Tudor Acid is in the HOUSE motherfuckers. This is one seriously wiggy boi over here, he's been wigging people out with his naughty fucking synths for many years, the most recent of which have seen him bringing his live acid/electro experiments to Threads radio, lugging his Roland boxes to collaborative gigs around London, and just generally being a very naughty boy, all culminating in a lovely album released earlier this year for all you dirty dirty freaks. Take it away...
New Order - Republic (1993)
On the face of it, a high-budget album with lots of studio gloss that ended up portraying the end of factory records and the hacienda. I was possibly 5 years too young to have been to the hacienda. And there was this sense that just as I was coming of the age to be able to go, it was coming to an end. There was a sense that this ending was cocooned in a woozy dream state, much like Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night.
Autechre – Incunabula (1993)
A transition point, almost as perfect as a DJ’s crossfader, is for me between the Woozy fin-de-siecle of New Order’s republic and Autechre’s incunabula. Simply put, incunabula is a masterpiece. Autechre would go on to rightfully garner much acclaim for their achievements with MAX MSP software and sound shaping but this album gave me a lifelong love for those three magical elements all combined – TR-606, MC-202 and Juno.
Boymerang – Balance of the Force. (1997)
Boymerang is a friend of Luke Vibert’s and a genuine perfectionist. Balance of the Force is my favourite drum and bass album. This is an album that really opened my ears to the possibilities of sound and texture and sound design.
Mira Calix – One on One (2000)
This album opened my ears to the idea of the natural world combining with electronics. Found sounds and textures permeate and the crackle of resampled snares from mid 90s ambient techno is replaced with samples of the natural world. Calix would go on to explore this in great effect on later albums. Skimskitta was the sensation of skimming pebbles on a lake distilled into one whole album. But what anchors this album is such a strong gravitational pull of memory, and nostalgia
The Other People Place – Lifestyles of the Laptop Café (2001)
Where to start with this album – it feels like it’s always been around. Moonlight Rendezvous really captures this sense of a memory that is so powerful that it feels like a lead weight and you can’t move. The music itself is a time machine understanding which of your personal memories have the strongest gravitiational pull.
LFO – Sheath. (2003)
I had been a fan of LFO since seeing them live in 1994. But what struck me about this record was how much it contained this idea of woozy electronic alongside bangers. Mark Bell followed up the ultra-clarity of his production of Bjork and Depeche Mode with this. It is essentially music he was doing on his downtime for fun and we are extremely luck that it saw the light of day.
The Doubtful Guest – Acid Sauna (2008)
I first met Libby Doubtful Guest in 2004 at a rave in London, it might have been one of the acid on sea events. Within a few years, we were working on music together ourselves. Essentially, Libby’s modus operandi is “why use one synth when 20 can do?” In doing so, she creates living ecosystems of synths. We have all read about machine learning algorithms in music as a way to try and introduce some “organicness”. Libby comes at this from a totally different direction. The synths all have different personalities in them already and it is a case of getting them all to play nicely, from an understanding that these machines are organic. And not just analog either, just check out her latest Blacklantis EP for a JD-800 masterclass.
Anyhow, this album for me captures a very specific point in my life – I was just starting to play live acid at nights like I Love Acid and Keith Tenniswood’s Lo Motion night (carting a 303, 909, mixing desk and other synths on the train. Ow, my back.). Libby was hitting her stride with live shows at this time and this album really captures the moment. Acid Sauna is an appropriate name – there’s definitely a feeling with a lot of raves that you have sweated so much that you can’t stop sweating and that as you continue to sweat you somehow come out of the other side and are clean. Right from the opening seconds, the album captures this sense of an inability to stop dancing. So many of the other tracks on here, such as “Brulush” are a reframing of gabba as a form of acid cantering on horseback – which is probably what it wanted to be all along.
Claudia Boleyn – Celestia EP (2016)
Another artist I have collaborated with. The collaboration I did with Claudia (Anne’s Last Walk) really brought to mind my collaboration with Libby from the Doubtful Guest. They both have the same approach to harmony and dissonance, which I share. They both enjoy adding more and more layers. Similarly, there is the same sort of passion- and anger- in both their work. Celestia was the first release of Claudia’s I came across. Unashamedly epic and much like The Other People Place, this music functions as a hyperreal time machine. This time you are taken back to the Tudor era, walking in the woods near Hampton court palace or Hever Castle, being able to smell fresh dew on the leaves. All the different mixes tell a slightly different story that adds to the overall narrative.
Luke Vibert Presents Garave Volume 1 (2017)
Luke’s been a really good friend of mine since the early 2000s. This album I like because it reminds me so much of raving with him and friends like Libby Doubtful Guest. I also love the way that Luke uses the now-trademark chopped up voices to deliver a stream of consciousness that reflects the sort of conversations you might have with your mates at a rave. In short – this is an immersive experience.
Plaid – Polymer (2019)
Plaid have also been a huge influence for many years. Polymer was an album which successfully portrayed anger at the things that are happening in the world and combined this with a form of catharsis/release. The mass of plastics in The Drowned Sea are offset by the ending, Praze. Praze takes us back to the same Tudor woodland that Claudia Boleyn took us to in Celestia, looking up to see the light coming through the trees above.