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Baker's Dozen

Beloved Transmissions: Mary Anne Hobbs' Favourite Albums
Daniel Dylan Wray , May 22nd, 2017 08:14

Ahead of her curation at the Manchester International Festival, Mary Anne Hobbs guides Daniel Dylan Wray on an inspiring trip through 13 records that shaped her life


Abul Mogard - Circular Forms
I love synthesisers, it resonates in a big way with me, it just does something very primary to me. The story goes that Abul Mogard is a retired old man and that he worked in a Serbian factory all of his life and then at the end of his working life he missed the sounds and the atmospheres of the environment so much that he started working with vintage Moogs and synthesisers, often building his own instruments so that he could build his own textures and atmospheres that he remembered from the factory. I've told this story many times on the radio and many times I've been contested and people have told me it's not true. A couple of people have told me it's Kode9, so I went to him and gave him the music and he said, "it's definitely not me". Also, texturally it's a totally different world. It's on Ecstatic Recordings and I've spoken to the label about his identity and all I get is a wall of silence.

I don't actually care if it's a fictional story or if it's true as for me that narrative and the nature of the music work perfectly harmoniously for me. I love it. I was a factory girl myself, when I left school at 16 I worked in a factory for a year. There's a romance to it, the sound of the machinery, the repetitiveness of the machinery and the depth of sound and the low frequency noise these machines emit is quite hypnotic. As much as factory work is entirely and utterly oppressive, spiritually and emotionally, there is something very compulsive about the nature of the sound that these machines emanate and I can understand that if you were to spend an entire lifetime in a factory then perhaps there's something quite comforting about that sound that you miss when it's absent from your life. If you ask everyone who knows me they'll tell you that I'm such a sucker because I take everything at face value, you can play any practical joke on me and I'll fall for it hook, line and sinker. I even fell for an April Fool's Day joke that FACT did about Berghain. I was outraged, I was honestly nearly writing letters! I'm so gullible; I'm just a sucker. Usually though, once the story has been contested then the truth will float to the top but with this instance the truth has been contested with me several times and no alternative truth has been presented as yet, so I like to buy into it. This album is a masterpiece and what's really fascinating about this album is that I can play a song like 'Slate Coloured Storm' to the weekend breakfast show audience and people will freak out in spite of the fact it's a really heavily textured piece of synth music which is a thousand fathoms deep. Every person I've played this record to I see react in the same way.