Belfast musician and producer Herb Magee AKA Arvo Party selects and talks about some of his favourite tracks, including Jon Hopkins, Metronomy, Nine Inch Nails, Rival Consoles and more.
Photo by Michael McKeegan
Nine Inch Nails – Copy Of A
I don’t think I would be a producer at all without having heard NIN. When I hear Downward Spiral it took me somewhere I had never been before. It is depression and anger distilled into a single format. That said, this track is from their Hesitation Marks album, which was just ok. ‘Copy Of A’ is the stand out track for me and it amazed me how Trent Reznor was able to move with the times and create something so fresh yet so very NIN. This version also features Pino Palladino on bass, which is ace, natch.
Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal
When I started making music as Arvo Party I found myself seeking out a wealth of electronic music even more than before. I’d always been a fan but I found that a lot of the instrumental stuff I heard was missing the vital emotions required to draw me in. This track by Jon Hopkins blew me away and still does. Equal parts ambient and BANGER, with gentle lines yet some heaving bass, it’s something I always come back to when I find myself in a rut.
Metronomy – Love Letters (Soulwax remix)
I could put any number of Soulwax remixes on this list as every single one does the job of improving the original, somehow. The things I love about Soulwax are the endless toms, sweet snares and muted bass, two of my favourite things. and if this doesn’t make you shimmy then nothing will.
George Fitzgerald – Full Circle
This whole album is something special. Equal parts electronic and organic, it bridges a few musical gaps for me yet is perfectly humble. And I like that. It’s all very smooth. Rhythmic without being beat driven and beautifully subtle. Not sold on his new stuff yet though.
Bon Iver/The Staves – Heavenly Father (a capella)
This is actually perfect. I’m been a big Bon Iver fan since day one and am amazed at how he keeps moving forward. This, however, is bare bones stuff. I had the pleasure of working with The Staves last year and guess what? They’re just as lovely as they are talented (very, very.)
Land Of Talk – It’s Okay
Say what you want about Spotify but it’s suggested lots of great music to me and this is just one track. Led by Elizabeth Powell, Land of Talk have released 3 albums and I love them. When I was a child, sat in the back seat of the car watching the world go by with headphones on, sometimes a track would come on which made me miss people I hadn’t even met yet. This is one of those tracks. Sad and hopeful in equal measure, like life itself.
Midlake – Young Bride
This song is on this list for the sole reason that The Trials of Van Occupanther is the most underrated album of all time so go and listen to it. Better still, wait until September. It’ll make more sense then.
Moses Sumney – Lonely World
Lonely world indeed. I don’t know a lot about Moses Sumney but i do know that I love this track. His voice, that luscious Thundercat bass work and when the drums creep in – beautiful altogether.
Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)
First rate bedroom music for deviants.This is what I imagine Prince listened to when he got bored of listening to his own genius. From a production viewpoint it is fiercely original. Gentle yet stuffed with funk and i wish it was mine.
Rival Consoles – Pre
Again, I could pick any number of Rival Consoles tracks as they all sit in that sweet sad place which I find so comfortable. This track has city sadness written all over it and the production is just incredible. What are those sounds? I want to know.