustic and Dave spends weeks messing and mashing - he's the most ingenious mathematician on the planet. He's currently working on Opus 4th Movement while Chesey continues as No Computer. Please check out and be amazed.

Whole Nutha Zone by Dr John (Parlophone 1998)

Dr John is from New Orleans and true American legend. Here he is at Abbey Road with various Brit bands including Supergrass, Spiritualized and Paul Weller. Finished record in New York with Dr John's touring band who are all big dudes from Detroit/New Awlins and somehow we managed to blend all styles and make an acclaimed album. Check 'I Like Kioka' and 'Hello God'.

Good Morning Azlan by Los Lobos (Mammoth 2002)

I know what you're going to say... most people know Los Lobos (The Wolves ) from La Bamba but really they are dirty blues band from East LA. Recorded at Cesar's house in Rowland Heights LA and wonderful mix of Spanish, Spanglish and major American traditional. An honour to work with esteemed players and music that lasts forever.

Afro Indian Project by Ravi (2001)

Recorded in my mate Ravi's kitchen in Muswell Hill this has beautiful blend of African kora played by Ravi and tabla from world renowned Bhikaram Ghosh and santoor sounds from Tarun Bhattacharya. Playable at any time any place.

Cosmic Jugalbandi by Suns of Arqua (Arqa Sounds 2002)

Suns of Arqua are cooperative group of international musicians led by Wadada who lives in the far, far north of Scotland but for last 25 years has made amazing dub collaborations with excellent Indian classical musicians. He sent me some Adats and I added drones and the whole record has an awesome floating richness to it.