BRASSICA aka Michael Wright has been a favourite artists of ours for the past year or so. We’ve posted on him a several times before and thought it would be really interesting to try and get under the skin of what he’s all about. He’s had a string of outstanding and rather unique releases on some legendary labels including the late, great Dissident records.
Anyway, we wanted to do something a bit different with Mike and asked him to list some of his most influential songs, along with some of his upcoming releases. This has proved very interesting for us and an idea we’re going to pursue in the future!
”The influential tracks are from various periods of my existence. I was torn between being completely honest (no matter how unfashionable and embarrassing the choices) and picking stuff that will appeal to your readers/listenership. The final choices are somewhere in between, but mostly leaning towards complete honesty.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better response or list of songs! But first, here is some of his existing/upcoming material for those who may not have been enlightened by his glistening analog synth journeys!
Brassica – Lydden Circut (what a track!!! Featured on our BIS mix and finally being release on Cyber Dance records as part of the ‘Messages from the Void Vol.2’ compilation – May 2nd)
Brassica – Clean with me (12″ out in a few weeks on Everyone Records US)
Brassica – Vanish (the B side to his rather epic New Jam City)
Magnets – Charm Offensive – Brassica remix (Perfect for Halloween & much darker than his usual approach)
Brassica live at ‘I feel space’ (stupidly nice live mix)
Ali Renault – Victory Horn
This track is just bliss. Ali and I studied Sound Design at uni together. He’s been a good friend and mentor to me for several years now. Victory Horn is from the very first Cyber Dance 12 inch, which was part of Ali’s uni project. So many good times with the Cyber Dance crew, so much of Ali’s music providing the soundtrack. His forthcoming album is a true work of art – you’re all in for a treat.
Breach – Valid
I grew up in Kent and between the ages of 16 and 20 I played bass in a kinda noisey hardcore metal band. I could have picked many tracks to represent this important period, but there is something about this album, the artwork and especially this track that is compositionally more advanced than so many bands of the same caliber. It sounds like a ship’s hopeless voyage through high seas. I can only dream of making music this vivid.
Dexter Wansell – Life On Mars
This track blows my f**king head off upon every listen ever since my friend Bill Ambrose first played it to me. It is the perfect piece of music and if I ever get close to making something like this in the future, I will die with a smile on my face.
I spent years making experimental music which slowly evolved into what I’m doing now, so I’m pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to disco and related styles. There’s nothing greater a friend who knows you well to say “hey listen, you’ll love this”. I lived with Gatto Fritto last year and that guy has a serious record collection. It was a very educating year, put it that way.
Fennesz – Rivers Of Sand
I’ve been through a few obsessive phases of music making. The best music of a specific style will stick with you right throughout your evolution and Fennesz’s music still informs everything I do now. I often think of music in terms of ‘concave’ and ‘convex’. Concave music is like watching a film – it’s your view pointing inwards to some kind of contrived space. Convex is like airless techno or a solo instrumentalist playing in the same room as you, it comes outwards at you and enters your own space. Fennesz appears to have mastered the art of shifting seamlessly between both states. It’s both ‘the man playing his guitar through his laptop’ and the narrative and situation he creates.
Plus this track reminds of the Fry’s Turkish Delight ad from when I was a kid, which used to haunt the shit out of me!
Future Sound of London – We Have Explosive
I come from a pretty straightforward working class family with all its disfunction and “get a fucking real job” you’d expect. I have an uncle that didn’t quite fit the same mould for some reason – he studied at Central St Martins, used to have a drum kit in his room and listened to stuff like Throbbing Gristle and this meant a lot to a 10 year old Brassica. When I was playing bass in bands he would say ” why are you spending all this time and money on something that makes one sound? ” He subsequently gave me the Nord Modular synthesizer I use for everything now, encouraged me to get into London and start Uni and also bought me this Future Sound of London album.
King Crimson – Elephant Talk
I’m unashamed – I love prog! But this album is prog that has done away with the English countryside, armour-wearing, organ-playing bullshit. It’s got an American coolness injected by Adrian Belew of Talking Heads, Frank Zappa etc. on vocals and guitar. I recently enlisted the drummer of my old hardcore band to play Brassica live shows with me. We’re obsessed with this shit! Expect to hear some electronic King Crimson-Discipline at a venue near you soon.
Origin Unknown – Valley Of The Shadows
Growing up on some pretty rough council estates in Kent during the early 90s, this stuff was the soundtrack. I was about 5 years too young to get into raves but the older kids I hung out with were. Listening to music like this at 12 years old, bedroom walls covered in fliers, trying to imagine what it’s actually like going to a rave, it was so mysterious, exciting and pretty scary, actually! The feeling of fear – your first proper hardcore-punk show attendance – an illegal party in the woods – that feeling is something I crave again.
I chose this track specifically because I think there is an obvious lineage to some of my current music, like Ballo dei Morti.
Ozric Tentacles – Dissolution (The Clouds Disperse)
My favourite band of all time, Full Stop. I will be here forever if I get started.
Pierre Schaeffer – Etude aux Chemins de Fer
I wanted to choose one piece of music concrete to represent my university studies. It could’ve been many pieces but this is the first tape composition, if my memory is correct.
I did some crazy things during my studies, like being part of a huge improvisation with the London Sinfonietta at the Royal Festival Hall. We had visiting lectures from people like Chris Watson (Cabaret Voltaire/BBC wildlife recordist) and many others. My mind was blown wide-open. I was a completely different person by the time I graduated about 5 years ago. I was awarded a first class honours too. It’ll never get me a job but hey… there are no jobs anyway :)
Scott Bradley – Tom’s Photo Finish
As you can hear from the intro, this is a piece of music from a Tom & Jerry cartoon. It could’ve been any T&J soundtrack I picked. Even when I try and make disco tracks, I’m still obsessed with trying to describe things and events from the everyday world. I suppose this is the basic premise of music but, I personally think, the more you understand about the mechanisms of why musical forms make sense to the human mind, the more tools you have to create great things.
The Scott Bradley compositions for Tom & Jerry are a clear example of music that literally describes events. It’s so well executed that even listening in isolation, I can’t hear instruments, I can just feel a frying pan being whacked around Tom’s head!
This music surely had an impact on so many young minds and it’s certainly part of my musical make-up.