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Baker's Dozen

Funk Soul Brother: Alexis Taylor Of Hot Chip's Favourite Albums
Dom Smith , July 17th, 2014 12:58

With his second solo album Await Barbarians released last month and a run of summer festival sets upcoming, the Hot Chip and About Group man gives Dom Smith his favourite album rundown


Gang Starr - Hard To Earn
When I was growing up, hip-hop was pretty new. My oldest brother was really into it. Also, we had MTV from about 1990 onwards, so you'd see all these different people - A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and Gang Starr - just became a soundtrack to whatever we were doing. I picked that one because I love DJ Premier's production, but also Guru's voice. I'm a big fan of the experimentation within hip-hop. Nowadays, people feel hip-hop has gone mainstream or whatever, but at that time, people were making records that were sampling very out there, experimental music, but combining them with parts from classical or jazz recordings, resulting in this very dense collage of sounds that is at times not even very melodic, but it's always got an amazing groove to it. It was those aspects in combination with Guru's voice, I just found it really inventive and exciting. Also, I would listen to it, and want to know where the samples had come from, and then I would go on missions to try and track things down. I think there was a Monk Higgins sample used on the track, 'Code Of The Streets', and that's just very alien-sounding. It's very basic, but it uses this beautiful violin part all the way through the track. They must have just been listening to such a wide variety of music, and what they've come out with is much more interesting that what came out post that era of hip-hop. You get some songs where there's a whole song taken, with just new lyrics added on. Back then though, there would have been as many as forty songs sampled in one song sometimes.