Having parted company with his Audiofly production partner Luca Saporito last year, Anthony Middleton has had a busy 2023, with the recent release of a single alongside Zoo Brazil (Good Times), a contribution to the Music For Generations compilation (A Ballad of Lost Things), a remix of Lunar Disco’s Devil’s Hands, and the rollout of a new ‘multi-sensory immersive project’, The Darker The Night, among his various projects.

He also has an upcoming release on Francesca Lombardo’s Echoteca label set to drop imminently, and is relaunching his Maison D’etre imprint in the new year, alongside ambient label Objects in the Mirror.

For the latest in 909originals’ #MyRecordBag series, Middleton shares his core influences – the artists (and music) that helped to shape his career. 

As he tells 909originals, “In all fairness, there are so many memorable artists and moments that have led me to where I am today. For all of us artists it’s the same. I could literally go on for weeks about all the significant creators who at one point or another affected my creative trajectory with their input. 

“The list would span generations and I’d be literally writing all Christmas, so instead I selected the first 10 people that jumped into my head (and there’s probably a lot of significance to that choice) but many modern day legends were in my afterthoughts. This is just a snapshot of my journey.”

Aphex Twin

“I remember listening to Analog Bubblebath #1 (released as the Aphex Twin EP by Richard D. James) for the first time driving on the M25 motorway on Kiss FM, back when it was still a pirate radio station. I was heading to a rave no doubt, although I can’t remember which lol. I’ve been a fan ever since. 

“He’s also the co-founder of Rephlex Records, one of those fundamental labels that released artists like Future Sounds Of London, Squarepusher, DMX Krew, 808 State… endless idols! Key records include Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992), Come to Daddy (1997), Windowlicker (1999) and the Analord series of EPs (2005).”

The KLF

“AKA The JAMS, The Timelords and also The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) — these guys rocked my world! Not because of the music they made (although they did create some essential moments in my music evolution) but because they touted that real deal punk, anarchistic attitude in the early rave culture. 

“Also, they might well be the artists to put a label on the ambient genre but way beyond that accomplishment they were truly anti-mainstream in their approach to everything they touched. Even when they produced a number one pop hit, they documented it and wrote a book called The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), a step-by-step guide to achieving a no.1 single with no money or musical skills, and a case study of the duo’s UK novelty pop no. 1 Doctorin’ the Tardis. 

“They famously deleted their back catalogue (when they quit), set fire to almost a million pounds sterling, defaced billboards AND were the number one selling global artist in 1991… there are endless stories really but what’s most important to me is their stance and their albums Chill Out and The White Room… which honestly inspired me in endless ways in my leftfield project The Darker the Night.”

Herbie Hancock

“The one and only….the legend. We all know Herbie Hancock the jazz musician for his solo career and all his endless collaborations and contributions, but it has to be strongly noted that he also pioneered the use of synths and electronics within his genre, and broke ground experimenting in jazz fusion, and funk. 

“His album Head Hunters exemplifies his love of synths (Clavinet, ARP Odyssey, ARP Pro Soloist), and as a young boy my first connection to him was through his one-off pop moment Rockit, which saw him collaborating with Bill Laswell on a classic electro track that still stands up to this day.”

Carl Craig

Carl Craig, founder of Planet E, Paperclip People, Innerzone Orchestra, leader of the vanguard of the second wave of Detroit techno, co-creator of DEMF, and most recently creator of an impressive sound installation called Party/After-Party. I mean… say no more. 

“Musically, he has consistently stayed true to his own unique style and expression. He’s one of those artists that – for me – doesn’t have any weak moments or periods of his career. He’s a boundary breaker! And effortless. 

“I first heard of him back in the 90s when he released Bug In The Bass Bin, as Innerzone Orchestra, which was picked up by the emerging drum and bass scene heroes at the time in the UK… what an amazing track, amazing journey, and also person.”

Lee Scratch Perry

“Rainford Hugh Perry was born March 20, 1936 — sadly he recently passed away after a long life. He pioneered dub music and was legendary for his use of the mixing desk (and its connected effects) as a live music instrument. Using this technique he created new versions of existing reggae songs. 

“You could say that Perry was the guy who created modern remixing! From his studio Black Ark he produced the likes of Bob Marley, The Heptones, The Congos and an endless list of other important reggae artists.”

Jean-Michel Jarre

“I guess Jean-Michel Jarre single-handedly changed my world view of the power of the electronic genre. Although Kraftwerk had been in my life longer breaking down walls in the pop world, his album Oxgène really was the eye opening moment where I saw the possibilities of electronica in a more symphonic, musical sense.

“As a classically trained musician, I guess this album resonated with everything I had been learning up to that point, and really connected me to the “science fiction” future meets the (musicality of the) past element I hadn’t understood in the burgeoning electronic pop culture yet. I was told off in school for sitting at the back of the classroom and trying to listen to that album during math class… unsuccessfully!”

Wendy Carlos

“I’m guessing that only a few people will remember Wendy Carlos. She’s not the most famous musician at first glance but she was a true pioneer and really important In her own right, with some very important contributions under her belt. 

“I first switched on to her through her scoring of the movie Tron in the early 80s. I was 11 and the score and the FX (and in fact the look and feel and storyline) of that movie really inspired me. Later on I found out that she scored A Clockwork Orange, and was also in it. 

“I loved the development of the Moog… though others take the credit for the creation of the ambient genre, she was doing ambient decades before anyone else. Say no more! Here’s an amazing interview with her.”

Kraftwerk

“I was lucky enough to grow up with these guys being in the pop charts on national television. Back before the mainstream industry became predictable. I think the first track I zeroed in on was Tour de France, when I was 6 or 7 years old. 

“They pioneered the use of synthesisers, sequencers, drum machines and vocoders in their music, and really were influential in so many genres. Synth-pop, hip-hop, electro and techno. You’ll find their influence everywhere. Also great in concert! Legends.”

LTJ Bukem

“A drum and bass producer from the UK who is well known for his atmospheric and jazzy take on the genre. He ran a label called Good Looking Records, released a series of amazing records plus a famous compilation called Logical Progression in the early 90s, as well as a series of downtempo compilations called Earth.  

“Quite honestly, his outlook opened my mind to the genre and affected very positively my production values as an electronic musician. At the time I was living and studying in Manchester in the UK and the drum and bass scene was dominated by jungle and the more high energy, hard step derivatives of the genre. 

“I remember him getting some stick from the community for his jazzy spaciousness … for me it was the way! I’d say that LTJ Bukem’s take on production, and his effortless ability to let beats float along and breathe, definitely leaked into my own set of production techniques later down the line and in my own genre.”

Francois Kevorkian

“Lastly, Francois K has to be mentioned in this list. One of the founders of the modern age of house music he started his career playing in legendary clubs Studio 54 and Paradise Garage and has throughout his career remixed so many important artists that he makes us all look like tadpoles in a very large pond…The Smiths, The Cure, Diana Ross, U2 , Wham!, Thomas Dolby, Mick Jagger, Dave Gilmour, Nina Simone, Kraftwerk… I’m just gonna stop there. 

“Look up his discography and just stare at it in awe. As a DJ he reincarnated himself musically several times, travelling through post-disco to house on to techno and even dub. A self-taught studio head, and A&R for his own and other important labels during the late 70s, 80s and 90s, he has really covered all the bases. A very wholesome career indeed. My description doesn’t even really do justice to the depth and breadth of this man’s career.”

Thanks Anthony for your contribution. Keep up to date with his new releases and your dates here, or click here to listen to other #MyRecordBag selections.

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