Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

4. PortisheadDummy

When I was drawing up the list, I wanted to start with an album that had come out in the last few years. I had a long list, maybe 50 albums, and there were some recent albums and tracks I’ve liked in the last few months. But, when I’m saying these are my favourite 13 albums that matter the most, I realised there wasn’t anything much from the last 15 to 20 years, which is a little sad to me. There are albums that I love – don’t get me wrong. I nearly included a Daft Punk album, as they changed things a little and I played that a lot when it came out. I thought The Killers’ debut album was a good record.

It sounds like a Duran record!

It had been noted that there were some influences in there. What I tried to do when I realised I had four times the amount of albums I needed, was to pick the ones that really changed things. To me, Portishead’s album Dummy was the last album that changed an aspect of music. It was my favourite album of the 1990s. It was beautifully crafted, with its use of trip-hop beats along with the Tricky album [Maxinquaye], which came out around the same time and I also liked them very much.

Portishead changed things because the aspect that changed the most in the nineties was rhythms. Hip-hop and house came out in the eighties and right at the very end we had rave and techno, but this came along and was a slower, moodier groove and made a real statement. I also think Massive Attack’s Blue Lines was of a similar vein, maybe a little more melancholic but a stunning record.

Dummy has a beauty that has gotten lost in music somehow. The way it is so finely crafted – every sound on it – and the songwriting is exquisite. They really are brilliant songs. I remember when I heard it I was astonished. It’s not very often I hear an album and think "I wish I’d written that". As an album, Dummy is a perfect listening experience from start to finish. I bow my top hat to the way it was put together.

PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today