The Cornerstone Tracks Of Mr G
"Twisted, Dutty Music Is A Way Of Life"

When Colin McBean departed from The Advent, the hard edged and ground breaking techno project he started alongside Cisco Ferreira in the early ‘90s, he did so in order to draw further on the soul and funk that had always been at the core of his being. Establishing his Phoenix G imprint and his solo moniker of Mr G in 1999, he pretty much instantly tapped into something that was picked up on dancefloors and by the music press at the time; harnessing an ability to move the dancefloor with a hefty heap of analogue driven bass while also twisting the vibe on its head with his shape shifting patterns and trunk load of funk. He's got over 20 years of experience as a creator and innovator (which makes him a bit of a legend in our book) so with his next live set due to hit Room One this coming Saturday night we tapped up McBean to ask him to share some of the tracks that have inspired him along the way.

***He also asked us to point out that this list could change at any given time. This is how he felt today, on 2nd April 2015.***

Herbie Hancock V.S.O.P. 1976 (Maiden Voyage)

Mr G: Man, where do I begin? Herbie changed the face of music on so many levels, yet he stayed true to his art. What a master! I also changed my love of music through following his soul/jazz fusion, his classical and electronic music. He led me to folk I'd never heard of through reading their names on whichever was the last album I bought [of his]. That couldn't happen today, eh? Long live vinyl.

How would you say you discovered music now? Is there another source that has helped you uncover new and interesting artists?

Nope, just going regularly to the shops, chatting to shoppers and reading between the lines in magazines. I'm constantly looking for that perfect beat. I'm a digger at heart so you'll always fall onto the unexpected because you have the vibe in you.

Don Blackman - Heart's Desire

This was a real game changer. I bought this record, like I do most, on the day or week of release. I was working in a records shop called R E Cords (nice, eh?) and I remember when this arrived in the import box.

Damn, this was so fresh and funky yet it had sack loads a soul with a drive and grit I'd not heard before. The keyboard solos are just a masterclass in looseness. I saw him at Jazz Cafe (which was pretty empty) and he was asking for requests. I asked for and got 'Hearts Desire,' it was a pretty special moment for me.

Working in a record shop, aside from gifting you with exposure to the latest records week in week out, what else did it give you? How did it help you on your path into your now 20 year strong music career?

Great art and good packaging was a huge thing for me. I saw those crazy 3D covers back when so I knew anything I did needed to be extra loud and proud whilst also being different and taking risks with it's own sound.

I learned about being humble, too! When ever I’ve met a hero as a rule most have been charming so I naturally try to be the same with humility. It can't hurt.

And I learned to ask! If you don't ask, you don't get. That’s a big one in my life, but the G mantra passed on by Lex is "fail to prepare, prepare to fail!” That never leaves my mind.

Bob Marley - Rebel Music (Bill Laswell's Instrumental Dub Mix)

If you know me, you'll know I love bread basket bass and Bill is an amazing bass player and producer who I've been following for years. Many years later I read about a collaboration with Bob Marley, so I just had to have and hear that.

Bill takes Bob's music on some late night tripped out dub special, yet still manages to keep the proper reggae vibe true and intact. That takes a lot of skill, trust me. Playing with Bob's music ain't no joke. He does it and it turns out a classic.

There’s some tracks here that touch on reggae and dub – is that an area of music that has also meant a lot to you and informed your work or even just been a big listening pleasure for you?

I've always been a dub/roots lover from when I was a kid. My sound is based on that hypnotic rolling bassline with the odd FX for sure; raw and mixed down live, that's the ethos of that sound. Some of those old records still sound unfathomable today. They’re so analogue and deep.

Eddie Kendricks - Girl You Need A Change Of Mind

I was late on this one. I knew the hits but never really followed Eddie ‘til this and man what a classic piece! This track for me is perfection. It’s a lesson in how to make great music and let it roll, feeling fresh and alive. The message is in the music for sure here - a great disco moment. My time is the breakdown! Time to get down!

The Blue Nile - Let's Go Out Tonight

I love melancholy and not many do it better than Blue Nile. It has a heart, soul and class that really is second to none. The musicianship is simply stunning as they so clearly feel and mean what they say, even in the most depressing songs. For me they were a change from my usual sickly sweet ballads. It was a whole new side of life I’d never heard but I soon loved it and wanted more of the rawness.

Killing Joke - Pandemonium in Dub

As a kid I'd be like ‘Killing who?’ yet years later I was on this group heavily. Twisted left of centre electronic funk, I loved them. Many years later a friend lent me a single dub rework and I was blown away with how well it lent itself to the dub treatment. Of course my mate knew he'd never see his beloved music again! It's mine now and it holds a good spot in my collection.

Ramsey Lewis featuring Earth, Wind & Fire - Sun Goddess

I'm an EWF freak for life, but this track is played by both parties on albums for each other. I prefer Mr Lewis's version, it just has that extra something...

When I first heard this it blew my mind, the level of musicianship is off the scale; a real trip of the highest order. Like all the tracks listed here, I go back to them in the studio time after time for the fix of a life time. Never (ever), do they not fail to amaze or give me the desired feeling - hence why they still inspire me to this very day. You can have played them numerous times yet still hear something new. That’s the power of great music eh?

Mood II Swing - Do It Your Way

I’m a big big fan of Mood II Swing and there are at least 10 or 12 great songs that I could call up [for this article], but the simplicity of this groove is what great house music is about. It just gets under your skin so you’ve got to dance.

They have their own sound, you can tell their tracks from others as the groove is always just so tough and hypnotic they really are one of the masters of great dance music. I love, love, love Mood II Swing.

DA Rebels - House Nation Under A Groove

I'm about so much more than just dance music hence that’s why there's very little in this chart, there are a few though that if I'm out and I hear them, I freak. This is one.

This track reminds me of all those late dark shebeens I've either played at or been to where this was the tune of the night, day, month or year! I will never tire of this house tune; for me it’s perfect in every way. It’s like a take on Parliament's 'One Nation Under A Groove' but boy this grove is both infectious and DANGEROUS - it’s a big part a who and what I am.

"Nothing can stop us now!"

Zip played this in Birmingham, and of course I freaked! It’s a bad tune!

When along the way did house music and techno come into the equation for you?

They’re just names - it is just good or bad music for me. I can play '60s or '70s music that sounds like both house and techno. You have to remember, I've been around a while so I've had things that hit those musical spots long before they had a name. But I became more aware of techno via Mr Mills, Mr Hood, Mr Slater, Mr Von Oswold and Mr Beltram...

Why would you say you decided to make music in that form and not something more in the direction of the soul and funk that are most prevalent here (or even the ballads that you’ve noted your appreciation of)?

I'm a dancer so it was always about the groove for me. Soul or ballads are not really good for dancing so I choose to make stuff I can feel and dance to. I didn’t decide that I'd just make beats. The mid ground, raw sound is what comes out of me. Twisted dutty music is just a way a life.

Roxy Music - Angel Eyes Extended Version By Fggk

You should know by now that I'm a big disco bunny and right now there's a great revival of edits going on, most of which disappoint me as they've either missed the point or the edit changed the vibe of the original. But, every now and then you'll find an edit of a track you didn't know or a super obscure edit for a track you do.

Roxy Music have long been a fave of mine, Bryan's left turn at a great moment, but this edit just adds enough [to the tune] and keeps me grooving. So I thought we'd end on something newish and fresh - especially with the extending the drums in all their glory. This is a lesson to the kids coming through: this is a great, effective edit of a fabulous track. A disco masterpiece.

Have you got any of your own edits under your belt? Or if not is there a track out there that you’d really like to do a version of?

There are loads of tracks I’d love to do stuff to but isn't that disrespecting the artist who made the track and wanted it to be so? I don't do edits as I don't have a digital studio and, to be honest, it’s not my thing. There are a few great edits out there but most miss the point or the original vibe. I like waiting for the meat of the track to happen. It makes the moment better. Nowadays it’s only about getting to the meat...


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