In the ever-evolving world of electronic music, Ben Sun stands out with his remarkable blend of classic and contemporary sounds. As he gears up to release his much-anticipated ‘Apex EP’ on Cyphon Recordings, we at Dirty Disco had the privilege of inviting Ben to share the tracks that have significantly influenced his musical journey. From the sensual rhythms of Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’ to his own creation ‘Self-Other’, Ben’s selection is a vivid reflection of his diverse and eclectic taste. These ten tracks not only showcase the evolution of his musical style but also give us a glimpse into the soul of his upcoming ‘Apex EP’.
1. Madonna – Justify My Love
I was around 7 years old when I saw the video for this, a rare late night at a friends house. It blew my mind, all this mysterious sexuality. But it’s also a killer track. Heavy beats and raw synth, sounds like it could have been produced by Lil Louis in Chicago.
2. Alan Parsons Project – The Fall Of The House Of Usher Arrival
My Dad had this record, an album based around the gothic horror poetry of Edgar Allan Poe… kind of prog/jazz/rock… awesome trippy synth atmospheres, and when beats drops, it’s such heavy break.
3. Severed Heads – Dead Eyes Opened
Enduring hit by this pioneering Australian electronic group. This one has a great combination of opposing forces – sweet pop synth lines and brutal industrial drones, underneath the spoken word tale of murder and the supernatural… There are better edits of this track out there (like the one released by Dark Entries), but this link has the original music video which is great.
4. DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)
Pre-emptive Strike – and Entroducing – felt like the logical next step from Alan Parsons. Shadow’s cinematic, instrumental hip hop created new worlds in my mind. Pioneering stuff, and apparently created entirely on the Akai MPC60, which in part led me to that instrument.
5. Black Gold – C’mon Stop
After all the introspective stoner stuff, a good friend turned me onto the joys of underground disco music. This one for me (and the Prelude label in general) epitomises that previously unknown (by me) sound. Electronic backbeat, with haunting vocals and synth lines, it swiftly dispenses with any notions of disco as a cheesy Saturday Night Fever cliche.
6. A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Enter house music. Sonically, this track made my jaw drop. What I later discovered was the sound of multiple SH101’s, driven by trigger inputs (not MIDI or CV) – a weird Roland thing that the pioneering Gerald figured out for himself. Technical wizardry and musical brilliance. The resonant harmonics created by the mono-synths still gives me goosebumps.
7. Recloose – Get There Tonight
Genre-defying, kind of electronic/techno funk sounds on Carl Craig’s Planet E label. None of this minimal, lo-fi business, this was meticulously crafted with beautiful details and instrumentation. Recloose has got mad skills – apparently he also toured as part of Innerzone Orchestra after this.
8. Jamie Principle – Baby Wants To Ride (X-Rated)
Again with the electro-funk house crossover sound… but a much more gritty, sweaty underground vibe. I bought my copy from the legendary DJ HMC (a hometown hero), and I remember begging the local record store to find me more like this… which they couldn’t. Maybe some Prince bootlegs that came close… but man, what a sound. And the whole conversation with God that turns into some kind of erotic explosion!!
9. Los Hermanos – Quetzel
No-one does it like Los Hermanos (or UR). Super inspiring, full of vitality – a real feel-good rave classic. Live-sounding Latin percussion and epic strings, this is all-ages dynamite.
10. Ben Sun – Self-Other
My humble offering, as a snapshot of where I ended up. It’s a pretty simple affair – some reverby chords and lead sound from the Prophet-style ‘string ensemble’, got the 808 accompanied by some sounds from the Linn Drum through my MPC, and bass from the Arp Odyssey – with its dual VCOs clashing to create some interesting harmonics. Lastly, philosopher Alan Watts talking about “the inseparable identity of self and other” – the principle of Unity and how the Great Tao flows everywhere.
End conclusion by Dirty Disco.
Ben Sun’s selection is a masterclass in musical evolution, seamlessly weaving together elements from different eras and genres. Each track he has chosen tells a story – a story of innovation, emotion, and profound musicality. As we eagerly await the release of the ‘Apex EP’, let’s delve into these influential tracks and experience the rich tapestry of sounds that have shaped Ben Sun’s unique style. A big thank you to Ben for this enlightening musical journey. To all music lovers, immerse yourself in these seminal tracks and prepare to be captivated by the genius of Ben Sun’s ‘Apex EP’ (also available on vinyl).
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