deadlists » lists 01.10.2012
DJ Scientist – 10 Albums That Influenced “For Better, For Worse”

As part of the upcoming release by DJ Scientist’s album “For Better, For Worse” we gave him the opportunity to talk about records which have been relevant in some way or another for the development of his music. For the next 10 days you can read a new short story about a record that has influenced him. Let’s start…

1. Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet
Def Jam Recordings, 1990 / Discogs-Link

This is my favourite Public Enemy album. I still remember when I borrowed the CD from a friend in school and copied it on tape on my sister’s stereo system as I didn’t have a CD player myself. That must have been around 1991 or even 1990 right when the album came out. Still being a little school kid and still being used to listening to all kinds of music (and not only Hip-Hop and Rap) this was a kind of strange new thing. “Fear Of A Black Planet” additionally was way different to my other Hip-Hop tapes such as albums from Run DMC, Eric B. & Rakim or Young MC (ha, yeah, I still like his first album!). Public Enemy was way more powerful and had a lot more anger in it. So, my first impression was almost confusion – it was too much to take in – too many sounds – and I had no idea how that music was made (nor did I understand many of the lyrics back then).

It definitely was the Hip-Hop album with the most complex sample use at that time – and probably is until now. I like to return to this album quite regularly and listen to it and enjoy the wall of sound that the Bomb Squad had created here. So yeah, I think it’s the wall of sound that impresses me most about this LP. It is something that I always wanted to recreate in my songs as well.

2. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…..
Mo Wax, 1996 / Discogs-Link

Everything has been said about this album, so I will try to keep things short: I will always look at this album and all other works of DJ Shadow with the greatest respect as he is probably the main innovator of the so-called genre “Instrumental Hip-Hop”.

I think that it is save to say that “Endtroducing” has been an influence to almost every producer who started making beats in the late 90s or early 2000s and has encouraged many to make beats without rap, including myself of course. So yeah – you must give props where props is due!

3. Can – Tago Mago
United Artists Records, 1971 / Discogs-Link

Even though this may sound a bit obvious (and I actually don’t like doing obvious things), “Tago Mago” is without a doubt a great album and deservedly made #3 on my list of records that have influenced me back in the days. When I first listened to it, it really left an expression as it was different from anything else I had heard until then. The standout track in my opinion is “Halleluwah” – an 18 minute opus with amazing drumming by Jaki Liebezeit.

This album has already been quite rare and expensive in the early 2000s and back then I actually had to borrow it from my old graffiti mate Kris as I couldn’t affort it. Many years later I finally found myself an original copy of this album in Berlin for a fair (but not cheap) price. I love the artwork too!

A funny side story is that when Dälek were on tour in Germany in late 2002 or early 2003 I talked to Octopus, one of the producers of Dälek, about “Krautrock” a bit and he told me that he really doesn’t like Can as it sounded like the Rolling Stones to him and that only Faust was the real thing. Probably he didn’t listen to “Tago Mago” – I think this is the shit!

4. Vortex – Les Cycles De Thanatos
Productions Vortex, Togo Saga Music, 1979 / Discogs-Link

This kind of music may not be for everyone though I think it is absolutely essential in many ways. It is a quite dark, highly complex, intelligent, epic and partly strange Fusion / Zeuhl album from France (Zheul was a term originally used for the famous French band Magma). “Les Cycles De Thanatos” is one of the rare moments where real greatness has been achieved in a musical form. I am not sure in which way this album has influenced me – probably just about the fact to try harder, to not be afraid of sudden changes in songs and to do unexpected things. Listening to this album changed my look at music a lot and reminds of how simple nowadays’ music is, including my own music of course.

I found this LP in a record store in Besancon in the early 2000s when me and my old homie DJ Backdraft were visiting our French turntablist crew mate Mr. Heist aka DJ Ahmet. I shamelessly sampled this record’s cover for a 2005 mix CD.

5. Brainticket – Psychonaut
Bellaphon, 1972 / Discogs-Link

Brainticket was a multinational band lead by the Belgian musician Joel Vandroogenbroeck but is basically considered as Krautrock as most members were German. This is their second album and is a bit less experimental than their debut “Cottonwoodhill”. While many other Krautrock bands partly lacked of musical skillls this is an outstanding psychedelic masterpiece. I can highly recommend it to anyone. I think it has influenced me in the way of just being an album with a great variety of influences that range from Jazz, early Electronics, Rock, and “world music”.

6. Nobody – Soulmates
Ubiquity Records, 2000 / Discogs-Link

This is definitely one of my favourite instrumental albums, though it also contains some dope classic rap tunes featuring the likes of Freestyle Fellowship, Medusa, Abstract Rude and 2Mex. I love the deep, moody and still very soulful vibes on this debut and do not really understand why this album has basically been overlooked. In my opinion one of the most underrated albums of the early 2000s.

7. Xhol Caravan – Electrip
Hansa, 1969 / Discogs-Link

I don’t have a special story for this album by Xhol Caravan which is one of the first German records that can be labeled “Krautrock”. However, this album up to this day still sounds very comtemporary for me and I really love every title on it. The name of the band derived from Soul Caravan by the way and it is interesting how elements of Jazz, Funk and Psychedelic Rock blend here to a unique new sound. Unfortunately, I only own a reissue of this album as it is very hard to track down and usually costs more than 100 Euro as original pressing. The reissue came out in the late 90s and I think I bought it in the early 2000s on a small record fair close to where I lived.

8. DJ Krush – Strictly Turntablized
Mo Wax, 1994 / Discogs-Link

I still remember when I first listened to this album – I came home from school, being quite tired and put this on, falling half asleep while it was playing… The music kind of put me on a journey, I was just lying on my bed and enjoying. This album is one of Krush’s best works and marked a new era I think. It also features my favourite tune of him: “Kemuri”. One of the blue prints for instrumental Hip-Hop and beat making as we know it today.

9. Sly And The Family Stone – Stand
Epic, 1969 / Discogs-Link

This is a classic Funk / Soul album – it is listed because it is one of the albums that REALLY made me understand what a “break” is and where Hip-Hop music originally comes from. Although I had been djing for a while and of course knew how “hip hop music” was being made, finding this album in the late 90s and discovering the break on the track “You Can Make It If You Try” that was sampled by the Jungle Brothers for “Because I Got It Like That” really made me think: “WOW – this is fucking sick – I can’t believe that something from 1969 could sound so fresh”. I always LOVED the Jungle Brothers’ song and thought that it had a dope beat – finding out that there wasn’t really much added to the original sample kind of blew me away.

(Hint: the famous break starts at 0:52)

10. Various Artists – Ohrenschmaus
Ohr/Metropole, 1970 / Discogs-Link

I want to start with this compilation because it may have influenced me way more than other records as this was a record from my parent’s vinyl collection. My parents weren’t listening to much music at all and they only had one box of vinyl records. This album was amongst them – as a little child my sister and me were a bit of afraid of the artwork as it looked so spooky to us. It really freaked us the hell out to imagine that people would eat ears. In addition to that, the music was really strange and as a child I thought it was total crap. Many years later, when I already had been active as a hip hop DJ for a couple years and was getting deeper intro production, I dug out some records from my parents collection again and found out that this definitely had exactly some of the sounds on it that I had been looking for to sample from. Although this may not be the best Krautrock compilation it still bares some great tunes by Embryo, Amon Düül, Guru Guru and other groups that realeased music on the infamous Ohr Records label at that time.
Foto(s): Theresa Legler