ndy Meecham has had a long career making weird dance music with Bizarre Inc, Chicken Lips, Sir Drew, Rhythm Mode:D, and Future Four among others, but the project that’s perhaps his most telling (not to mention most prolific) is The Emperor Machine. A total nerd for all things synthesizer, Meecham’s work as The Emperor Machine has spanned four albums of mutant club, analogue wig-outs, psychedelic disco, and motorik electro-funk that make the most out of his arsenal of analogue and modular electronic instruments.
New album ‘Like A Machine’ sees Meecham embracing pop music more than ever, with a bunch of collaborations both vocal and behind the boards (fellow nerd Todd Terje pops up on So.Ma.So to man the System 700). Noticably, Meecham introduces the rhythms and basslines of early hip hop, electro, and go-go across several of the album’s tracks, and here he counts down some of the electro that influenced him over the years.
Meecham calls this the 10 best “school bus electro” tracks – we can only assume that it’s his personal slang for “old school”. From Hashim to the World Class Wreckin’ Cru to Cybotron, here are The Emperor Machine’s 10 favourite electro tracks.
Time Zone – The Wildstyle
The Emperor Machine: “I first heard this at the local nightclub on a Sunday evening – it was a teenager’s night called ‘Teen Scene’. Originally written by German band Wunderverke, on the UK release it’s credited to Rusty Egan, Mr. Visage.”
Hashim – Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)
The Emperor Machine: “This track has the best beats ever – and that bass line! I bought this record from Ruby Red in Wolverhampton, and it’s still stayed unscratched to this day. It’s got to be in my top 10 proper school bus electro list.”
Cold Crush Brothers – At The Dixie
The Emperor Machine: “One of my favourite scenes in the movie Wildstyle. I loved the rap, the groove, and everything about this track. Also, the basketball battle with the Fantastic 5.”
Captain Rapp – Bad Times (I Can’t Stand It)
The Emperor Machine: “For me, I was into this track only because of the music – the rap says something that I couldn’t really relate to being a teenager in sunny Stafford in the ’80s; political rhymes like Grandmaster Flash’s The Message. Classic Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis production. I always thought it was great that the track started with the snare drum and not the kick.”
Davy DMX – One For The Treble
The Emperor Machine: “The first time I heard this was on ‘Electro 8’, when I was about 15 or 16. Immediately, the bass guitar riff blew me away. It continued to fuel my growing addiction to the sounds of the DMX drum machine.”
Imperial Brothers – We Come To Dub
The Emperor Machine: “I used to start my mixes with this track because of the synth intro. Dubmix is a classic – amazing Hashim production that I was really into at the time, perfect beats, intro full of gated verbs…”
World Class Wreckin’ Cru – Surgery
The Emperor Machine: “I loved the Egyptian synths on this, and the heart monitor beep. I remember I did a swap for this 12″ with my mate at the time because he got bored of the rap. Lucky me. I put it on all my DJ mixes.”
Mantronix – Needle To The Groove
The Emperor Machine: “I picked this record up in the shop because of the amazing cover and took it to the counter to listen and bought it! I remember at the time I didn’t have a lot of stuff to mix with it being a slower groove. Ace track.”
Jonzun Crew – Pack Jam (Look Out For The OVC)
The Emperor Machine: “It’s the Outer Visual Communicator, this record is so amazing – along with ‘Space Is The Place’, this has to be one of the best EVER electro tracks of all time.”
Cybotron – Clear
The Emperor Machine: “I first heard this on a Lenny Henry radio show in my bedroom. I quickly found a blank cassette and recorded the last half of the track, but the annoying thing was that I missed who it was by! Detroit electronic classic. Juan Atkins and Rick Davis, the sound of the future.”
Southern Fried Records released ‘Like A Machine’ on May 19th 2014 (buy).