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Baker's Dozen

Arcane Lore: Alasdair Roberts' Favourite Albums
Neil Macdonald , April 2nd, 2013 07:59

The Scottish folk artist picks out his top LPs, going from Bach to Kraftwerk by way of Bahamian field recordings and 14th-century French polyphonic classical music


Kraftwerk - Ralf And Florian
I don't listen to a great deal of electronic music, although sometimes I'll cock an ear to what's going on, see what the kids are listening to. I'll listen on the internet if it's some contemporary techno artist, but I don't really pursue it any further than seeing what's going on. My friend Tom Crossley, who plays in a group called International Airport, used to DJ quite a lot when I first moved to Glasgow in the mid nineties and he used to play this track 'Tanzmusik' from this album. Since then it's been one of those albums that I would return to. I like The Man-Machine and Radio-Activity as well, but this one is probably my favourite because it feels to me like they haven't properly figured out their concept yet. It's not quite as conceptually rigorous as some of their later albums. The Man-Machine and Radio-Activity seem dryly conceptual, whereas this has a bit more spontaneity, a bit more experimentalism and a bit more exuberance to it. It just sounds like two guys having fun in a basement. I picture them in a basement in Düsseldorf tinkering around with synthesisers and drum machines. What appeals to me about a lot of the sounds, is that even though they're electronically-generated they still sound organic, and quite warm. The drum machines sound almost human. It's electronic but it's not coldly electronic. There's a real humanity. This is one of two German artists on my list. I'm half German, so there's that aspect to my attraction to German music, I suppose.