Guest Selector: DALI

Enigmatic artist DALI drops her new EP this month via Edinburgh-based label Hobbes Music. Here, the talented techno producer selects the albums (and a couple of standalone tracks) that have influenced her sound in the studio

Feature by Claire Francis | 04 Apr 2018

Don't bother looking her up online: anonymous producer DALI eschews social media, press shots and the like, preferring to let her music do the talking. Following on from DALI's debut 12" record Voynich last year – which was supported by the likes of Ben UFO, Laurent Garnier, Domenic Cappello, Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) and many others – her forthcoming double-A-side 12" Leviathan/Electric Sheep is out via Hobbes Music on 6 April.

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Aphex completely sucked me in with this one.  A lot of the material sounds like it was actually made in much closer succession than seven years but I guess the title also bears testament to the time it took him to cultivate his sound, which makes perfect sense. His ear for a killer hook is near-flawless here, it’s pretty much perfect from start to finish. Soundtracked many a late night and hasn’t aged a bit. I love his sense of humour as well.

LFO – Advance
[Warp, 1996]
There was probably something in the water in Yorkshire in the 90s. It’s not as immediate as LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix) but as an album it completely unfolds over you and not always in a tranquil way. The textures rub against themselves and I like the sense of juxtaposition. Tied Up in particular is absolutely brutal but Shut Down is the one that I would drop in a sweaty techno set. 

Basic Channel  
[Basic Channel]
Basic Channel mixed reggae aesthetics with hypnotic rhythms and the deepest chords, cultivating a ‘Berlin sound’ a decade before Berghain opened and, as a lover of dub and techno, this really floats my boat. I have a fair few of the 12"s and their BCD album is also essential but this has always been my favourite (closely followed by Octagon). The way they let the rolling rhythms envelop you before they unleash the hats, and then they flit between the two moods before introducing yet more funky rhythms – fierce as fuck!  

Dr Rockit – Eau d’Erik
[Lifelike, 2000]
One of Matthew Herbert’s pseudonyms. I like artists that play around with identity, it allows you to be bold and not get painted into a corner by your own and others' expectations. This is my favourite track of his, the emotion he manages to convey in that pad sound is otherworldly. Every time I hear it the skin on my arms prickles.  

Autechre – Incunabula
[Warp, 1993]
I remember just being, like, ‘WTF IS THAT?!’ the very first time I heard this. I find Autechre’s later stuff increasingly cold and clinical, but Incunabula somehow oozes just as much warmth and soul as abstraction and desolation. Alongside second and third albums, Amber and Tri Repetae, this still sounds fresh to me.  I met them once and they were a properly awkward pair of scamps. 

Djrum – Untitled 9
[Ilian Tape, 2016]
My favourite on Ilian Tape, the production on this is some of the best I’ve ever heard. The drum programming is so immersive and intricate and there’s a real sense of forward motion.  It’s amazing to put on headphones and listen to this on a train journey or when you come back from a club in some sort of altered state.

The Other People Place – Let Me Be Me
[Warp, 2001]
James Stinson made some of the finest dance music of the 90s in Detroit duo Drexciya, before he tragically died in 2002. This is right up there, with a more cerebral, introspective aesthetic going on via weird, otherworldly pads, that moody vocal refrain and killer rhythm section.  Last year’s mini-album, Jack Peoples’ Laptop Cafe (Clone), is even airier fare than the original Lifestyles… release but no less vital for pure post-club vibes. He has such a deft, light, soulful touch which gets right under your skin. 

Mike Dehnert – Beatmatching
[Delsin, 2011]
There’s a very fine line between hypnotism and tedium and it’s one a lot of techno producers fall on the wrong side of, but not here. There’s a freshness to his sound choice and just enough melody to make it hooky as fuck. I once listened to this on repeat the day after a night out while reading the Voynich manuscript and eating Maltesers. I think a healthy balance is important in life. 

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou – Ne Te Faches Pas from The Kings Of Benin Urban Groove 19720-80
I picked the album up years ago, while discovering Fela Kuti et al but this is probably the stand-out cut. It’s insanely funky and was a bit of a ‘secret weapon’ for me personally until someone did a crafty edit last year. I’ve always been attracted to music from other cultures and African music/rhythms have been undergoing an exciting renaissance of sorts lately but a good groove is a good groove, wherever it comes from.

Patrice Rushen – Haven't You Heard
[Elektra, 1979]
I’ve a fair mistrust of people who claim to be into house music but don’t like disco. I love Patrice Rushen and she deserves way more credit than she gets. The groove on this is out of this world and it’s just such a joyous piece that I’m scrambling for superlatives to articulate my thoughts. Just turn it up, engage a glitter ball and you’ll know.

DALI, Leviathan b/w Electric Sheep is released on 6 Mar via Hobbes Music