How devotional music, Japanese techno pop, and Blue Velvet inspired the artful house producer's new album.
Fort Romeau: "I used this on a couple of tracks on the album, most notably on the track Insides. The main chord sequence was made by passing a Rhodes piano through its filters, and the crazy distortion noise is also generated using this machine. Unfortunately, they are quite rare - I borrowed it from a friend, who was borrowing it from Soulwax, and I no longer have it - but hopefully I'll be able to pick one up at some point. It was also the main synth that Human League used for their first record 'Reproduction', which is a killer record, if you like that kind of thing."
Fort Romeau: "This is an insane record that made a big impact on me when I heard it a couple of years ago - a hyper-rare cassette-only release by Alice Coltrane of devotional songs recorded with voice, synthesizer, and strings. Luckily for us, the internet exists and it's quite easy to find online. I don't really know a great deal more about the record, but it's stunning, and has had quite a significant influence on me."
Fort Romeau: "Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how this might have influenced the record. The opening credits, which feature a gently billowing blue velvet curtain, has just always resonated with me. It's such a beautiful image. I like to think of music in very visual terms, and this image of deep blue velvet has always seemed a perfect analog to the kind of sound textures which appeal to me."
Fort Romeau: "'Sonanze' is one of my favourite albums. It wasn't until the record was re-pressed a few years ago with a CD of additional material that I was able to get hold of a physical copy. The album proper is in line with the 20th century tradition of the classical avant-garde mixing classical orchestration with electronics and the manipulated voice. Some real gems are to be found in the additional materials - simple pieces like Moog Sequence” show a more experimental side of his electronic composition."
Fort Romeau: "Ex-Yellow Magic Orchestra member Hideki Matsutake’s and Makoto Irie’s 1981 album as Logic System is a classic of Japanese techno pop/new wave/whatever. I don't know if its just my personal perspective, but this music, while quite clearly rooted in its time, still has a kind of vitality and immediacy that is really appealing today."
Fort Romeau: "Surely one of the most wonderful labels in contemporary electronic music, who consistently release some of the best 'deep house' records. Too many great records to pull out individual titles, but many imbued with a playful charm and experimentalism that sets them apart."
Fort Romeau: "I really like to look to other artistic disciplines besides music for inspiration, and I've always been a big fan of Altmejd’s ability to play with sculpture's formal elements. The way he mixes textures is somehow both repulsive and appealing. My tendency is to veer towards a more analogue and rounded sound, but pieces like this remind me that sometimes stark contrasts are needed in order to really appreciate the essential nature of any given convention."
Fort Romeau: "Tim Sweeny’s BiS podcasts have been a favorite of mine for years, consistently great mixes by some of the most interesting DJs around. If I could only listen to one mix series for the rest of time, it would be this one."
Fort Romeau: "Hardly the most fashionable of artists, Renoir, but there's only so many times I can visit a gallery full of black plastic boxes and half-baked video art before I start to yearn for something a bit more visceral. As naff as an impressionistic painting of a bunch of flowers might seem, I think this piece represents the distillation of an artist in their most confident and subliminal state, and there's a vitality in its luxuriance and simplicity, if you ask me."
Photo by Lauren Gesswein
Fort Romeau: "Since releasing my first LP I’ve been fortunate enough to play in some really great clubs all over Europe and have been playing more and more extended sets. Digging for material to fill these four/five/six hour slots, and looking for something a bit different to play, was a key factor in discovering much of the music that inspired the sound of this record."
Click on any of the images above to launch the gallery
Fort Romeau introduced himself to the world with his astounding album 'Kingdoms' in 2012, released via 100% Silk. Since then, Romeau - the creative namesake of London-based house producer Mike Greene - has remained busy with a series of singles and EPs for Ghostly that have captured his gradual, but consistent development, culminating in the sound of his second album, 'Insides'.
Though Greene's music was never particularly showy, 'Insides' rids itself of the embellishments and subtle flourishes of his earlier work and distils his sound, bringing the essential essences of its character to the forefront. It's an artful take on deep house, low-key in its presentation yet rich and rewarding as a collection, and it's the sort of album one might expect from a perceptive and considered individual like Greene. We asked him to contribute to our occasional inspirations feature series, where artists highlight some of the influences on their album - musical and non-musical, expected and unexpected.
Here, Greene talks about the impact of David Lynch's Blue Velvet on his album cover, of classicism in art, and of a truly stunning Alice Coltrane record.
Ghostly released 'Insides' on March 30th 2015 (buy).