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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


Broadcast – Tender Buttons

Funnily enough, I’m a big fan of synthesizers and I like them a lot. We have actually a bit of a collection of them in the band. We use them occasionally on our records but not in the way that Broadcast used them. I’ve always loved drum machines and we’ve got a Mini-Moog, a Jupiter 4, a Roland SH-02, a Roland SH-101 and in the past I’ve had a Roland TR-808 drum machine, I’ve had a 606 and so I’ve always had an interest in synthesizers and synthesizer music.

I like the sound of this record a lot. It’s all these little drum machines and what sound to me like cheap synthesizers that have been treated in some way with some fuzzy and squelchy pedals. I think it’s mainly Trish Keenan and James Cargill on this record.

‘I Found The F’, which is right at the very beginning, that sorta reminds me of The Wicker Man. It crosses into that folk thing, this record, in a strange way. It has all these drum machines and synthy sounds but bits of this also remind me of Davey Graham.

Broadcast were slightly overshadowed by Stereolab, who you can place them with a bit, but there is more of a folky-thing in what they do. But there are other droney things on here that you put you in mind of Krautrock and I love the tonality of it; it has some dryness to it among the reverb and if you listen to it on headphones then it really sits in the middle of your head. Trish Keenan’s voice is brilliant; it was so lovely and amazing.

Euros Childs and I have a band and we’ve talked recently about making an album that’s all keyboards. He’s made a few albums that are just synths and we’ve talked about doing one with the collection of keyboards that we have. It’s something that I’d really like to do and I have an ambition to do it and not have a single guitar on there. You can create all sorts of textures and tones from keyboards. And especially using analogue synths because a lot of those old ones have their own personality. But yeah – I love the tonality of this record.