New Zealand's elusive RQ takes us on a journey through the eclectic musical influences that have inspired and informed his own output.
Ryan Quinlivan AKA RQ is best known for his esoteric musical interpretations on ASC's Auxiliary imprint, however as a true creative he is also behind some amazing label art for the likes Commercial Suicide and Samurai and Horo. RQ's creative energy has served to stand him apart from his contemporaries, a lone creative force with a refined musical dialect devoid of the usual background noise surrounding the actual work at hand. We asked RQ to talk us through the music that has inspired him.
Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene (Polydor) 1976
It's hard to pick a particular track or 'part' of this, I have always considered it one piece. I would have been 5 or 6 when Dad started playing this at home, a lot. Obviously at that age I didn't know how this album was made, I knew from the back of the sleeve that he had lots of what I would have thought were pianos and a great suit, so for many years I just enjoyed it on a purely sonic level. I remember imagining flying through space when listening to it, such is the massive scale of the album. Around this time I was also hearing a lot of Osibisa, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull, but “Oxygene” has always had a very special place in my mind... At last count I had 4 copies on vinyl. And of course now looking back at it, that whole package is simply stunning... The cover art, the typography and of course the music all still stand up now, this could be released tomorrow and people would lose their minds.
Herbie Hancock - Rockit (Columbia) 1983
In the early '80s break dancing was kicking off, even all the way down in New Zealand, and I was massively into the music that went with it (couldn't break dance for shit). That robotic sound was really intriguing and I couldn't get enough of tracks from people like Nucleus, Cybotron and of course Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force. But “Rockit”, my gosh, that hook is just ridiculous. This era was the beginning of my love of drum machines, something about that futuristic sound resonated with me even then and I still can't get enough of a good 808 beat. And again, all of that early electro stuff still sounds fresh now.
Einstürzende Neubauten - Kollaps (Rip Off/ Ruff Trade) 1982
This was an eye (ear?) opener for me when I first heard it, totally unlike anything I had been exposed to previously. At the time there was a lot of Godflesh, Scorn and Skinny Puppy being played but Einstürzende Neubauten had stripped all of the facade away and dealt almost exclusively with the atmosphere and the intent of that style of darker stuff. The primitive approach to percussion and vocals in their early work truly put you on edge when listening, and the loose arrangements could deliver actual frights when played at the proper volume (loud).
Big Black - Kerosene (Homestead Records) 1986
I was introduced to Big Black in the early 90's, a while after this album (Atomizer) was released, this was a time when I was listening to a lot of death metal and hip hop. Even as an instrumental it is a brutal assault of sound, driven again, by a drum machine that further alienates the listener. But add Steve Albini’s lyrics to the mix and what you have is a cold, dark, over-driven wall of emotion and energy, created and recorded in a very simple and direct manner.
Photek - Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu (Science) 1997
It's almost a cliche to put this on an 'influences' list and practically a given for anyone making drum & bass to site this as a favourite, but no amount of praise and worship for this track could lessen it's impact both sonically and in terms of importance to the evolution of the genre. The skill and imagination at work here is simply astounding, to create such an impact with (seemingly) so few elements was, to employ another adage... A game changer. It has left a trail of influence that runs deep to this day, truly one of the most successful mutations in the DNA of the form.