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Baker's Dozen

Semi-Chaotic Elements: Ekoplekz' Favourite Albums
The Quietus , June 4th, 2015 11:11

With his third album on Planet Mu out, Nick Edwards gives us an in-depth trawl through his top 13 LPs, a Baker's Dozen that scans his formative 90s electronica influences and acts as a "reference point" to Reflekzionz


Techno Animal - Re-Entry
Another example of a gigantic, sprawling double-CD album. But you could see it was designed to be an album of two distinct halves. Broadly speaking, the first half was all narcotically slow acid breakbeat jams (if I was some lazy journo wanker I'd probably say it sounded like The Chemical Brothers on ketamine, but I'm not, so I won't) whilst the second half wandered into the darkest hinterlands of ambient and drone. At the time it was the first half that really grabbed me initially, and in particular tracks like 'Flight Of The Hermaphrodite' which, to my mind at the time, seemed to be tapping into some of the old post-punk ideas concerning ethno-industrial soundscapes. Play it back-to-back with Cabaret Voltaire's 'A Touch Of Evil', '24 Track Loop' by This Heat or 23 Skidoo's Seven Songs album and the connections seemed clear. But they were working with trumpeter Jon Hassell, who I didn't know anything about at that time, and subsequently learned of his pioneering work in minimalism and fourth world music.

Looking back, I think it's the second half that really sets this album apart as something quite unique and visionary for its time. With the breakbeats and 303 acid lines gradually receding, all links to the contemporary dance music of the era begin to dissolve into the void, until we reach the point of almost total narcotic stasis on the 21-minute 'Cape Canaveral', which dwells in a dark, isolationist void. I had to laugh when I read some journo saying one of my own recent slowly-evolving longer tracks might 'try the listener's patience'. Compared to his, my tune is pop music! It just goes to show how shot-away some people's attention spans are these days.

Techno Animal were of course Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick, who both came to electronic music from a different trajectory to most of the artists in this list, having served time in the industrial-metal scene with God/Godflesh and with Martin going on to work with people like Pete Kember (whose previous outfit Spacemen 3 was one of the very few examples of an indie/rock band that I could relate to) as well as curating the Macro Dub Infection series. As such he did much to open up my headspace to other avenues of exploration beyond the confines of what might be labelled as techno-derived music, particularly in the areas of minimalism and drone theory. These days he's better known as The Bug and a member of King Midas Sound, but the lines of influence run long and deep with this guy, so it was a real honour for me when Kevin expressed his appreciation for what I've been doing. In fact he was an early supporter, contacting me shortly after the release of my first 12" back in 2010, attending my London debut gig at the Vortex early the following year and generally flying the flag on my behalf ever since.