My All Time Top Ten… Tunes

This has got to be the hardest “My All Time Top Ten” list! Movies were hard, but with such a broad range of stuff I like, and with the voracious nature of my habit(!) there’s a lot of water under the bridge!!

One thing I realise as I pull together the list is that (fairly obviously) it’s the tunes that keep coming back round that get on the list. God knows how many i’ve missed due to fading memory, but anyway – here goes…

1. Pink Floyd – Time / Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Discogs


Dark Side of the Moon was a life changing album. I was introduced to it by my best friend Sam at a time when (whilst also experimenting with mind altering drugs) it fitted perfectly into my lifestyle.

But as with all Pink Floyd stuff it is the seamless landscape of their music that makes them such a constant in my life. Long gone are the days when I listen to this frequently, but when they reformed to play for the Band Aid reunion gig it was just so good to hear the same empathy and emotion coming through that I just had to go out and buy the Pulse live DVD  which has now become a firm favourite on the home cinema (there’s another top ten list in their I feel).

As it must have been for generations (or a generation) before me, it was the way the music accompanied my altered states that also gives it such a strong association with ‘me’ 🙂

2. Bringing Me Down – unknown

Dance music has been a constant in my life since the mid 80’s. It tracks from my first discovery of hip hop, electro, house and break beat on John Peel’s legendary radio shows.

Living in Oxford we had Meridian, and there was a late night TV show called Night Network which was in part hosted by Tim Westwood (N-Sign Radio) well before he was on the beaten track. I remember him playing Soul II Soul’s Fairplay (original video) and falling in love with it.

About the same time Acid House appeared on the scene. I’ve no idea how but I started listening to Chris Forbes Dawn Raid Acid House show (this Facebook group is the most relevant link I could find) on Capital FM (one of the advantages of living on a hill was that I could receive Capital FM in Oxford!). Following where John Peel left off this new electronic music overwhelmed me so much that I used to one of just a handful of people who used to go and dance on a cloud of smoke from the smoke machines at The Covern nightclub in Oxford on a Wednesday night!

Then came Paul Trouble Anderson and his Kiss FM show (link to ’91 show download). I loved his tune selection and fell in love with DJ’ing off the back of his rough and tough North London mixing style. I drove up to Camden on a Wednesday night for his legendary nights at the Loft, quite often on my own, and threw myself down on the dance floor, alongside some of the best jazz dancers I have ever seen.

So why all this ramble… well I guess divergence is important in my explanation of why I have chosen such an obscure tune for which I don’t even know the artists name (and nor does Shazam). I will try and post it to this blog. It’s classic downtempo, high dynamic, drum and bass. Beautiful vocals, great percussion, and monstrous rolling bass.

This era in dance music quickly rolled passed, and there are many examples of classic stuff around this era (see LTJ Bukem) that I am pleased to see was never abused.

I will upload an mp3 of this tune, and no – it’s not Aquarius & Tayla… Can you guess what it is yet?!

Unknown d ‘n’ b – Bringing Me Down by  groovedigger

3. The Damned – Under The Floor Again / Strawberries (1982) Discogs

The first representative of the decade through which I was most influenced by music – the 80’s. It’s not a track that typically represents the era (in that it’s not so much about qualityproduction), and I’m actually surprised that I still like it so much! However it reminds me of an era very found to my heart, one shortly after which I lost my innocence.

Indeed it was at my first job (albeit a Saturday job – ‘collating‘ in a warehouse in Osney, Oxford) that this fantastic album was first discovered. The cassette on which it resided was played over and over as we marched up and down those trestle tables, every now and then catching the glance of an attractive young lady (one of which, Caroline Nicholls – now a Radio 4 presenter, I became particularly fond of!) It was a great era, the time I owned a car, and the freedom that came with it is represented by Damned tracks like this, and others such as Smash It Up.

4. The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur / Ma Fleur (Ninja Tune 2007) Discogs

Gilles Peterson… need i say more… the man, the legend… who has kept so true to their desire of delivery the wolrds most beutiful underground music, his desire to unearth the perfect beat… well anyway it was he who offered up the Cinematics to me, and with whom I fell in love.

Saw them live at The Big Chill twice – The Man With The Movie Camera being one of the best live musical experiences I have ever witnessed. The whole of this album is particularly wonderful, notably To Build A Home (which still brings a tear to my eye when I listen to it today (live video embed below, which is quite simply awesome), but it is the most deliciously perfect arrangement that is Ma Fleur that provides the most timeless delicacy by this wonderful band. Nuff respect to Jason Swinscoe, and a special mention to his drummer Luke Flowers, who has the most amazing mastery of space and timing.

5. Crazy P – Bumcop / Night On Earth (Shiva Records 2005) Discogs

Danielle, Danielle, Danielle… what can I say! Discovering Crazy P is like discovering a new drug that an elite group of people are on, that does nothing but good stuff to you! The greatest unknown band on the planet. The best parties in the world… Who was at their Sunday night DJ set at The Big Chill in 2007? Remember the horse head?! Ade…? Anyone…? Bueller…?

My good buddy Ade Krumins brought their first album on Paper Records: Crazy Penis – A Nice Hot Bath With (yup that’s £80 new on Amazon!), into Browns Bar Brighton when he and I worked there. It didn’t leave the cassette deck until the tape ripped!

We first saw them live upstairs at The Komedia, Brighton, and they opened with Bumcop – just brilliant! Their music is rich with nods to all the classic dance, soul and funk music of all time, but they weave in Danielle to bring the perfect combo of dance and live in an enthralling whirling experience!

Props are not often due to all members of a band, but Chris Todd, Danielle Moore, James Baron, Matt Klose, Tim Davies -respect to you all 🙂

6. Congress – 40 Miles (white label)

I’m raving I’m raving… How do I sum up the best years of my life? The camaraderie and freedom and the sheer joy and endless passion for the music that me and a loyal band of people followed around the whole of the south of the UK between 1990 and 1994. Well for me this is the tune I have chosen. Let’s face facts most of it was pretty awful! But there are huge gems in the landscape, and this one is particularly pertinent to me.

Hold on for more piano…

7. Most things by LTJ Bukem (Good Looking Records) Discogs

I prefer his jazzy stuff, but again (and in fact like Goldie’s Timeless) there are tunes like Demon’s Theme, Horizons (below), Cosmic Interlude, and Moodswings that have never been, and will never be, repeated.

But it’s the artists that he has introduced via the Earth series that are what makes Bukem such a genius. Tunes like Pablo’s Do What You Gotta Do – a stunning late night cruising calssic rework.

Production quality and dynamics is a common theme amongst everything I like, and Bukem has it in droves. Check out his  DTS DVD Planet Earth compilation, with the bonus 5.1 mixdown version of You’re Divine… home cinema heaven 🙂

Horizons-LTJ Bukem by Joe C Scott

8. Electric Light Orchestra – Concerto For A Rainy Day / Out Of The Blue (Jet Records 1977) Discogs

Let’s rock! I still listen to ELO and love what they are all about, but I guess you had to be there right! This white flared suit wearing bunch of Brummies conquered the world with a most amazing spectacle and light show. I never saw them live (I was too young) but their music still has a huge presence and cinematic quality, especially the rain concerto on Out Of The Blue.

9. Japan – The Unconventional / Adolescent Sex (Hansa 1978) Discogs

Japan were big in the charts when I was a teenager and I’m very glad of it. Thanks in art to my sister Charlotte I got into it and like almost all of their tracks, and alot of the stuff that David Sylvian and his brother Steve Jansen (and Mick Karn) have done since (check out Linoleum by Tweaker).

The silky smooth vocals of David Sylvian combined with the percussion of the best drummer in music history, Steve Jansen, and the crafted wandering basslines of Mick Karn still please the best hifi systems.

There are too many classics by Japan, but check out the following:
In Vogue, All Tomorrow’s Parties and The Other Side Of Life from the Quiet Life album;
Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Swing, and Methods Of Dance from Gentlemen Take Polaroids;
Ghosts (live on the Old Grey Whistle Test) and Visions Of China from Tin Drum;
The singles I Second That Emotion, Nightporter and All Tomorrows Parties, and last but by no means least, with Ruichi Sakamoto, Forbidden Colours.

It was this decade that taught me so much about good production, and Japan had it in spades with Simon Napier-Bell, as did Simple Minds with Steve Lillywhite, Duran Duran with Colin Thurston, and other artists such as those produced by Trevor Horn from Zang Tum Tum – an amazing list including Art of Noise, Propaganda, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones, 808 State in the 80’s, and Seal and Adamski in the 90’s)

Japan, and David Sylvian in particular, have influenced many of the artists I still listen to today, including Goldie, Roni Size & Tricky. Check out Goldie’s Dragonfly to hear influences from Ghosts by Japan. This is what I love about music – how influence adapts what we hear over time 🙂

10. Simple Minds – White Hot Day / Sparkle In The Rain (Virgin 1984) Discogs

Unlike Japan (I didn’t see David Sylvian live until the Hammersith Apollo in 2003) I saw Simple Minds live at Milton Keynes bowl, during an all dayer with several different bands of the day. They rocked, but I have to say I do believe Simple Minds peaked around that time (the 80’s). However their stuff lives on (although it is probably best played round the house when there is no one else in!)

Songs like All The Things She Said hold exciting memories of ex-girlfriends (that’s you Canny Appleyard!) but there is such a range of great stuff, all brilliantly played (thanks to Charlie Burchill and Mel Gaynor, that still keeps me going through the back catalog.

Here’s Jim Kerr in all his frilly brilliance from an Ahoy Stadium gig in Amsetrdam in ’85:

Just outside the top ten (and other assorted gems):

Forss – The Journeyman – if you haven’t heard it please do take a listen
Groove Armada – everything, but particularly Paris
The Killers – Mr Brightside (Thin White Duke mix) – a great dance version of a rock classic
Most things by Quantic, inc Quantic Soul Orchestra
A lot of Alice Russel’s stuff

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