In the first in a new monthly feature, we invite our favorite artists to delve into the music that has inspired their own work. Kicking things off is none other than ASC.
Here at Organic we love ASC's output. Our coverage of his work is verging on fan-boyism... We are truly pathetic. Anyway, enough self degradation, let's deal with the matter at hand. ASC now runs the prolific Auxiliary label, his own release history spans across Looking Good Records, Exit Records, Non Plus, Samurai, Offshore Recordings and others. He's been in the game as a releasing artist for almost 15 years and has delivered some of the most emotive music that can be derived from drum & bass or loosely described as such.
Let's get stuck into ASC's selection.
808 State - Sunrise (ZTT) 1989
This track changed my life. Up until this point, I was just a young kid who had no real interest in music. I have to actually mention 'Pacific' and all the variations of it, as it was that track which I heard on the radio which then forced me to buy the LP '90' on vinyl. 'Sunrise' is just magical from start to finish. If there's one thing 808 State taught me, it's that every 32 bars, something should change or be introduced in the sequence. It's something I practice still to this day. As for this track in particular, it's got everything that I strive to achieve in my own music and remains one of my favourite tunes ever.
Slowdive - Avalyn I (Creation) 1990
Right around the same time as I'd picked up on dance music, I was heavily into the blossoming indie scene. The UK had it all in abundance. Tons of talented groups from all over the country, but no one did it like Slowdive, well maybe The Verve did with their early work, but yeah... The mix of distant vocals that you can't quite make out set against a background of dreamy guitars that blend into a wall of sound spoke hugely to a side of me that I was yet to fully understand. What I would later realise is that it was the ambience and emotion that this conveys to me. I love more than anything to tell a story with emotion in my music and I always lead towards the sadder, melancholy, darker side of ambience. Slowdive were masters of this and I could have picked from a handful of pieces by them, but at the time of writing this, this one edges it slightly.
The Prodigy - G-Force (Energy Flow) (XL Recordings) 1991
So having being exposed to dance music through the likes of 808 State and other acts like The Art Of Noise, I became enamoured with the UK hardcore scene of the early 90's. There are thousands and thousands of tracks I could have chosen from, but this is still something special to me. Liam Howlett had this knack of creating killer riffs and using amazing sounds that play off each other in perfect balance. It's something I always try and do myself and this piece of music is a perfect example of how to transition between ideas without disrupting the flow of a track. The Prodigy exposed me to breakbeats before I knew what I was listening to. I loved how fast and frenetic some of the tunes were to me, as it was so new back then. A whole world of music waiting to be discovered.
FSOL - Lifeforms (Virgin) 1994
I have to cheat a little here, as I wanted to mention 'Cascade' from this, but as any FSOL fan knows, you don't just play one tune from their early LPs. It just doesn't happen. FSOL were like Pink Floyd in a way, where albums like 'Lifeforms', 'ISDN' and 'Dead Cities', were the modern day equivalents of 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and 'Wish You Were Here'. Concept albums that were meant to be listened to as a whole. What FSOL did for me was open up my mind to a different way of writing. Not writing to a grid, formula, or thinking about placement in terms of a piece of music being played by a DJ. It was freeform experimental music that was cutting edge. As with Pink Floyd, I often have FSOL periods, where I'll listen to their albums from start to finish, back to back.
Jori Hulkkonen - The Street Near Your Place (F Communications) 1998
This was the first time a piece of music that wasn't breakbeat oriented had truly gripped me. Having got into hardcore and then jungle/ drum & bass, everything else became a blur for a while. Upon hearing this track, I realised what I'd been missing. Sorrowful chords, deep keys, pulsing stabs and great percussion. I think it was the coldness of the music elements that drew me in so much and you can probably hear that a lot in my music to this very day. Upon hearing this track I told myself that I would never confine myself to one genre or style. I've been true to my word ever since.