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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Music that changed my life #1

There was a time, right after i felt the whole ID&T Thunderdome/Gabber thing was beginning to bore me, when i turned to breakcore. I'm not sure exactly how i got into it; probably through Ec8or, considering the Patric C connection to the gabber scene. Before breakcore became a household term, DHR was basically the easiest way to get at it, and for a while it was good, bullshit politics and all.
For a while i was making the most godawful amen-driven mashup garbage imaginable, and i thought Alec Empire was a god. Ironically, this album was what turned me away from DHR completely.

According to discogs.com, the album i'm writing about was released in 97, making me 15 at the time. I guess my slavering over DHR, which seemed at least to WANT something, can be explained away with puberty. However, this album and my long surviving love for it is something i'll stand for anytime.

Purchased at Tower records, somewhere in london, at a time when i was going through some pretty rough times at home, Christoph de Babalon's debut album, "If you're into it, i'm out of it", stands, in my opinion, as the single most mindblowing experience in terms of electronica that i can remember. It beats out listening to Arne Nordheim's Warszawa when i was a kid, it beats out Klaus Schulze's dune, even discovering Kraftwerk. All these artists, awesome as they are, don't stand for any particular philosophical direction beyond their work. They never represented more for me than sound.

I listened to this album expecting breaks and distortion. What i got was the beautiful, haunting opening track Opium; 12 minutes of pads, strings and reversed bells, echoing on forever.
I listened through the whole album lying in my bed that night, start to finish, and not a single sound was disagreeable. It embodied everything i needed at the time; A frustrated yet melancholy *drive* forwards, in spite of the label that released it. Nothing else on DHR ever came close to matching the originality and artistry of this release. This album was never particularly dancable, moshable, or even headnod worthy. What carries through like a straight line right through it, is the will to combine an emotional core with a violent exterior.

The first real mindblower came with"What you call a life", with its Charlie Manson samples underlying a simple, building amen breaks over melancholy pads, is something i listen to often, to this day. It went on to inspire most of my work from there on. It taught me that a piece of music doesn't have to be all out in any direction. It can be multiple, separate entities all going their own paths, but coming together where it counts; in essence.

"What you call a life" is the single most inspiring piece of music i've heard, and you can hear its influence in almost everything i've done since then.

The second most amazing piece on the album, "Water", was a darker, less emotional piece, mechanically pounding through complex patterns of amen breaks, super low pitched kicks, noise bursts and howling background ambience. The track has multiple directions at any time, making it pleasingly tough to hear whenever something begins or ends. "Water" taught me about messing with expectations, it taught me how to build into a break when you least expect it, cutting it off when it hurts the most, and how a simple evocative title can communicate more images to your listener's mind than any number of samples or lyrics.

"If you're into it, i'm out of it" is the most evocative breakcore record ever made, and at the time, there was nothing like it. Nothing.

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