Each month one of Clan Analogue’s artists presents a Spotify playlist highlighting influences, inspirations, obscurities and anything else interesting in the world of electronic music.
Aeriae is Sydney-based electronic composer and producer Wade Clarke. His grandfather was an engineer and almost-concert pianist, and Wade grew up playing the piano by ear. Aeriae’s novel aesthetic is informed as much by Warp figureheads like Autechre as by classical music and 80s electronic film scores like Tron and Escape From New York. Wade’s other involvements include writing, reviewing, Interactive Fiction, illustration and the Apple II.
Wade takes us through his playlist in his own words, track by track:
This playlist mixes its way through things I’ve dug recently, perennial favourites of mine and goodies from Clan Analogue. I wanted it to be eclectic enough to show what I think about music – that all genres are connected in different ways and you shouldn’t limit yourself.
Autechre – LCC
Autechre are my favourite electronic musicians. I think they’re the most novel, the best at manipulating sound, the most consistent in producing challenging and high quality material in different iterations over the years. I kick off my playlist with LCC because it’s the kind of thing that’s provocative to a lot of people in terms of ideas about what music is or can be. It starts with beats only, drum machines doing exploding fireworks. Then something like a wonky C64 bicycle trundles in. Then you become aware of a low key prettiness.
Valley Forge – Twenty Deadly Diseases
This is my favourite Severed Heads cover from Clan Analogue’s Headspace album. It’s smooth and cold with weird, arch lyrics and vocals. I love the tense shape of the two chords preceding the move into the chorus.
Grimes – Weregild
Perilous, reverb-heavy goth pop from Grimes’s second record. For someone with what might be considered an idiosyncratic vocal range, she does a lot of novel things with her voice.
Goblin – Suspiria
The theme from 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria. Nursery rhyme nightmare atmospherics and witchcraftery. One of Goblin’s finest.
Clan Analogue – CALG101 – Null Object Remix
I don’t know a lot about Null Object, the Clan Analogue artist, or perhaps earlier Clan Analogue material in general, except that I always like Null Object tracks. Their sharp production makes them stand above a lot of lower-fi old Clan tracks, and I like the artist’s particular way with repetition.
Ubin – Willow
From the Clan Recordable collection, which has 2 CDs worth of Clan tracks from over the years. The noise drums on Willow sound excellent, as does that high, searing synth, and I like the circling riffs. Then there’s that ghostly human voice synth. (I think it’s a synth.) Having said all this, my understanding is that the guys in Ubin changed what they were doing, and the band name, and added vocals, and got way more ‘fun’. I haven’t listened to the result but, with extreme prejudice, my reaction just to the idea is ‘BLERGH!’
Curve – Horror Head – Remix
From the spectre of mucking up electronic music by adding vocals to it, I segue to a band who sort of came the other way, adding drum machines and weird noises to guitars and shoe gazing. Brits Curve are probably underknown, considering the number of later acts that sound like them. I remember seeing the video for this track, Horror Head, on the Michael Tunn-hosted Afternoon Show as a kid, and watching Toni Haliday’s own uniquely shaped head emerge repeatedly from underwater. I didn’t understand the track at the time. I was still pre-Nirvana, who opened my neural connections up to weirder rock music.
Mel & Kim – Showing Out (Get Fresh At the Weekend)
Staying in Britain: I recently revisited Mel & Kim’s first single, the Stock, Aitken & Waterman-produced ‘Showing Out’. This version, the album original, has some pretty aggressive drum machine and vinyl edits for a pop track (however, a lot of this stuff was cut out – quite gracelessly, at Phil Harding’s own admission – for the radio edit) and the harmonies on the chorus sound terrific. Sometimes I feel I can’t exactly work out which pairs of notes the sisters are singing. That’s usually something that attracts me to a piece of music, when it has some element you can almost grasp, but not quite.
Steeleye Span – The Blacksmith
Staying in Britain part 2: The Blacksmith, by Steeleye Span. The moment where some who’ve persisted with this playlist will go: ‘Did the playlist end? Wtf is this?’ Steeleye Span are British folk rockers who sing about hangings, beheadings, kings and queens, and witches with names like Alison Gross. The mood of the band is pretty inimitable. They’ve been around since 1970 and are still going, and this is only the second track from their first record. I like the medieval-sounding minor mode, the non 4/4 time scheme, the harmonising and the ritualistic lyrics.
Autechre – 1 1 is
Back to Autechre again: 1 1 is is from their double album extravaganza of 2013, Exai. The first part of the track a brooding melodic stroll. The second part is a granular machine delivering one slow blow after another.
Autechre – tac Lacora
Higher paced (and some might say ‘prototypical’) Autechre from the L-event EP of the same year.
Wagon Christ – Sci-Fi Staircase
Wagon Christ is one of Luke Vibert’s many pseudonyms. Does Sci-Fi Staircase have the best sub bass line ever? Maybe. Either way, this track made me want to write sub bass lines like this.
Dedderz – CrashLand
I saw Dedderz live last year then bought their Crashland EP. This is the short opening track. I like the high drama of it, and the lyric, ‘Crash into the gates of heaven with you,’ though the production is slammed.
Dedderz – I Like to F**K
My apologies for taking this playlist well into the blue, but I saw Dedderz do ‘I Like to F**k’ live. Nancy X appears to be a very fit woman and I imagine she goes to the gym a lot.
Bleepin’ J Squawkins – Voodoo Doll
Catchy bleepiness from the analogue-leaning duo on Clan. It sounds like they’re playing a Commodore 64 here, or at least something with a SID chip in it.
Gescom – A2
Gescom is a large, anonymous electronic music collective. It also includes both halves of Autechre. A2 is a high pace acid track which is constantly breaking and crunching. It’s both a mover-maker and something that is stimulating to try to follow.
Deee-Lite – Somebody
I feel like Kurt Cobain talking fruitlessly about The Knack whenever I talk about Deee-Lite. Every time Groove Is in the Heart is played, I tell folks in the vicinity that Deee-Lite had several records and that they were all good. Deee-Lite brought dance production strenuousness to pop structured songs, plus Lady Kier is one of my favourite vocalists. ‘Somebody’ is from their third and final record where they were taking on rave influences.
Dark Network – 3am
Dark Network is from (or perhaps just are, or were) the Canberra arm of Clan Analogue. This track was introduced to me by DJ Ding (Chris Bell) at my own show. It goes for 14 1/2 minutes, which means it’s great at covering for you when things are going wrong onstage. If you ever hear this at an Aeriae show, it might mean that my computer has broken and I’m trying to fix it.