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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


Autechre - Incunabula
I kept the faith with Warp Records right through the 90s. When they started the Artificial Intelligence series of ambient techno, I was totally into it and utterly immersed. It made total sense to me for the music to move away from the dancefloor into home listening territory. I always had that sort of artist-led, album-orientated mentality anyway, but 1993 was a year of big changes for me. My dad had died the year before, which sobered up my life quite considerably ("Where Were U In '92?" At Southmead Hospital watching my old man slowly dying of lung cancer, thanks for asking) and then I got married in '93 and was generally spending less time goofing around being an idiot with my mates, more time building a nest with my new wife and trying to be a responsible adult for a change.

All the Artificial Intelligence albums were the soundtrack to that time for me. They were an escape route into alien landscapes far from the pain and responsibilities of the real world. I loved all those albums by Aphex Twin, Black Dog Productions, B12, Speedy J and Richie Hawtin's F.U.S.E.. I think Incunabula was the last of the series and still the best one of all. And even though Autechre went on to make loads of other amazing records, this one will always have a special place in my heart. It's by far the most overtly melodic and emotional-sounding Ae album. Possibly because it was all recorded pre-fame, before they had unlimited access to all those fancy gizmos and software and had no 'reputation' to worry about. It just sounds very natural, organic and unselfconscious.

Like many of the albums on this list, I first bought Incunabula on cassette. I had to drive a lot with my work, and I liked listening to music on my Walkman, so it made sense to buy albums on cassette. It was a practical thing, rather than an aesthetic standpoint [as it is] today. Consequently, I only heard this album on cassette for at least ten years, so it always had that slightly smudged effect you get with tape sound, which is so intrinsic to the sounds I work with now.

Warp released so many important albums in this decade, but I'm trying not to be too Warp-centric with this list. I really got into Seefeel after hearing their remix of Autechre's 'Basscad', which was like proto-dubstep. Both their albums Quique (on Too Pure) and Succour were on my shortlist for this. They seemed to be picking up on some of the ideas from Spacemen 3, taking that extended drone thing but adding the dub influences. Then there was Haunted Dancehall by The Sabres Of Paradise, with all the heavily-treated drum sounds, and still one of the best album titles ever! The Black Dog's Spanners and Plaid's Not For Threes are also worthy of a mention.