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Baker's Dozen

Unresolved And Discordant: Pearson Sound's Favourite Albums
Lauren Martin , March 12th, 2015 16:59

With his debut album released this week, the Hessle Audio producer talks Lauren Martin through his top 13 formative records ahead of his appearance at the Bloc weekender


KRS-One - A Retrospective
I used to really devour music reviews - I'm pretty sure I subscribed to Q magazine when I was a young teenager - and if something got four or more stars in a couple of publications, I'd go check it out. I do remember having to search quite hard for A Retrospective, though, and eventually got it from a supermarket. Listening to it alongside Gang Starr and the Beastie Boys, this period was my introduction to a more "conscious" style of hip-hop: they do called KRS-One 'The Teacher', and on a lot of the tracks he's spreading a positive message.

This came out in 2000, when I was 12 or 13, so it did feel like an education. I did a lot of digging about who he was: what crew he came from, what part of NYC he came from. I found it quite overwhelming and while I may not have understood much of what he was discussing, I find correlations in more contemporary things I listen to. Tracks like 'South Bronx' remind of me the way DJ Bone weaves signifiers of Detroit into his tracks, and in turn of how geography can link to sound. I wonder: "Could my particular style of music come from anywhere else?" "Could dubstep have begun anywhere other than South London?"

Overall, though, retrospectives can really give you an understanding of the cultural importance of an artist. A Retrospective allowed me to digest a pretty intense back catalogue in a considered way, rather than being a snapshot of a particular time. It stays with me when I think of retrospectives like Anthony 'Shake' Shakir's Frictionalism 1994-2009, or the Charles Cohen records that Morphosis put me onto: knowing that there are people devoted to curating tracks as a part of history is quite a comfort.