We invite Commercial Suicide label boss Klute to guide us through 5 tracks that have had an undeniable influence over his own work...
Since we started doing this feature a few months ago, the idea was always to feature people who could bring something extra to the table. It's not about getting the biggest names, the most current or most popular artists. They can be all of the above, but it certainly was not the most important consideration. This month we are joined by one of drum & bass' most eclectic sons, Tom Withers AKA Klute. Just to illustrate the scope Klute has, at the time of writing his submissions he has been on tour with his punk band The Stupids. I think in each piece of work that he has selected you can hear elements that have lended themselves to his own sound. Take it away Tom!
Cocteau Twins - Cherry Coloured Funk (4AD) 1990
Around the time I was transitioning from bands and guitars I was re-introduced to the Cocteau Twins, a band I remembered as being a depressing and incoherant goth act. By 1990 they had bloomed into something quite spectacular. Majestic and etherial - hyper melodic and melancholy with the most insanely out there singing I had heard up until that point. This was love at first re-introduction for me and I ran out to absorb anything I could by these guys.
Liz Fraser has become one of my all time fav singers. Her approach was outrageous and daring, often singing a language of her own. This of course was all backed up by this monstrous cathedral of sonic nirvana from Robin Gutherie - if there ever was a musician i could call god, he might be closest to it. This track is from their LP "Heaven Or Las Vegas", for me their peak.
The influence in Klute is obvious. They left a huge recorded legacy which I still enjoy immensly.
Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale (Virgin) 1975
From an early age I was in awe of "SOME" of the dreamy spacey sounds coming out of my 2 sisters' bedrooms. They introduced and imprinted so much music that became formative for me and resulted in me having such an ecclectic taste in music. Apart from punk rock one of the biggest things to make an impression was ambient music and space rock, mostly Tangerine Dream and their main man Edgar Froese. This album has such an influence on me for its atmosphere, otherworldliness and sheer beauty. Ive never sampled it but I've certainly used the Mellotron a lot.
Studio Pressure - Resolution (Photek) 1994
When I was beginning to make jungle on my Ensoniq EPS16+ I was travelling up to Ipswich from London to visit my family and to see old friends. One of whom was Paul Arnold who was working at a long defunct record shop called Phunkchunk. He was running a label called Certificate 18 and was very interested to hear my work. I remember the first time I went to visit him he told me about his college mate who was making some of the best jungle around. Being in Ipswich i didn't believe him until his ginger haired mate Rupert walked in and played a prototype version of what was to become PTK01 off cassette. I was knocked off my feet.
Over the next few months we would visit Rupert in his basement studio on Christchurch Street in Ipswich and listen to what he was up to. For me he was at his peak. Photek opened up so many possibilities for me and was a massive part in taking jungle beyond rave. "Resolution" was exotic and mysterious sounding like jungle from a forbidden planet. The intro still sends shivers down my spine.
Noise Factory - Set Me Free Remix (3rd Party) 1992
I was living out in San Francisco for a couple of years around '91/ '93 and was getting into the harder side of breakbeat rave music when this stuff getting called jungle was showing itself as a standout faction. No one really seems to remember the origins of that name but somehow it seemed to fit. A lot of people were uncomfortable with it, believing it to be racist, I was always under the impression it referred to areas of Jamaican cities.
Anyways, I loved it. There seemed to be a spirit to the sound that encapsulated just about anything and everything around a rugged stack of tearing broken breakbeats and a deep deep sub bass. Amongst the early purchases of mine I managed to get in SF were Ibiza Records and Noise Factory's breakout imprint 3rd Party. The sheer brutal edge of these primitive releases were seriously inspiring for me. They sounded like distant radio transmissions from another galaxy…. From a planet with high rise tower blocks and parent's record collections to squeeze any sample out of. That was the beauty of early jungle. There were no rules. The sounds were coming from anywhere. It didn't last long before it was hijacked and turned into a reggae only thing.
R-Tyme - R Theme (Transmat) 1989
I could pick a number of tracks from Detroit and they all kind of mush into one for me as they're all equally as superb but "R Theme" always contained all the elements that drew me to the spirit of Detroit techno. The "godfather" Derrick May teams up with Darryl Winn for the R Tyme project. Clattering 727 congas, swashiing 909 hats - such a signature of early Detroit - A shimmering DX bass line and of course those passionate strings are all elements that are hard wired into my creative sub-conscience. There was always something so compelling about the Detroit ethos for me. I suppose using whatever equipment they could get ahold of to continue their drive and vision. Having ideas in their heads but getting it slightly wrong they came up with something far greater than they could have imagined. I'm much more inspired by a piece of gear that is simple or has limitations - it spurs me on to try harder with it to make it do something it wasn't meant to.