#44 - Oberman Knocks
After Donga’s superlative techno and house romp we now welcome a mix that redefines the word eclectic from Oberman Knocks. Cramming some 85 tracks into 75 minutes, Oberman Knocks manages to cut n paste hip hop, ambient, techno, electronica, experimental, electro, house, disco, boogie, African and classic synth pop into a heady kaleidoscopic brew of mutant funk. From Autechre to Clams Casino, Flying Lotus to Radiohead, Aphex Twin to Sneaker Pimps, Drexciya to Manu Dibango, Aleem to Gescom, Grace Jones to Coil and LFO to the Human League this is a full on sonic collage that somehow makes sense. Just press play for the full aural assault!
Oberman Knocks is London-based, electronic producer Nigel Truswell. With no interest in tech-talk, the latest plug-ins or trends, his tracks are all about the creation and manipulation of sounds for the pure pleasure of the production itself. Spurning sterile accuracy and clinically happy tunes for sounds that bring back some of the dirt and darkness that has been swept away of late, his music inhabits the dark corridors of the mind through to large expanses of concrete space waiting to be filled. His influences include the likes of Warp and Skam as well many genres such as funk, Motown and Hip Hop.
It was through Autechre’s Sean Booth and fellow Warp recording artist Mira Calix that Nigel was first encouraged to start making his own music. He has previously released tracks as Alkin Engineering and W’G Machines on a number of independent labels, including the esteemed Static Caravan imprint, Unlabel, October Man Recordings, Shima and nastycandy as well as ‘Oberman Knocks’ on Andrea Parker’s aperture.
EPM Podcast 44 – Oberman Knocks: tracklist
01 Flying Lotus - Auntie's Harp (Rebekah Raff Remix)
02 Radiohead - Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene Rmx)
03 Req - Subculture
04 Babe Rainbow - Care
05 Run Seefeel - Rip
06 Billie Ray Martin - (I Spent Hours Again) Wishing You Well
07 Gescom - Motor 4
08 Roxanne Shanté - Bite This
09 Le1f - Yup
10 Boards of Canada - Sunshine Recorder
11 Autechre - YJY UX
12 Higher Intelligence Agency - Speech3 (Conoid Tone Reformed By Autechre)
13 Clams Casino - Drowning
14 Bibio - Kaini Industries (Original By Boards Of Canada)
15 Plaid - On My Bus (Original By Plone)
16 Nicolette - No Government (Plaid Remix)
17 Matthew Jonson - Decompression
18 Coil - Finite Bees
19 Einoma - En Route
20 X - TG featuring Antony Hegarty - Janitor Of Lunacy
21 Room - Making the new
22 Drexciya - Davey Jones Locker
23 Chris 'The Glove' Taylor - Itchiban Scratch
24 Push Button Objects - Non Existant (Gescom Mix)
25 Quinoline Yellow - Eythyl Maltol
26 Hydro - All Y'all
27 Vaetxh - crumbling shuffle
28 Yasume - Rengoku (Condensed)
29 Rosu Bjork - Visur Vatnsenda
30 Bjork - All Neon Like
31 Ylem - Red Herring
32 Gonjasufi - The Blame
33 Jamie Lidell - What A Shame
34 Gescom - Puzl
35 Logerbream - Track 02
36 Jedi Knights - Lessons
37 Kid 606 - secrets 4 sale
38 Murcof - ulysses
39 Amx By Arovane - No Movement No Sound No Memories Edit
40 Baby Ford - Hi, Mr Logan
41 Autechre - Latent Quarter
42 Bulgarian Women's Choir (Angelite) - Nov Den
43 Venetian Snares - Galamb Egyedül
44 Bitstream - F Codex
45 Bjork - All is Full of Love (Plaid Remix)
46 Bjork - Mouth's Cradle
47 LFO - Simon From Sydney
48 Shinjuku Thief - Ritual Aggression
49 Cyclobe - You're Not Alone, You're Dreaming
50 Team Doyobi - Maltazers
51 Einoma - A Floti
52 Mira Calix with Oliver Coates - In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country (Original By Boards Of Canada)
53 Alder and Elius - Terry's Medication
54 Kraftwerk - Music Non Stop (Live in Moscow)
55 Simon Pyke - MAISH
56 Two Fingers - Subway Rhythm
57 Sneaker Pimps - Spin Spin Sugar (Album Mix)
58 Manu Dibango - Abele Dance
59 Moloko - Day For Night
60 Arovane - Thaem Nue
61 Aphex Twin - To Cure A Weakling Child
62 Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm
63 Boards of Canada - 17 A Is To B As B Is To C
64 Christ - Arctica
65 Cylob - Sanq (Autechre Mix)
66 Andrea Parker - Atacama Giant
67 Autechre - VLetrmx21
68 Plaster - Double Connection (Dadub Rmx)
69 The Gosub Routine - Routine 5
70 Autechre - pce freeze 2.8i
71 Yellow Magic Orchestra - La Femme Chinoise (The LFO Remix)
72 LFO - We Are Back
73 Murcof - Maiz
74 Bola - Triangle Cake
75 Shunjuku Thief - Carnality
76 Shinjuku Thief - Evolution
77 Cerrone - Supernature
78 Gescom - Key Nell 2
79 Aleem featuring Leroy Burgess - Release Yourself
80 Funckarma - PAZM
81 Harmonic 313 - falling away steve spacek
82 Human League - The Sound Of The Crowd
83 Shinjuku Thief - Predation
84 Flying Lotus - ...And The World Laughs With You ft Thom Yorke
85 Doctor Rockit - Theeeee Ennnnnd
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Q&A with Oberman Knocks
1. Please give us a quick run through the mix. What inspired you to choose these tracks?
I basically started off with a couple that I knew I wanted to include in there and then built the mix from there. It's almost how I'd work producing a track – start off with a single sound and then construct around that. Once I'd decided on those it was a case of playing them and listening to see what prompts to other tracks came, then that would trip another notion of something to go in there that I could either layer over, or cut to.
I wanted to produce something that presented a small selection of what I've listened to over the years, whether it be in a club, gig, or at home with headphones on, and that wasn't locked into a particular strand or vibe. It's like a quick radio dial spin of stuff I like, be it hip-hop or The Bulgarian Women's State Choir, newly released or from the 70s etc.
2. For a mix that takes in so many jumbled genres it also seems to make sense. Did you already have an idea of how you wanted it to flow?
No real idea of the flow, but I knew that I wanted it to be disrupted in the way that you'd get in say early 80s hip-hop cut ups, or as you would with a mix tape, but for it still to hang together. I liked the idea of plenty of builds and falls too – something that's good for a long car drive up the motorway or a plane journey.
3. Your two albums as Oberman Knocks have both been released on Andrea Parker’s Aperture imprint. How did you first make contact?
We met through Mira Calix who we were both friends with. Parker wanted some labels designing (I'm one half of a graphic design studio called Pony with Niall Sweeney) so she put the two of us together – that was our first encounter really.
4. Autechre’s Sean Booth described your last album as ‘sounding like a soundtrack for some brutal tech horror film — so dark. Makes our stuff sound like a posh garden party’. How do you view your own production?
It's really difficult to be objective about your own stuff, because you're actually in there, so when you listen to it you hear everything that's wrong with it and what you'd change. I just see it as me making sounds that interest me, and then constructing them into some sort of composition. I’m much more interested with the process of making something – that’s what I get a kick out of, so I just see my own stuff as work in progress. I don't really have a need to label it as anything because I've no desire to be part of a scene or to sell myself in any particular way, so that’s not something that I give any thought to, to be honest.
I'm very aware that a lot of people find it really dark, (or grim as some of my mates have told me), but I've always been drawn to those kind of sounds. Being Boiled was the first thing that I bought when I was ten, so that probably tells you something. But you know for a lot of people dark stuff is really beautiful and incredibly rich. I do sometimes wonder if I've a happy tune in me though!
5. Your production has a dark, cinematic quality. Is film a key influence?
I'd be more inclined to say that I was influenced by cinema than any other medium really. One of the best pieces of advice that I got when studying graphics was to stop looking at what other people do, because inevitably you end-up being influenced by their output on some level, and that then invariably manifests itself in your own work, whether consciously or not. Watching a good movie or piece of theatre is more about inspiring you to want to go and make something I think, so there's no risk of a literal translation involved.
6. Although your music exists outside or on the edge of most dancefloors does club music and clubs in general still play a key part in your life?
Clubs have certainly played a major role in my life – I started going to them when I was fourteen and would be out six nights a week when I was at college and first started working, and I'd still go to them occasionally now, but nowhere near as often – I'd never get any work done! Club music has certainly shifted over the years into the mainstream arena, and I've no interest in any of that kind of stuff, particularly in London. I'd be more inclined to be checking out small events, or places when I'm away – like the lesbian hip-hop club I went to with some friends round the back of some dodgy parking lot in Las Vegas a few years back.
7. Which artists currently inspire you?
Autechre – on so many levels. I think that it's really quite an achievement to have produced the amount of work that they have and to still have kept their integrity with what they do. I also think that it's a real testament to such an amazing friendship that they've kept working together for so long – let's be honest most couples can't stay that committed to each other for that long these days! Output wise I'm always respectful of what they produce – there's always a very focussed vision that's never swayed by external factors and I think that this is something commendable in an age where way too many people are obsessed by social media 'like's and trying to second guess what will sell or appeal to people.
There's always some new territory to investigate with their albums and in one way or another a good challenge in there. To keep that momentum going over so many years and releases is really quite something. Parker has also been a great inspiration to me because she's given me a sense of worth with what I produce. I'd been a fan of hers both as a DJ and producer a long time before we met, and I had a lot of respect for what she'd achieved and who she'd worked with over the years, so for me it was a real boost for her to invest in me as an artist. It's really tough for independent labels at the moment too, so I think hats off to anyone that's doing that you know.
8. Go on then, plug your new stuff.
I've just started work on a mix for Secret Thirteen, which was great to be asked to do. That will be out in September and will have some new unreleased material in there, along with reworked sounds from previous releases. There's a remix I've done which will be out on Detroit Underground that's probably the most clubby track I've done to date and a departure from the more arrhythmic stuff I'd normally do.
Also a new track that will be released on Aperture as a limited edition with a remix that I'm really looking forward to, but until it lands back with me I'm keeping schtum on who that is. I've just changed my set-up and still finding my feet with all of that, so no other major new releases planned yet, and I'm still trying to find the time to work on a live set.
9. What would be your ideal London weekend (sky’s the limit, money no object)?
That’s an easy one. When I got married back in 2009 virtually everyone that we wanted there managed to make it, be it from down the road, Ireland, Europe, or the States and it was such an incredible thing to have all of your loved ones together in one place. Great weather, amazing people, eating, drinking and lots of dancing that went on for a good few days afterwards. So I'd do that all over again, but if money's no object foot the bill for everyone.
10. Please give us your all time top 10 electronic albums:
Off the top of my head and in no particular order these would be ones that have been pretty key for me in one way or another.
Germ - Parrot
LFO - Frequencies
Kraftwerk - The Man Machine
Jonzun Crew - Lost in Space
Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children
Various Artists - Crucial Electro
Disjecta - Clean Pit and Lid
Black Dog Productions – Bytes
Einoma - Milli Tonverka
Any album from Autechre