Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: two electronic dance music legends, Kompakt founder Michael Mayer and house trailblazer Curtis Jones.
Listed: Michael Mayer + Green Velvet
Anyone who followed the evolution of electronic dance music in the late 1990s and early 2000s knows Michael Mayer. The Cologne DJ and producer co-founded Kompakt Records with Wolfgang and Reinhard Voigt and brought the city’s unique amalgam of house, techno and cosmic disco to the rest of the world, both through a steady 12” output and the annual compilation series Total — Mayer’s contribution to Total 4 in 2002, “Falling Hands,” remains this writer’s favorite Kompakt track. On top of his duties at Kompakt, Mayer was an in-demand DJ and remixer — his three Immer mixes are must-haves. All that left little time for official Michael Mayer albums. His first full-length of original material, Touch, was released in 2004, and eight years later, he has finally released a second. Mantasy, whose title references man’s ability to turn his dreams into reality (and NOT a seedy nightclub), will be released in America on Oct. 22.
1. Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mysteries And Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe
Having been raised listening to a lot of classic music, this Edgar Alan Poe-inspired album became my first favorite pop record at the age of eight or so. And it got me seriously hooked on musical storytelling.
2. Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique
Berlioz wrote this incredible piece just to impress a woman. She couldn’t resist, they got married. Later down the road they ended up in total lunacy and despair. I can’t help but love romantic stuff like this.
3. Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore - Sunset Mission
The former fastest band in the world turned itself into the slowest band in the world. Deep, dark and indestructable.
4. Alexander O’Neal - Hearsay
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis at the top of their game. "Fake" and "Criticize" are still too sexy for this world.
5. The KLF - Chill Out
I’d like to time and space travel to that recording session and take what they took.
6. Various Artists - Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges, 1968-1974
I’m buying Now Again releases blindly since they put out this comp. Psychedelic ballads from the ‘70s from places like Iran and Korea. But yet, it sounds like everything was recorded in one session.
7. Gas - Zauberberg
So much electronic music has been released since 1997... but this one is still unrivaled in its density and warmth.
8. Twin Peaks Soundtrack
Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch are such a dream team. I love everything they did together. Remember the espresso scene from Mulholland Drive?
9. Pet Shop Boys - Actually
There’s no way I could do this list without the Boys. I owe them for so many fantastic moments both on the dance floor and at home.
10. Schlammpeitziger - Freundlichbarracudamelodieliedgut
I’ve recently rediscovered this lovely oddity from our Cologne neighbours at A-Musik. Disarming sythesizer instrumentals, up there with the big guns like Harmonia and early Kraftwerk.
In the early ‘90s, Curtis Jones went from a Master’s program in Chemical Engineering to creating what would soon become one of the most iconic house tracks ever made. Originally entitled “Coffee Pot” and released under the moniker Cajmere, the song eventually became known as "The Percolator" thanks to its repeated lyrics "it’s time for The Percolator" and the booty-popping dance moves that often accompanied the track at clubs. The bubbly track belies Jones’ intrinsic love of early 1980s Chicago house and would become a trademark foundation for the sound of both his own releases as Cajmere and of those on his pioneering label Cajual. Not content to just do straight house music, Jones created another alter ego, Green Velvet, and record label, Relief, to explore his interests in hard house, punk and industrial music. Through his Green Velvet persona, Jones was able to experiment with not only some different styles of music, but he also began sporting a wild green and sometimes yellow mohawk. Throughout this period he often appeared at underground raves and electronic festivals, which no doubt led to his later "come to Jesus" turnaround from a life of heavy psychedelic use. Remaining relatively out of the spotlight throughout the latter half of the 2000s, Cajmere tracks such as "The Percolator," and the massive dance hit "Brighter Days" amongst other Cajual classics are once again explored on Only 4 U: The Sound Of Cajmere & Cajual Records out now on Strut Records.
1. Parliament - Funkentelechy Vs. Placebo Syndrome
Parliament is by far one of my favorite bands. I remembered not only loving their music but their album artwork as well. When I first heard "Flashlight" I was blown away. They were funky and innovative with their use of synthesizers. You can hear Moogs and Arps all over their productions which is why I use them.
2. Sly Stone - Fresh
Sly is my favorite male vocalist. He has a gift of being able to let the tone of his voice make you truly feel the words he’s singing. "If You Want Me To Stay" is just pure raw minimal soul. My father would always tell me to put more funk in my music and I would think of Sly first then James Brown.
3. Donna Summer - I Remember Yesterday
Donna is the queen of disco and I miss her. Thank God she left us with "I Feel Love" so that we can feel love in a cold world. Her vocals with Giorgio Moroder’s productions were a match made in heaven. This is truly the origin of today’s electronic music... house, techno and trance.
4. Liaisons Dangereuses - Liaisons Dangereuses
This is probably one of the most influential albums for all the early pioneers of house and techno. This is creativity at its best. I have tons of analog synthesizers and the way Liaisons made them sound is one of the reasons why. It’s rare to get cool funky vocals in techno tracks and these two guys and girl were the first to do it in 1981.
5. Kraftwerk - Computer World
Who else could make a hit about numbers except for Kraftwerk? I used to listen to "Numbers" on the record player with my friends and we would be dancing for hours. They even made the speak and spell toy sound cool. Kraftwerk influenced me in how I like to make some of my vocals sound out of this world.
6. Lil Louis & The World - From the Mind Of Lil Louis
Lil Louis had the biggest hits for me out of Chicago House. "French Kiss" was epic but "War Games," also, was genius. This album didn’t contain another favorite of mine "Video Clash" but "Blackout" and "I Called You" where dance floor fillers. Louis is my most influential Chicago producer.
7. Nitzer Ebb - Belief
The party would always get started when "Control I’m Here" was played. Their sound is very industrial and machine like, which I love. They always sounded angry to me and I don’t think they ever did any love songs. From listening to Nitzer Ebb I later discovered DAF.
8. Grace Jones - Living My Life
Grace is my favorite female vocalist. She may not have the best voice but her attitude and charisma more than makes up for it. I use to collect all her albums because I was captivated by her beauty. "Nipple To The Bottle" is one of my all-time favorites.
9. Depeche Mode - Violator
I used to play "Personal Jesus" like it was the only song made when it came out. I used to blast it in my car stereo cassette player. DM were the best at coming up with original industrial sounds and strong melodies. Reach out and touch faith.
10. David Bowie - Let’s Dance
"Let’s Dance" was my jam back in the ‘80s. I’ve been a fan of David’s since he did "Fame." He definitely is a great showman and I learned a lot from him. I hope David isn’t still afraid of Americans.
By Dusted Magazine