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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


Various Artists – Street Sounds Electro 5
There isn't really one definitive album in that series. We were completely addicted to those Electro albums when they first came out. One of us had one album and we used to trade them between the lot of us. I bought Electro 2 and I was a bit pissed off at the time, but it's one of my favourites now. Electro 5 has got some of the best tunes on it. And Crucial Electro has got 'Clear' by Cybertron, which is amazing. Jerry Calliste, Jr. is a genius I think. He was the man behind 'Al Naafiysh' and High-Fidelity Three's 'B Boys Breakdance'. That's one of my favourite tunes on Electro 5. 'Breaker's Revenge' [by Arthur Baker] is a killer. Beat Street – the film and the soundtrack – was huge for me. I was a terrible breakdancer. Embarrassingly bad. I had a couple of moves and I could barely do those, but I loved the culture of it. UK Electro was also a key record – I found out recently that it's all by one guy.

It's perhaps easy to see this in retrospect, but there are lots of parallels between Detroit and Sheffield and Manchester. I can remember looking out at the cooling towers from my bedroom window. They were maybe two miles away. You could see a big urbanised bit to the side of it. It made the landscape magical listening to that music. I think this was probably what Kraftwerk were getting at originally. Talking about it now it seems obvious, but it adds magic to your own mundane landscape. You need that. That's what happened with Detroit techno. You've got this utterly bleak landscape and the only way to make it palatable is to lend it some kind of majesty.

I think we were very lucky growing up when we did. We had lots of momentous moments. Things are very fractured now. Back then, everybody had an opinion on something like Star Wars – especially boys, well, men now. We all have this notion that we were privy to something amazing. It's very rare now that something is that omnipresent. The whole thing with the electro scene was that it was a bit left of centre. I got a lot of stick for it at school. I can see why, looking back now. It was such a huge thing. It pushed you in a certain direction. I've grown up a bit now, but it used to be quite extreme. Y'know, like, "If you don't share my taste in music you can fuck off."