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Baker's Dozen

Future Islands Discs: Samuel T. Herring's Favourite Albums
Patrick Clarke , October 14th, 2020 08:40

From teenage years spent amassing an arsenal of underground hip hop CDs to his first forays into jazz, post-rock and indie, Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring picks thirteen records that soundtracked his coming of age


Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand

Roots Manuva was probably one of the very first British rap artists that I’d ever heard. I guess I was familiar with Ninja Tune and Big Dada, their rap label and I loved New Flesh For Old, they put out an amazing album called Equilibrium that I loved, but that might have been after I found Roots Manuva. I love his voice. Voice is so important to me in rap music, I think it’s one of those things that can make or break an artist, you can have an amazing writer but if they have a terrible voice you don’t want to listen to them, or you can have a really bad writer who has an amazing voice and you’re like ‘I can get behind this’! To me Roots Manuva just has such a full, melodious voice and an ease to his flow. But also, the production on this record is awesome. This album still gives me this feel of swelling inside an empty place in my chest, like it’s speaking to the void of my own loneliness.

From the very first track on the album the use of silence in the song is almost as strong as the use of anything else, the way it swells and goes away. It was just like nothing I’d ever heard before. It’s something that, on this newest Future Islands record there’s a song called ‘City’s Face’ that we had put all these drums into, and it had taken it from a more searching, open, fragile thing, to give it a bit more life and energy. I was thinking about this Roots Manuva album and we just stripped them all away again. All of a sudden this ache flooded back into the silence.