1. AUTECHRE – “NIL”
This is such an emotive, amazing song. When I first heard Autechre, I wasn’t familiar with IDM, and was blown away by the intricate composition and sound design in this track. Before that I only knew the house and techno I grew up on in Chicago—more sample-based, functional dance floor music. Autechre’s album Amber has so much depth; it’s instrumental music that takes the listener on a personal journey, much like classical.
2. LUCIANO BERIO – “VISAGE”
I’ll never forget listening to this song for the first time. I was alone in the borderline-creepy music listening library at university, and I put the needle on the record with headphones. I remember being shocked, on the edge of my seat, and almost frightened! The song is completely unpredictable, and sonically out of control. Berio seems completely liberated in this song, and that sense of freedom was really inspiring to me as a new composer.
3. MASSIVE ATTACK – “UNFINISHED SYMPATHY”
The lyrics, mood, and strings in this track are amazing. One of my all-time favorites for sure. I saw Massive Attack recently at Brixton Academy in London and their live show was absolutely fantastic. This is a band with real vision, trying to make the world a better place through music. Love them.
4. ERIK SATIE – “GNOSSIENNE: NO. 1”
Satie’s piano compositions helped me see a connection between sparse minimal electronic music and classical piano. His music is so clean and concise, and the minimalism of this piece reminds me of sparse electronic music. Satie’s compositions require a lot of musical expression, as it’s all about the intent of slight harmonic changes.
5. DERRICK MAY – “STRINGS OF LIFE”
The ultimate strings-over-techno track, this was played at a lot of underground parties in the Midwest heyday. The soulful piano, driving beats, and epic strings really reflect the classic Detroit sound.
Kate Simko’s debut album with the London Electronic Orchestra string ensemble is now available through Vinyl Factory. Stream it in full below, along with some live footage and an ambient remix.