For many of us, it’s also the point where music first has a significant impact on our lives. We all remember the first record we fell in love with, going to our first concert, or when we "got" electronic music, and often those magic moments happened towards the end of our adolescence.
With our 18th birthday now just a few days away, we asked some of the artists appearing across this milestone weekend to recall one formative record from their entry into adulthood. In this list, you’ll see how some of the cream of electronic music took inspiration from Morrissey and Björk as well as groundbreaking moments in ambient house and drum & bass in one of our most insightful blog features so far.
Madrugada Eterna – The KLF [KLF Communications]
The Chill Out LP was the soundtrack to us growing up in Stockholm. I guess this is where I really started to appreciate ambient music, and the steel guitar of Madrugada Eterna will forever transport me back in to the strangeness of being young.
Gotta Find A Way – Russ Brown [Jump Street Records]
Back when I was 18, clubs like fabric didn’t exist – I used to go to a mixture of different events at night clubs, venues, community centres, schools and what we used to call "blues houses" – they were all mainly in Hackney. But there were also great things happening at Four Aces and Oasis (I used to go here when it was called Cubies too) in Dalston, All Nations by London Fields, Maxims on Kingsland Road, Dougie’s Nightspot in Lower Clapton, the Holly Street and Nightingale Estate community centres, and plenty of one-off venues. I also had my sound system with Daddy Earl and Shut Up And Dance, playing all forms of urban music: reggae, soul, hip hop, rare groove and early house and garage. This track was a firm favourite of mine back then, I loved the vocal so much that I ended up sampling it a decade later on my 1996 release We Must Unite which was myself and Pascal’s first ever independent compilation release.
Timeless – Goldie [Metalheadz]
In around 2000 or 2001, a friend gave me Goldie’s Timeless LP and it completely changed the way I look at electronic music. I remember listening to it every single night on repeat, just getting completely lost and immersed in the atmospheres and grooves. Coming from a punk background in Croatia, it was one of the records that got me into producing electronic music. It totally opened me up to a range of new styles, genres and sounds. Thank you Goldie!
Bachelorette – Björk [One Little Indian]
Around the time I had first started listening to techno a friend played Björk's Homogenic LP. I’ve selected Bachelorette from the album because it really stood out for me at the time and still does. in short I think it’s a story telling and magical piece of music. I love the way the orchestra builds, the intensity and the power. The dynamics and range of Björk’s vocals are another level which tops everything off for me. Pure magic.
These Things Take Time (David Jensen session version) - The Smiths [Rough Trade]
The Smiths are one of my favourite bands, and the tracks they recorded as part of their sessions with John Peel and David Jensen in 1983 are some of my favourite that they ever released. I first came across those particular recordings as part of their compilation album Hatful of Hollow, which I was listening to religiously around the time I was 18.
It’s so difficult to choose a favourite track off that record, but the one that really reminds me of that time in my life is These Things Take Time. For me, the lyrics in that song rather perfectly encapsulate what it felt like being 18 and infatuated with someone. It captures the intensity of being at the beginning of adult life and experiencing all those feelings for the first time; naive, obsessive teenage romanticism, the fear of rejection and the inevitable reality of life moving on into the unknown as you try and figure out who you are. Morrissey isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he wrote some of the best lyrics ever.
Peter Van Hoesen
Live! You Goddamned Son of a Bitch – Revolting Cocks [Wax Trax! Records]
Before this album was released, Electronic Body Music (yes, that was a genre back then!) was not known for being very funky. Dark and, for some, danceable, but not really groovy. But somehow this album turned the genre upside down for me. Still brutal and industrial, but infused with a sense of weird and warped 80s funk. The YouTube footage provides ample proof of their intense performance attitude, something which I would love to see a bit more of these days. The Revolting Cocks were definitely not playing it safe, and that is what made it so attractive to this once 18-year old.
Circe (Jazzanova Mix) – Ursula Rucker [Guidance]
Take an 18 year old who just came to techno and house from a musical background, add the sexiest voice in the bizz (apart from Roisin Murphy!), a lush Jazzanova workout and this… I mean… it still gives me chills nowadays:
Sirens have nothing on my song
My song is ageless and perfect
Angels envy my song
You must be strong
To resist this
I've seduced men you thought were myth
Gods have murdered mortals over me
They died with my name on their lips
My taste on their tongues
My love is the only one
Come rest your earthly burdens on my breasts
You'll find them firm like virgin
Irresistible, like Goddess
My breasts are filled with Neptune's nectar
One sip and you'll be mine
Now sink into my sea soft skin where your fantasy begins
Don't fight, you'll never win
I know my hair is mesmerizing
It reflects the colours of sun's rising
You'll never forget my wet
Come under, my kiss will keep you safe
What seem to you like minutes in my world are endless days
Ride my waves of pleasure
Forever and ever... and ever... and ever