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Baker's Dozen

Ancient Rhythms, Global Rhythms: Pete Wareham's Favourite Records
Adam Quarshie , April 1st, 2020 09:28

Via his ensemble Melt Yourself Down, saxophonist Pete Wareham reimagines the rhythms and melodies of Nubia. Adam Quarshie caught up with him to discuss some of his influences, from the music of Egypt and Sudan to the music of East London.


Wiley - ‘Back With A Banger’
Obviously, I'd been listening to hip hop since the mid-80s and kept half an eye on all that stuff as it grew. I was involved in rave culture really early, Spiral Tribe raves and stuff like that and clubbing in Leeds in the early 90s. There was always this really hard UK Garage sound that was great. I loved it. Wiley's come from being a kind of garage MC, one of those guys we listened to on pirate radio in Leeds. He's still got that really underground sound, the way he spits and he never loses that energy either. I was listening to his first album the other day and it still sounds like the future to me. It sounds so contemporary.

When you actually analyse grime rhythms, a lot of it is from Nubian rhythms and a lot of the scales are Nubian scales, Algerian scales. When you hear grime, it just sounds like someone's car in the street in London. But then you analyse it and you realise there's all these global influences - it sounds like the whole world. This is what I wanted Melt Yourself Down to be. I wanted to try and create a sound that felt like the whole world.

I noticed on your new album you've got a track, 'From The Mouth,' which has kind of a grime rhythm.

A garage thing, yeah. 'From The Mouth' is funny. I was on tour with Nadine Shah and I was just chatting to my mate on the phone and he started talking about People Just Do Nothing. And I was like, "what's that?", because I don't really watch TV. And he said, "what do you mean? It's a brilliant comedy, you've got to watch it". So at 10 clock at night in my hotel room, I literally watched all five seasons in one night til about 6 in the morning. The next day, I was working on this tune. I was like right, I'm going to make a garage tune. I'd been working on this drum groove and at one point I just googled 'garage drum groove' and put it into the track.