My Life In Records
With one of the best records of the year - The Vert Best's Warm Heart Of Africa - out on September 14, Johan Hugo, one half of Radioclit, which in turn makes up one half of The Very Best (still with us) gives Ragged Words a guide through his life in records, including what album he was listening to when he lost his virginity! Headphones in during the act, no joke... turn over for more and then download the Warm Heart from Green Owl here
I know it might be weird to have one of my own records as one of my 10 records, but really, making this record as Radioclit with Esau Mwamwaya over the last three years has been so amazing and my most fulfilling time working with music. I can see how all the music listening in my life has built up to this point, the hiphop, African music, electronic music, dance music etc. Working with Esau Mwamwaya is magical and all the records in this list are magical to me in one way or another so it makes perfect sense to finish the list with this.
When I heard this I had the same feeling as when I heard Company Flow back in 1996, it was just so mind blowingly different. I was living in London and it was crazy to listen to the pirate radios and see the grime scene grow. To be there to go to the shows and follow all the white labels that came out. Black music and ‘ghetto’ music has always fascinated me but this just felt so much more raw and gritty, and I hadn’t heard anyone rap that fast since Bone Thugs And Harmony.
This became my main album as I moved to London, squatting and having no money. I was 19, fresh out of high school in Sweden, exploring a new city and it was amazing, though the squatting life style could get a bit crazy at times. We lived in Camden and one day when I was out three guys broke into the house hand, held one of my friends hostage with a knife for four hours while stealing stuff and smoking my friends weed. I was probably walking around Hampstead heath listening to Kid A…
When I heard Company Flow for the first time it just totally changed my view of music. It hit me like a brick. I’d been listening to hiphop for eight years and thought I knew it but this just flipped it all on its head. This record and El-P’s production style is probably a big reason I started to produce and make music in the first place.
This is one of these records, again, I can remember really well the first time I heard it. I was at my friend’s house and normally we’d be listening to new hiphop records but he played me this and I was shocked by the sound of it, the guitars especially. And the cover. I just couldn’t stop staring at the monk on the cover and thinking about why he set himself alight. I was very curious about Buddhism and Taoism at that point and that picture seemed to sum up the divinity I was searching for, the fact that this monk could just sit there and meditate while he was burning.
When I was nine I met some older friends through skateboarding and they got me into hiphop. Everything from BDP to NWA. Black moon’s Enta Da Stage and the whole boot camp click thing was when the hiphop love really hit me though. I listened t this album every day straight for a year; I bought my first (and only) pair of timberland boot because of this album! I listened to this album in my headphones when I lost my virginity on a field when I was 14! I know its weird to listen to a walkman while havin sex for the first time and I don’t know why it wasn’t weird. I was stoned; maybe that’s why it seemed right.
My dad worked in Norway during the week for six months when I was eight and it fucked with my head. I missed him soo much. One weekend he came home and had bought this vinyl and we listened to it and it sounded so beautiful and so sad. All I could think of was that he was leaving again on Sunday night. Till today, listening to this album brings back the sad feeling I felt back then, but in a more understanding way, six months away wasn’t that long after all.
This was the first record I bought and the first time I heard dance music. I bought it for 150 Swedish Kroner that I got from taking part in a sleeping experiment at the local hospital. I had to sleep over and have these things attached to my head so they could measure my brain activity or something, I can’t remember. I only did it cause I wanted to buy this album and it would have taken me one and half months, saving my whole allowance, to be able to afford it. I liked sweets too much to save all my money for cds.
My older sisters bought this vinyl and I loved it. For some weird reason I thought it was Elvis Presley though. I was probably seven years old and had heard about this guy called Elvis and that he had a gold key for his car and that he died somehow. I thought I was listening to Elvis when I was listening to Yazoo, I think I only realized way later when I found the record again that it didn’t say Elvis on the front.
This is one of my first music memories. My dad got it and played it to me on Xmas eve , probably in 1986 when I was four years old. I remember it very well, sitting round the table with my dad and aunt and grandmother listening to it over and over again. I wouldn’t let them play anything else. I didn’t know it was South African singing but I loved the sound of it. The melodies and harmonies were amazing. I always wanted to be a nature photographer and was super fascinated with the Serengeti and Kenya and Tanzania, I guess all these things made me love Africa way before I had anything to do with African music…