In 1990, Josh Wink and longterm friend and collaborator King Britt teamed up as E-Culture to drop 'Tribal Confusion/Unification' under Strictly Rhythm, one of the now-iconic New York label's first stone-cold classics. It's fair to say Wink in his nearly 30 years of dominating dancefloors, hasn't looked back since.
Credited with getting house and techno even more in touch with their hedonistic impulses, largely thanks to his championing of the cult favourite Roland TB-303 synthesiser, as well as acting as one of the leading pioneers of acid house and techno, it's likely many of you reading this will remember your first time hearing 'Higher State of Consciousness' or '516 Acid' at 3am — and it being one of your favourite raving memories.
He's remixed Ladytron, Depeche Mode, and Paul Oakenfold. He's released innumerable tracks on labels across the planet, under countless pseudonyms. He's inarguably, and substantially, had plenty of influence on modern dance music. But what tracks influenced the influencer?
“This whole LP was introduced to me by my older brother and became one of the main reasons why I got interested in computer music. I don’t need to say more. Visionaries!”
“No going back after hearing this track! Was one of the tracks that made me want to go from DJing into making music. It’s raw, sexy, minimal and powerful and 11 minutes long. Perfect for creating a movement of music world wide!”
“When I heard this, I freaked. I was 13 years old and after hearing it, was changed. Synth and sampling was now in my head. Art of Noise paved the way for me to think of all sounds in life as possibilities to be incorporated in deep, meaningful instrumental music. Sensually electronic! Even to this day, I never want his song to end.”
“Hip hop was very influential to me and most young people in the early ‘80s. NYC hip-hop ruled the masses. But Philadelphia had a great underground scene and listening to Lady B’s Streetbeat show on Power 99 turned me on to lots of local and national hip-hop. But Schooly was raw, and unpolished! The simple Roland 909 drum machine power and original gangster lyrics got me hooked in a new way. Perfect to shape this teenage boy and get him thinking about production and turntablism!”
“From the completely influential Newbuild LP where every track is power! Narcossa takes the Chicago 303 acidhouse sound and transforms it into something else. Still raw, yet, more evolved, where more synths, and bigger production became apparent. Narcossa became an hypnotic anthem for me. I’d close my eyes and get lost again and again. The power of simple hypnotic, repetitive sounds in this track set the bar for me.”
“Anything by Larry Heard is it for me. That’s all I have to say! Yet, his Mr. Fingers moniker usually for his signature incorporation of soul and emotion into raw cold electronics is my favorite. Also with the inclusion of Robert Owens. However, here as Gherkin Jerk (one of his raw alter egos) he composes jacking, powerful Chicago music pushing the levels of house and techno influencing me for sure!”
“The synth wave movement of the UK in the ‘80s hit me hard! Lots of influential bands and individuals shaping the use of electronics in songs that defined a moment in music and creation of a new form of pop. Lots to chose from with Depeche Mode. But ‘Puppets’ shows the writing, melodies and haunting analog synths and drum machines that made them influential to me. And then learning their genius with sampling and synthesis but them over the top!”
“Not a standard dance track but pure emotion and electronics. Taking the raw Roland 808 drum machine with sublime strings, bleeps and soundscapes creating another moment of influence for me. Combining deep emotions with raw machines in music at slower tempos.”
“Most anything from Lil’ Louis was influential! The list can go on. But in shaping me and being inspiring, it was this raw track that blurred house, in what it was and could be. Chicago forever!”
“I was very much into the UK hardcore scene in the ‘90s. Lots of influential labels and artists which turned me onto a lot of cool things. However, with my love of reggae and breakbeats this track was right up my alley. Raw and basic, it’s all I needed on this early one!”