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Baker's Dozen

We Like To Dig The Roots: Coldcut's Favourite Albums
Lottie Brazier , May 24th, 2017 08:03

As Ninja Tune founders and Coldcut men Matt Black and Jonathan More release a new Adrian Sherwood-produced new LP they talk Lottie Brazier through the records that sparked their lifetime of eclectic music-making


Deadly Headley – 35 Years From Alpha
MB: Music For 18 Musicians was a good track to play on the radio because it's a long and gives you a chance to skin up and decide what you're going to do next. What we did was play this Lee Perry dub track. I felt that it was a great example of how just by juxtaposing two pieces of music, you could make a statement about the connections between very disparate styles. But actually, with Steve Reich, and also with Arrival, you have something which is quite rarified and electronic and both of those are almost neo-classical. It's a rather unsatisfactory term but no-one's come up with anything better. Systems music is just too generic a term, so maybe we'll just have to settle for neo-classical. It does touch on the relationship that those compositions have with classical music, but anyway – from that to dub, which you could consider a kind of "black systems music" - it's a lot about repetition and subtle changes and space.
So Deadly Headley was coming from that quite avant-garde black music fusion tradition. It was released by On-U Sound and we've collaborated with Sherwood on this new Coldcut album. On-U Sound was very much a precursor to Ninja Tune, because it embodied a lot of characteristics which we thought were very cool, using dub to mash hip hop, reggae, punk together. There was a strong political stance to it and a strong graphic identity. My mates gave me this record for my 21st birthday. I lived with a bunch of guys, we used to get high and listen to music together. And it was a very formative period, pre-Coldcut. A lot of the music that I have listed fits into this period and I think it's fair enough for someone of my age to have the strongest feeling for music that I experienced during that very formative time. I like to dig the roots, you know? In order to know where you are, you have to dig them.

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