Roots and Influences invites our favourite artists, local and afar, to curate a playlist of songs that have inspired their career to date. This month, we check in with the crew at Erbium Records to celebrate the release of their latest Various Artists compilation.
One year on from Erbium’s emergence – with debut VA release Reactions Vol. 1 – the crew present the next experiment in the series…
Reactions Vol. 2 marks a swirling palette of creativity, expanding into a versatile 12-tracker featuring artists from myriad backgrounds. An exploration of sound that uncovers the many colourful states of matter within the electronic spectrum.
From trance-inducing ambience, introspective electro feels, and nostalgic rave fantasies, to broken techno mind benders, uptempo ccid workouts, and drum-centric leftfield sounds, each track stands as a reflection of their creator while coherently tapping into the ebb & flow of the overarching VA experience.
Below, some of the artists featured in the compilation, as well as label-heads, Trieste and Oliver Green, select tracks that have influenced them over the years.
SDS MAX (ERB007 VA Artist) Blunt – Circula
This guy’s tunes were a huge for me when first getting into this kind of music. I remember going to see him play in Bristol and I think he was 17. I just wrote my favourite tracks of his on my Nokia and he would just slap the vinyl on and mix it in straight away. Not much of his early stuff in on Spotify so go check on YouTube.
SDS MAX (ERB007 VA Artist) Chase & Status – Streetlife (Feat. Takura)
This was the only album my best mate Billy had in his car when we were in college. We rinsed it so hard, flat out every day. And I’ll never get sick of it. The baseline in the this is probably one of the best. The whole album is magical.
Trieste (Label Co-Founder) Azu Tiwaline – Izen Zaren
While a recent discovery in the overall scheme of things, her loose and experimental take on rhythm combined with the distinct sound of home (that is the Sahara and El Djerid region, in the south of Tunisia) opened me up to much more creative ways of mixing. The transportive power of indigenously informed sound and genre/tempo hopping style continues to inform my sets and music selection, still inspiring me to push the boundaries of what should be expected in a DJ set.
Trieste (Label Co-Founder) Andrew Weatherall – Unknown Plunderer
A true techno-punk and explorer of sound, experimenting with everything from dub to techno, new wave to post-punk – not to mention a driving force behind the iconic Screamadelica album that set the precedent for a generation of ravers and music makers – and everything outside and in between. Despite the sad loss of his passing, his affect on the industry and unwavering commitment to self-expression above all else is still felt today in all circles of electronic dance, both mainstream and underground.
Oli Green (Label Co-Founder) Girl Unit – Wut (Claude Vonstroke Remix) & Theo Parrish – Falling Up (Carl Craig Remix)
The reasons I have chose these two is because it takes me back to a year (2012) whilst studying Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent where my fascination for design and music started to form. An era when event posters were like Goldust, they were plastered on the walls of student halls, like a souvenir from the night before. I used to love all the artwork and these two tracks I heard on some of the most memorable nights. Claude Vonstroke playing at a dollop night in Stealth, and Medlar playing the Carl Craig remix at LBC Nottingham: Medlar & Trikk at Bodega. The whole vibe surrounding these events including the artwork, I knew that one day I wanted to get involved myself, whether it be designing posters, putting on an event, designing record sleeves or starting a record label.
Mystique (ERB007 VA Artist) K-hand – Messenger & Anz – Unravel in the Designated Zone
K-hand has always been a massive inspiration to me, as one of the pioneers of Detroit techno and house. I find her productions beautiful, soulful and emotive.
Meanwhile I am a massive fan of Anz, as an asset to Manchester’s underground music scene she’s shown me that it’s ok to explore different genres, just be dynamic and have fun with it.
Harry Oscillate (ERB007 VA Artist) Dream 2 Science – My Love Turns To Liquid
This track is one of my all time favourites, it’s so deep and just oozes class. The pads and airiness of this track inspire me to this day along with the bumbling baseline which is so lovely and just seems to keep on floating on in the background without getting boring.
Harry Oscillate (ERB007 VA Artist) Larry Heard – Summertime Breeze
This track is just perfection in my eyes. The first half is just so nice and then when the beat finally comes in it’s surrounded by melodies cute enough to make an onion cry. I just find the whole song truly inspiring in terms of its structure and the fact it’s just a pleasure to sit back and listen to on a cool summer morning.
Mincy (ERB007 VA Artist) KMA Productions – Cape Fear & Double 99 – Ripgroove
Both of these started me on my journey into the world of dark garage and speed garage, that would eventually span across a whole range of dark bass sounds. They are both perfect examples of how powerful a simple bassline can be in a tune, to let elements shine and keep things simple, which is exactly what I try to do in all of my productions now.
KWAKE (ERB007 VA Artist) LTJ Bukem – Demons Theme
This track is just the tip of a very large iceberg in terms of my interest in jungle, although I feel it encompasses much of what I love in the genre. The extended 9 minute arrangement, choppy breaks processing, deep evolving pads, techno influences….what’s not to love!
KWAKE (ERB007 VA Artist) Aphex Twin – Tha
I know it might be a bit bate to choose a track from ‘Selected Ambient Works’ but fuck it. I would put the whole album down if I could but this is the stand out track for me. I find it such an impressive tune as it manages to go on for nearly 10 minutes, includes only five different elements / instruments, somehow doesn’t get boring and even leaves me wanting to listen to it more afterwards!
Manami (ERB007 VA Artist) Der Dritte Raum – Hale Bopp & Objekt – Cactus
These are two key tracks that have influenced my tastes from the beginning. The minimal rolling yet completely euphoric nature of Hale Bopp got me hooked on the prog and trance sound. I remember hearing Cactus for the first time when I was first discovering electronic music and the bass line completely blew my tiny mind.
Pluralist (ERB007 VA Artist) Fango – Admire
Heard Ben UFO play this at lost village 2018 & it knocked my socks off. Turned round and found my mates I hadn’t seen for about 60 hours.
Pluralist (ERB007 VA Artist) Two Shell – Heart Piece
First Two Shell tune I heard and really set the precedent for modern dance music IMO, so many people trying to replicate that sound. So original, never been done be.
Debba (ERB007 VA Artist) Kouslin – Ice
This track has been heavily inspirational in my production development over the past couple of years. Since my first release via Circular Jaw in 2019, my production has mainly involved the use of gritty breaks and heavy low-end. Of late, I’ve been experimenting with my sound; switching up tempos, adding key melodic hooks and cheesy yet emotional chord progressions. This particular track really ticked all the boxes for me in terms of where I wanted my music to go, and is something you’ll be hearing a lot more of in my future releases.
Debba (ERB007 VA Artist) Plastic Boy – Twixt
A bit of a curveball this one. Trance has a very special place in my heart, and in my production. Nothing tops a 3 minute evolving build up and this one really hits you. Huge track.”
Kim[bal] (ERB007 VA Artist) Terje Isungset – Green & Francis Harris – Of The Field:
I’m fascinated by music made from objects and sounds of nature. Terje Isungset makes his own instruments out of found objects like rocks, pieces of wood and carved out of pieces of ice. I love the atmosphere it creates, and also the whole process of transformation from nature to music. I’m also a big fan of Francis Harris’ soulful and meditative electronica – glitchy beats mixed with earthly field recordings.
HALT (ERB007 VA Artists) Reload – 1642 Try 621
During the Acid days of the early 90s, I started to shift more towards electronic music. This track is from my favourite album of all time, and showed me that techno didn’t have to be straight 4/4 bangers, but could have multiple layers and depth. It still sounds strong to this day. A must have album.
Listen & Buy VA – Reactions Vol.2 on Bandcamp and check out the Erbium back catalogue here.
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