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Baker's Dozen

Curiosity, Community, Cacophony: Helm's Baker's Dozen
Mat Colegate , November 17th, 2021 12:56

Helm, aka Luke Younger, takes us through the 13 records that shaped his prolific career, from a teenage love of Manic Street Preachers and Therapy? to chance encounters with Bob Tilton and John Luther Adams


Pan Sonic – Kesto (234.48:4)

This one came out when I was living in Nottingham and it was when I was just getting into noise music. This was around the time when the idea of what would be considered a traditional album was starting to be shattered a bit for me. The idea of an album being four CDs long seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but one I was willing to go with. My friend bought this and put that first CD on and that first track with the really primitive beat and the brutal blasts of noise… I was hooked. That moment just got me. I’ve been a massive Pan Sonic, Mika Vainio fan ever since. There’s nothing else that sounds like it really.

It’s insanely overwhelming and visceral at its most extreme moments, but they’ve got this knack of completely cutting back to where there’s barely anything there. That fluctuation between the two extremes is something that they and he did so well. I don’t think anyone else has really ever done it that well.

Also something I find interesting about Pan Sonic which I feel like a lot of people don’t really talk about that much, is that for an electronic band it feels like they wore their rock influences on their sleeves. So much of the drum programming has an almost Stooges-y swagger to it. It has this looseness that really feels like punk rock at times.

Nowadays it sometimes feels that, whereas rock music got over its aversion to electronic textures a long time ago, electronic music fans still have this problem with their music being overtly ‘rocking’. There’s a suspicion of that kind of abandon.

I think that’s definitely true. This also goes back to the ‘90s. I was into rock music and electronic music at the time, and it didn’t feel like the two things necessarily had to be exclusive to one another. Rock bands and electronic bands were collaborating. It did seem like there was a somewhat conscious idea to push the two together.

You had stuff like the Spawn soundtrack.

Yeah, and the Judgement Night soundtrack as well. But there was always a mystery to me about electronic music in terms of its production, which I guess I never really had with rock music. But the two definitely didn’t feel like they had to exist in different spaces.

It’s starting to change, I think. A lot of gen Z kids are coming up and approaching electronic music in a way that feels more influenced by metal, rock and hardcore. I think that will become more of a thing over the coming decade.