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Baker's Dozen

Elements Of Confusion: Nick McCabe Of Black Submarine's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , March 11th, 2014 09:21

With New Shores, the long-awaited debut by Black Submarine, out this week, the former Verve guitarist goes from teenage mainstays to recently-heard favourites in his top 13 albums


John Carpenter – Halloween (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I grew up in the seventies – the era of the video nasty. My friend had Betamax, while we had VHS, but it seemed like Betamax had all the best horror movies. That was the time when I got exposed to quite a lot of electronic music. I was going to chuck in A Clockwork Orange's soundtrack too. It was 'Timesteps' on that that made the big impression. That and Holst's The Planets. I started to enjoy being frightened by music. My partner at the moment really doesn't understand that. She's a real soul and R&B fanatic. She doesn't get the fact that music's got to scare you.

The Halloween soundtrack gives me a knot in my stomach… that's become a mark of quality for me in music over the years. Unless it's IBS [chuckles]. It's the tension. Quite a lot of my descriptions of music have little tags like "nosebleed". Music can induce a very physical response. I developed this theory that music was analogous to physical activity. Like sneezing; something as simple as that. It mirrors the rhythms of the body. A couple of years back I got Phantasm on DVD and the music on that had a similar effect. It's clear to me now, looking back after years and years of being a music fan, that John Carpenter's stuff in general opened up another field of things I enjoyed in music. The whole krautrock thing. There's a huge element of fear in that. And John Carpenter's work on Escape From New York… that dense, heavy atmosphere. He was consistently brilliant up until about 1988 when the novelty of synthesisers wore off. They became a kind of cheesy thing. But during that era, there wasn't that kitschy element to electronic music – it was genuinely seen as otherworldly and that still comes through to this day. The best of it transcends that kitsch vibe. Like Computer World by Kraftwerk. That sounds more modern and harder than most of the electronic music being made today. It seems weird to me really – to put this ironic slant on something that still works.