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Baker's Dozen

No Barrier Fun: Angus Andrew Of Liars' Favourite LPs
Luke Turner , April 16th, 2014 05:03

Liars have always been masters of mixing a boggling array of influences into a music that's unhinged, inventive and powerful. Here, Angus Andrew guides us through 13 of his favourite LPs, running the gamut from hip hop to smooth jazz and The Cure


Notorious B.I.G. - Ready To Die
It's impossible for me to put into words how I feel when I hear Biggie's voice. I just can't do it. I get choked up trying to explain. He is in my opinion one of the greatest recording artists that ever lived and I'm 1000% certain there will never be anyone who comes remotely close to his skill with rhyming words. It's just that simple. He is the best that ever did it. Needless to say any record he put out is a big, big deal to me and quite obviously any that he made before his untimely death could sit happily in my Baker's Dozen. But I've gotta go to the source. To the moment when he first stepped on to the world stage. Ready To Die - I'm not sure there's even the remote possibility of a debut record with a tougher title. It sets the tone immediately - bleak, but confident as hell. The intro, as is the case with more than a few hip-hop records (I'm thinking of Doggystyle and 3 Feet High And Rising) is brilliant. Its a really smart three minutes or so outlining the musical history from Biggie's birth (Superfly by Curtis Mayfield), to his early years ('Rapper's Delight' by The Sugarhill Gang), his crime years ('Top Billin'' by Audio Two), to getting out of jail ('Tha Shiznit' by Snoop Dogg). I always appreciated the care it took to put that piece together - well done Sean Combs! From there on it's just lyrical mastery. Song after song revealing the genius of Biggie over great but minimal beats, bass and samples.

The music is a perfect illustration of what's so attractive to me about 90s era hip-hop. Great repetition. It's something that has always influenced Liars' music - getting stuck in a groove and just leaving it there. No need to make things tricky. In my view the really great music is super simple and often super repetitive. Yes, I love smart and complex basslines like you'll find on 'Love Is The Drug' by Roxy Music but when push comes to shove give me the never ending super duper simple recurring bass refrain you hear in 'Warning' - track five of Ready To Die. That's the kind of thing that gets me excited and the thing that has most influenced Liars.