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Baker's Dozen

Harmonic Worlds: Colin Newman's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , July 17th, 2018 10:09

The Immersion, Wire and Githead founder member chooses a list that goes from minimalism to maximalism, via Steve Reich, LFO and Todd Rundgren, and tells Ben Graham how Britpop was rubbish but The Beatles have never sounded better


To Rococo Rot - The Amateur View
How I got to know about it was through knowing their original record label Kitty-Yo and working with people in Berlin and going over there, and then I met Ronald, and this album summed up a moment for me. Dance music had so completely dominated the 90s. Really you could only ever talk about music in terms of the beat. There was techno and electro and then there was drum & bass, and they were so dominant; there was no other music. I remember thinking at the time, at the height of drum & bass, why would you listen to any other kind of music besides drum & bass? That's the only kind of music there is. There's Britpop, but that's rubbish. And then towards the end of the 90s all that started to fade and there was Tortoise suddenly appearing with what Americans who didn't do dance music did as instrumental music. And then from Germany you had To Rococo Rot. I think they gave me that record, because I think the version I've got is a promo. And again it's one of those records we just listen to over and over again.

Wire did a tour, I think it was in 2000, and when we started we hadn't provided any music to go on before the band. And in every venue they were playing something like Soundgarden. Sorry, but I can't stand Soundgarden. I can't take it. So then we said well why don't we give them some music to put on? And I had that album, so we had that on before every show and it was really good. It was like you have some thrashy support band and then some thrashy dirge playing after that and then Wire coming on and it's like an evening of dirge. So to lighten it up we put something else on that puts the audience in a different space. And it also set us up in a different way. We got to feel differently about what we were doing. It was very effective for that.

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