Veronica Vasicka picks 10 boundary-breaking records that have inspired her | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Veronica Vasicka picks 10 boundary-breaking records that have inspired her

The Minimal Wave boss digs deep to pick 10 industrial, post-punk and new wave cuts that mean the most to her...

Though best known for her label Minimal Wave, founded in 2005, and specialising in rare synth wave from the ‘80s, it's surprising that New Yorker Veronica Vasicka's solo work has only just surfaced this year. Originally recorded in 2004, her debut solo release 'From Here' is a slow-burning affair with intimate vocals and sparse analog synths that suitably caught the attention of Regis for his Downwards label. Her own exceptional A&R skills also head up Cititrax — focusing on current synth-pop, EBM and industrial artists with a discography that includes Silent Servant, Broken English Club and The KVB. She's long been heralded a tastemaker, and her DJ sets are curated with just as much precision, with performances at Dekmantel, Berlin Atonal and Berghain this year. Prepare for an education, as Veronica reveals the tracks that have influenced her the most...

1. New Order '586 (peel session)'

“This is an Incredible peel sessions version of ‘586’ by New Order, one of the first bands I ever listened to. This one has stayed with me. The fact that it was recorded live in one take is mind-blowing. It has a slow build, whipping dirty snare and a wonderful bassline that combines new wave and post-punk and brings it onto the dancefloor. Cold disco!”

2. Manuel Göttsching ‘E2-E4’

“Timeless music that was written and recorded by Manuel Gottsching in 1981 and released in 1984. This hour-long piece of music is a masterpiece that is divided into nine parts to represent ‘tracks’ of an LP but it’s one long piece of music. It gets filed under Krautrock but it’s essential proto-techno listening and was hugely influential on the emergence of techno and house music later in the ‘80s.”

3. Throbbing Gristle 'Discipline'

“Discipline is a minimalist industrial song from 1981 by UK pioneers Throbbing Gristle. It was first recorded in Berlin as a complete improvisation and every recording of it since has been a live take. The song is driven by a pulsing drumbeat and Genesis P-Orridge screaming/talking over the top with noisy guitar and synth sounds. Ever since hearing it as a teenager it has stuck with me. This song is pure art but often misunderstood and interpreted as garbage. Love it!”

4. DAF 'Coco Pino'

“This is a punky raw electronic track from DAF, and yet it is full of jitter-funk. It was hugely influential on me as a teenager, I always go back to it. The vocals by Gabi Delgado are mysterious, driving and wild, with tons of attitude. Great to mix over a traditional 4/4 techno track. Recorded in 1980 yet sounding very futuristic.”

5. Aphex Twin 'Heliosphan'

“Mesmerizing, beautiful, otherworldly track by Aphex Twin. This came out on the ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’ and I imagine it be recorded in 1989. It’s apocalyptic, bright and dark at the same time. The melodies overlap and intertwine in the most moving way. It’s one of those tracks that touches your soul.”

6. Nitzer Ebb 'Hearts & Minds (Mix Hypersonic)'

“‘Hearts & Minds’ originally came out on the ‘Belief’ album, that production-wise still sounds light years ahead of the game. This remix from the single has the signature sound of Nitzer Ebb’s fat dance imperative. Produced by the legendary Flood, you can hear the influence this had on his next production project, Depeche Mode’s ‘Violator’. This track comes alive on a big sound system.”

7. Front 242 'Controversy Between'

“Belgian EBM Pioneers Front 242 recorded this in 1982. This song has been very influential on me and my musical outlook in general. It’s new wave and industrial with a post-punk attitude and reflective of the times both in terms of politics and technology. These guys had a very creative approach to making music, always making it from the ground up, without the use of presets.”

8. Joey Beltram 'Energy Flash'

“Joey Beltram recorded this masterwork when he was just 19 years old as a kid growing up in Queens. The song hit in 1990 and became an anthem of rave culture in New York City and beyond. I remember first hearing it on a mixtape that I bought on St. Mark's Place. The pumping drive and over-driven percussion is pure New York and is rightly considered one of the all-time greats.”

9. In Aeternam Vale 'Ultrabase'

“Laurent Prot started his In Aeternam Vale project in 1983 in Lyon as a nihilistic electro-punk outfit that evolved into his own prolific outpouring of synthetic gems throughout the ‘80s until now. This 127bpm 11-minute number entitled ‘Ultrabase’ is an unashamed slab of innovative dub techno from 1990, existing completely outside of its genre and way ahead of its time. Prot made techno completely unaware that he was making techno!”

10. Cabaret Voltaire ‘Yashar (John Robie Mix)’

“Sheffield industrial legends with their fingers always on the pulse enlisted John Robie to weave some of his New York dancefloor know-how into their track ‘Yashar’. The result was one of the greatest examples of early ‘80s alternative electronic dance and proto-house/techno. The meeting of these minds is what excites me about music.”

Want to read more about some of Veronica's picks? Check out our retrospective on Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works 85-92'.

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