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Baker's Dozen

Is This Music? Norman Blake's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , July 28th, 2021 13:06

From the overlooked influence of Throbbing Gristle to an enduring love of The Velvet Underground, via Broadcast, The Rolling Stones and more, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake picks the thirteen records that shaped him


Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats

I wanted to include this as it’s a little known fact that Raymond and I were big Throbbing Gristle fans and when we were younger, this was one of the things that we bonded over when we met. And here’s another little known fact: this album was recorded on a 16-track that Throbbing Gristle’s Peter Christopherson bought off Paul McCartney.

I was a big fan of their earlier singles and I really like this. The music is predominantly created by Chris Carter and I like that. There are some really nice musical moments on here – ‘Hot On The Heels Of Love’ is a lovely piece of music. And I think Chris Carter had a much bigger role in some of those earlier things. As far as I’m aware, Chris Carter came up with the artwork for ‘Something Came Over Me’ and, I think I may be wrong here, but I think he came up with the name for Industrial Records. People don’t talk so much about Chris Carter and Cosey when they talk about Throbbing Gristle; they tend to talk about Genesis P. Orridge or Peter Christopherson.

If not musically, it aesthetically influenced us and it’s something that we like. You have to find your own thing and you’re definitely the sum of your influences so we were definitely that. Now, you can’t hear a lot of Throbbing Gristle in what we do, for sure, but maybe the music I used to make with Duglas Stewart when we were young. We used to make cassette tapes together - we’d listen to John Peel and get the tape machine on and start hitting empty margarine tubs. They were early attempts at making music and those early Throbbing Gristle albums made us realise that we could do anything we wanted to. Some of the early stuff I did was abstract in the way Throbbing Gristle’s music was. But then, eventually, you find out that well, OK, I like listening to them and I like the aesthetic of that but there’s no way I could make this myself.