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Baker's Dozen

Aides-Memoires: Ben UFO Selects 13 Favourite Records
Rory Gibb , December 4th, 2013 05:35

Ahead of Hessle Audio's three-room takeover of Fabric this Friday, the DJ and Hessle Audio co-founder rifles through his record collection and discusses thirteen particular favourites with Rory Gibb


Elgato - 'Tonight'/'Blue'

[The gradual divergence of the three Hessle co-founders' DJing approaches] is probably one of the reasons why we're releasing less [on Hessle Audio], because we look at the curation of the label in the same way we always have: it has to bridge the three of our tastes, it has to resonate with the three of us, and it feels as though there is less music around that satisfies that criteria. The thing I worry about is whether or not it will restrict us to releasing music from people we've already worked with. We've almost always ended up becoming friends with the people we've worked with, and obviously when you have that connection to what someone is doing musically and personally, the music will resonate with you more readily, if that makes any sense. Knowing Elgato, for example, gave me such a different insight into his music because the music he writes is very personal to him.

So that's something that I've thought about - is all that links us together now the stuff we've released in the past? I don't think so; I think we will find new producers to work with who are doing interesting things, but I think our discovery of those people will be less frequent, and we'll argue more about what makes sense and what doesn't, which means we won't be able to make quick decisions... which is a handicap these days. If you're running a label people understandably might want answers quicker than we're able to give them. I actually don't mind that really, I'm not that worried about it - I've never wanted to run a label that's in competition with XYZ label for the new cool thing, because there's no shortage of labels to release new, cool music. I'm much happier releasing music that I don't think would come out otherwise. That's a soundbite we've always given when people ask us what we want to achieve with the label – that we want to put out music that no-one else would.

For example, I can't imagine the first Elgato record sitting comfortably anywhere else, and I'm really glad we released it. This might be doing Elgato a disservice, but I think the fact that we put it out helped give the record some context, which hopefully helped people make sense of it when it did come out. It was fantastically well received despite it being a fantastically weird record. I would definitely like it to be in the list - that's record number two, I guess, 'Tonight' and 'Blue'.

It was a nice way to show people that we were willing to release music that was four-to-the-floor and slower, and it was a nice way to demonstrate to people that the scope of the label was actually quite broad. That makes it it sound as though it was a very calculated thing - 'oh brilliant, we can tell people that we're interested in house music now'. It wasn't like that at all - it was just two tunes that I felt very emotionally invested in putting out, but it did just happen to signal a shift. It was at a time when I think lots of producers were thrashing around a bit and grasping at whatever was around, whereas that record really felt as though he was doing something personal to him which just happened to touch on something quite unusual. [Though] that's sort of veering a bit close to a kind of authenticity claim, which would be the worst possible way to look at that record, it's just not relevant.

I think one of the interesting things about the first Elgato record is that, despite the fact that it it was received universally positively, people had really wildly different interpretations of its mood and vibe. I think it's quite an open sounding record, which is interesting in and of itself, because I think it was written it with a particular atmosphere and emotional intent in mind. I don't want to blather on about what he might or might not have meant by it, but some people saw it as a very uplifting record - which I think it is - and some people saw it as this very dark, heavy, sludgy, oppressive release. I like that it's open enough for people to project a few different things onto it.