iDJ 2009: 6x6
Future Sound of London were one of the most influential acts of the early '90s with tracks like "Papua New Guinea" and "Accelerator". Now performing mostly as Amorphous Androgynous, Gaz Cobain and Brian Dougans live deep inside a cosmic bubble, which we try not to burst as Gaz talks us through 36 of his all-time favourite records...
Six Early Influences
Joy Divison - Closer
"My teenage disposition for adolescent self-absorption was indulged by bands such as Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure and The Chameleons. Producer Martin Hannett laid the foundations for my earliest sonic education by combining synths and electronic pads with the songwriting of Ian Curtis. It was beautiful, atmospheric and timeless. I find most modern indie rock limited compared to the depth of this record."
Anything by the Cocteau Twins
"Swamping, epic, swirling elegiac melodies with layer upon layer of flanging, echoing guitars topped by Liz Fraser's emotive and blissful voice. We worked with her on "Lifeforms" in 1993. She is one of the greatest female vocalists of all time in my opinion and I still kick myself I didn't achieve the greatness I yearned for in that collaboration, despite it being a number 13 hit."
Erik Satie - Trois Gymnopedies
"This is a searingly sad piano composition. Most of my early influences had this reflective euphoric sadness which infiltrates most of the melodies in the Future Sound of London music. I reacted against this in Amorphous Androgynous in '97, when I returned to my earlier influences like psychedelic rock, but I still dissolve into this meditative, nostalgic, euphoric sadness whenever I hear Satie."
The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request
"I formed my first band when I was 15 and my friend brought this into school to show off its holographic cover. I had never seen anything like it but then I had never heard anything like it either! "2000 Light Years From Home" is a trippy psych-rock monster. Jagger has never sounded so cosmic since."
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
"Obsessed with this as a teenager and I still am. Its double vocal narrative on a theme of sedation and the human consciousness is so resonant. Listen to this while reading a David Icke book like "Children of the Matrix" and it takes on a much darker subtext."
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Wooden Ships
"One of my favourite tracks of all time. "If you smile at me, I will understand/Cos that is the one thing everyone elsewhere does in the same language" - it says it all really; a harmonious message of universal peace that's sorely missing in much modern music."
Six Records That Never Let You Down
Miles Davis - Rated X
"The cosmic liberation of Miles and the studio wizardry of Bill Laswell is the perfect synergy. I heard this at a time when I was beginning to tire of the quantised sterility of electronic music and thus we were working on the 'Far Out Son of Lung' phase of FSOL. I wanted looseness coupled with the production and depth, but also a performance from the heart. This has it all in buckets, a perfect voodoo swamp groove!"
The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
"I hung with Ian Astbury in LA for several weeks in '97. The man is a comedic zen freewheelin' poet! We made a list entitled The Mojo Filter and pinned it to the wall: ten rules for the integration of the psychedelic song with electronics and sampling. "Sanctuary" kicks ass. It always surprises audiences when I play it, you get a palpable wave of euphoria from them every time."
Bo Diddley - Elephant Man
"You'd have to be dead not to wiggle, jive and pogo to this blistering funk/blues/rock workout. The voice howls and carries rhythm and urgency in every syllable, underpinned by pure raw funk blues."
Betty Davis - If I'm in Luck (I Might Get Picked Up)
"The sexiest groupie/junkie of the '70s? I don't know the true facts of this woman, but during a brief marriage to Miles Davis she certainly turned him onto psychedelia, the cosmic vibe and a lot more beside. Horribly underrated in her day but she attracted some of the finest session musicians to underpin her with a bitchew brew of congas, rawk, soul and funk in equal measure. This was brazen even for the '70s."
The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
"As a family in the '70s we used to listen to Beatles records, but after many years without hearing this, I heard it in '97 and it totally floored me. The backwards multi-track sound effects, drum tape loops and Lennon intoning the Tibetan Book of the Dead... it's magical! It helped instigate the beginning of the Amorphous Androgynous, a ten year journey exploring a whole palette of cosmic space music."
Donovan - Barabajagal
"Donovan hit gold with the Jeff Beck Band cranking out the rock voodoo backtrack to his cosmic tome. Mickie Most's production, coupled with the zen psych bohemia of the Bard himself, created this funky psychedelic rock monster."
Six Records You Wish Were Never Made
The Future Sound of London - We Have Explosive
"We wrote this as a knee-jerk reaction in '96 to people not understanding our more interesting and immersive audio journeys, but it misfired when it became successful. We hated it for a whole decade! But now we love it as a simple riff-tastic bit of techno/electro. We've even started playing a sitar groove version of it at Amorphous Androgynous live gigs."
Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
"It's a shame, the backing and energy are great but it's the sentiment that makes me include it here. It epitomises what went wrong with dance music at the end of the '90s: big beats for small boys, all attitude, aggression and misogyny and no soul. Sorry Liam! Strangely, though, I do like "Firestarter"."
Any of the current "I'm 20 and I sing about every mundane detail of my life with a fake Larndon accent" artists.
"I'm referring to people like Kate Nash, here. I just don't get it, they're probably all public school kids from music academies hiding behind this 'street' affectation. I guess I also include The Streets in this category, though they do have redeeming qualities."
Any Madonna record
A pre-mediated, calculating marketing queen. She epitomises why music became so corporate, cold and band-led. Empowering women is not her game, she's only interested in remaining famous. You can hear all of this in the music, which doesn't move me on any level. Apart from "Get Into the Groove" - that's wicked!"
Massive Attack - Teardrop
"Because I love Liz Fraser and regret not capturing the greatness I wanted so much in our FSOL collaboration with her. I couldn't listen to this track for a year or so, I just shut it out and denied its existence. But then I got over myself and I have to admit it's a beauty."
Oasis - Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
"There are actually far more deserving targets than Oasis - 99 per cent of the bland identikit indie bands and the manufactured radio fodder pop, for example - but as a mystic once said, "To hate something means you also have to love it," and the truly appalling aren't even worthy of discussion. Oasis, however, have pretentious to be one of the great 'serious' rock bands and, to my mind, they just don't deliver."
Six Secret Cheesy Loves
Andrew Gold - Lonely Boy
"I hate the word cheesy. This is simply a brilliant song, the sort that isn't made any more. Its sensibility and harmonies come from a different era, but I think it would be sensible if written now."
Bill Wyman - Je Suis Un Rock Star
"A mockney tale of rock stars owning chateaus in France and picking up young groupies in London discotheques, all set to a Casio disco beat. It's gloriously lo-fi and ironic, and it was made while Blur were still at school. I live in France most of the time now and I love this for obvious reasons."
Gunther Kallman Choir - Daydream
"Brian and I started searching '70s orchestral singers and cover versions about ten years ago in the hope of finding some truly unexpected musical treasures. This is the sort of a massed choir singing in an easy listening '70s orchestral vibe but with a fat swinging beat."
Neil Diamond - Cracklin' Rose
"As an escape from the bad indie, crap pop and boring techno that began to dominate the late '90s we seriously got into Neil Diamond. I tried to incorporate this into DJ mixes but in retrospect it probably was a step too far from "Lifeforms"! It always went down a storm at my birthday bashes though!"
The Osmonds - Crazy Horses
"Never mind the horses, what a crazy tune! This is basically The Osmonds doing a glammed-up, stomping psychedelic pop song. From the screeching opening horse emulator and the synth line onward, it's just brilliant. I wonder what they were thinking when they made this?"
Cover versions of Light My Fire
"I started searching for alternative versions of classic songs around '97. "Light My Fire" transcribes well in all forms as the melodies are so strong, from the sitar raga of Ananda Shankar's version to Shirley Bassey's rendition and "Pan Pipes play The Doors" (my fave)."
Six Afterhours Tunes
Duke Pearson - The Phantom
"The sleaziest cocktail jazz raga with an infectious brooding flute on a sliding eastern modality that clocks in at over 11 minutes. Perfect for afterhours sessions in an opium den!"
Vangelis O Papathanassious - Let it Happen
"This is epic, spiritual and deeply experimental post-rock. The production is so deep it spanks the behind out of most so-called chill-out music. Unlike a lot of chill-out, though, it has a loose groove and mysticism on a universal theme and also somehow manages to rock!"
Bob James - Nautilus
"Sampled by hip-hop producers in the late '80s and beyond, the crisp compressed funky breaks and interstellar Rhodes and orchestration make this a spatial jazz wig-out to savour. I went to see him play at the Jazz Café purely hoping to hear this track and I was a lone voice shouting for it. I don't actually think it could be played live, it would probably be impossible to play without a 64 piece orchestra in tow!"
Mahavishnu Orchestra - You Know You Know
"John McLaughlin is one of the greatest experimental guitarists of all time and graces some Miles Davis recordings among others. He's another musician who has taken the eastern spiritual journey and eludicated "the search" in his music. This is funk, but it's also rock and jazz in a whole new cosmic dimension. The spaces between the notes feel like a portal to an inner world."
Jeff Buckley - Lover You Should Have Come Over (Live Version)
"I heard this at a market and was hypnotised by the range, intimacy and power of his voice. I never saw him play live but after his death I became transfixed by the live recordings of some of his songs from "Grace". It was only after hearing the rawness of these live recordings that I truly began to appreciate the power and tenderness of his music."
Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
"I was communing with this man thinking we had something to offer on a production tip when he sent this album to me. I was humbled, he had it all covered! Here at last was the joyful, psychedelic, innocent, playful poetry that I had anticipated would arrive at some point when I pulled away from solely electronics in '97 in search of a cosmic love vibration."
Six Driving Records
Cerrone - Supernature
"A Euro disco '70s anthem that we love on our car journeys, it gets everyone clapping and having a happy trip. It's the story of nature mutating with supreme intelligence from outer space, inspired by the bestselling '70s book of the same name."
Anything by John Barry
"From "The Persuaders" to "The Lion in Winter" to Bond, this man revolutionised the film soundtrack. I saw him conduct an orchestra several years ago and Michael Caine introduced the concert with stories of living with John Barry in the swingin '60s in London."
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
"A beautiful album from Joni - "Help Me I Think I'm Falling" is one of the most complex but accessible tracks you're ever likely to hear. Apart from a couple of jazz cliché numbers, I rate this as my favourite Joni album. Joyous and uplifting as you chase the sun."
The Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind Vol 1: Cosmic Space Music
Since this contains some of our favourite psychedelic music from the last 40 years compiled and mixed by us to form a two-hour-plus DJ journey, it's a firm favourite of ours for all journeys. One of the stipulations we made is that the mixing and track selection had to be deep, immersive but also car-friendly, so every time we attempted a mix we went for a drive to road-test it!"
Hariprasad Chaurasia - Puriya Kalyan (Nord)
"A raga from the great flute master with Zakir Hussain on thunderous tablas. Clocking in at almost 30 minutes, the structure takes so many intricate twists, turns and changes of time signature, it's labrynthine, complex and beautiful. The ultimate car companion, it's perfect for those long journeys and lets simultaneous pathsways of the soul unfold."
Paul Giovanni - The Wicker Man OST
"What better way than to summon the benevolent forces of nature to assist you on your journey than to invoke the gods with a pagan singalong! This always gets us clapping insanely on any roadtrip."
A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble is out on December 1 on Platipus. FSOL we be playing their first live set in ten years at Bloc festival in March.
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