Guest Selector: François K

DJ, producer, engineer and all-round studio wizard François Kevorkian offers a tantalising glimpse into his innermost musical joys.

Feature by François Kevorkian | 02 Jun 2016

Jimi Hendrix – The Cry of Love [Track Records, 1971]
This posthumous collection of songs shows where Hendrix was headed; many of these are slightly unfinished but it gives the listener a good sense of where Hendrix's unmatched musical prowess was going. Definitely in a soulful direction, and incorporating more orchestration than his previous studio efforts.

Soft Machine – Soft Machine Vol. I & II [Probe, 1970]
These two albums paint a remarkable picture; they are a unique blend of sophisticated music-making, with a jazzy approach and a great, zany sense of humour. They were remarkably ahead of their time, and remain eminently listenable, something of a benchmark for the music that followed from the many bands that took up this ‘Canterbury’ sound.

Marvin Gaye – What's Going On [Tamla, 1971]
Impossible to avoid once I'd heard this lyrical and poignant call to consciousness. Also, in my mind it represents a significant step because it lifts Motown up from being a mere hit-making machine to producing socially conscious music that elevates the mind. The album became a rallying point for the many who were questioning the way things were happening in America in those years, and is still just as relevant today.

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew [Columbia, 1970]
Shocked jazz reviewers didn't quite know what to make of Bitches Brew, and Miles sure had some instinct about setting the course of this band in particular for some uncharted destinations. As such, it captivated many of us because it represented (and still does) an artist's uncompromising quest for new musical vistas, and boldly forging ahead with great success where no one had dared to before with the use of electrified instruments.

Herbie Hancock – Thrust [Columbia, 1974]
When I first heard this back in 1975 it represented a 'funk manifesto' of sorts. Here was the prototype for a new approach that was blending jazz and funky rhythms in a way that truly made sense. The song Butterfly in particular is a composition of astounding cosmic depth that I never tire of listening to.

Augustus Pablo – Original Rockers [Greensleeves, 1979]
Truly expressing some of the best vibes that Kingston, Jamaica, was producing at that time, this album is actually in part a collection of dubs from other artist releases that Pablo produced. But they certainly stand on their own as masterpieces of the early roots sound with just the right amount of experimental spacey attitude and delightful eternal melodies.

Black Uhuru – The Dub Factor [Island, 1983]
This completely took me over as soon as I heard it. The band's playing was of course peerless, but it's the advanced integration of all these tracks into a long seamless musical journey that made it truly stand out, as well as the use of effects to turn them into completely new pieces. Head and shoulders above so much that came out at that time or since.

Maurizio – Maurizio [Maurizio, 1997]
Here we have the template and instructions for dub techno and much that followed it, in its purest, unadulterated form. But it also has a potent minimalist groove, an inner swing that many have often tried to imitate but never quite managed to. It remains just as tantalising, mysterious and hypnotic today, almost 20 years on.

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 [Apollo, 1992]
I was so deeply immersed in these dreamy layers of electronic textures, and this record has inspired me countless times, probably changed the way I think about electronic music altogether. Very forward-thinking back then, still relevant today.

Kraftwerk – Computer World [Kling Klang, 1981]
Obvious choice, but something that seems to have influenced so much once we all heard it. It could be argued that techno and electro wouldn't be the same if this hadn't been released. Its poetic view of technology and the band's use of simple but timeless and catchy melodies remain unmatched.

Flying Lotus – Los Angeles [Warp, 2008]
It's been difficult to think of recent works that have the sort of impact I am always on the lookout for. Something that can put me in a 'dream state' while I listen, and with enough of a wild and psychedelic quality that I will want to come back to it again and again. This album gets better the more I listen to it, as more hidden gems reveal themselves.

François K joins Mr Scruff for Keep it Unreal's 17th birthday party at Old Granada Studios, Manchester, 3 June

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