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Men and machines in (im)perfect (dis)harmony

Andy Blake chooses his top five

Armando – ‘151’ (Hot Mix 5 1988)
No melody, no changes, no chords, no pads. Just some drums and one solitary note courtesy of everyone's favourite little silver box. 23 years on and it still says more to a roomful of dancers than a thousand soporific deep house bore-athons will ever do. There are a few versions to choose from, my fave is the one on the Hot Mix 5 Acid LP as it's a touch more gritty and unshaven than the version on Warehouse.



Morton Subotnick – ‘Silver Apples of the Moon’ (Nonesuch 1967)
Essentially half an hour of expensive and experimental modular synthesisers burping, hiccupping and farting in a polyrhythmic fashion from a time before man walked on the moon. Bordering on unlistenable at times, it rewards the persistent listener with some brilliant passages of accidental machine funk and occasional but vivid glimpses into the altered mental states that can be achieved by exposure to discordant repetition.

Vapourspace – ‘Gravitational Arch Of 10’ (Plus 8 1993)
A definitive high water mark for Detroit techno. Loose, fluid, organic and equal measures melancholic, unsettling, euphoric and banging. If someone showed you undeniable proof that this was made by a part-man, part-synthesiser android from the 25th century it likely wouldn't surprise you at all. Check 'Themes from Vapourspace', the LP that this is from, for a fully immersive techno trip. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.



The Unknown Cases – ‘Masimba Bele (1985 Dub mixes)’ (Rough Trade 1985)
For me this is the definitive release of this afro/cosmic/Balearic/whatever stone cold classic. From start to finish the desk is being attacked and dubbed like there's no tomorrow and on the ‘Small mix’, in particular, the end result is truly savage with dangerous frequencies flying out all over the shop, creating a pounding sub-100bpm behemoth with energy to burn. A massive, massive record at World Unknown.

Gemini – ‘In My Head (original version)’ (Classic 1998)
This buzzes and hums, crackles, clicks and whirrs and just sounds like it’s plain broken half the time, in the best possible way of course. Superlatively and effortlessly funky and massive for proper dancefloors and DJs, the (dis)connection between the terminally ill machinery and the multiple incoherently-mumbled vocal tracks could well leave you thinking you have lost your tiny mind. This of course is a very good thing, not least because you probably have.

The second release on Andy’s label Cave Paintings is out now. The next World Unknown, the club Andy runs with Joe Hart, is on Friday 11th February at a secret Brixton location. Visit worldunknown.co.uk for more details.