Catalan producer Sau Poler gets sentimental as he takes us through the influential records from his formative years.
The Badalona-born musician, real name Pau Soler, has been releasing music under the Sau Poler alias since his impressive debut EP A Soundless Echo on Atomnation back in 2013. The melodic warmth of that record made it equally suitable for dance floor or home listening and drew comparisons to artists like Gold Panda and Four Tet.
Soler has since gone on to join the tour-schedule of fellow countrymen John Talabot and Pional, play Boiler Room, and release two more acclaimed EPs of gorgeous house excursions. His latest offering, Memorabilia, which will be released again through Atomnation this Friday, is a marvellous five-tracker which crosses electronica with disco, and finds Soler experimenting with extended song structures.
Ahead of the EP’s release this Friday, we invited Soler to take stock of his varied musical influences, from the impact early trip-hop and DJ Shadow’s pioneering Entroducing had on him, to the discovery of Squarepusher and his introduction to drum & bass and jungle. It makes for compelling reading – explore Sau Poler’s musical world…
1. Massive Attack – Safe From Harm
I have really good memories of listening to Blue Lines & Protection, both albums were played on repeat by my brothers back in the day at home and especially from my older brother’s creepy car. I was 8 years old at that time, so I was unconsciously infected with those vibes and moods. It was the golden era of the Bristol Sound and the rising of trip-hop. Afterwards I got into the abstract/instrumental hip-hop from Mo’ Wax and Ninja Tune pretty obsessively, so I guess it was the start of everything.
2. Underworld – Mmm… Skyscraper I Love You
Coming from grunge and trip-hop, two genres that were hitting hard in the early ‘90s, I felt pretty upset with my mid-brother. I used to call him “makinero” (like raver in Spanish) contemptuously for listening to this kind of music. I was completely wrong and when he was away from home at his daily basketball training, I took advantage and listened to the album more carefully. I fell in love with Underworld, with that brilliant balance between pop and progressive house/trance. It’s probably the first electronic music record (among Orbital In Sides) that touched something very deep into me.
3. DJ Cam – Hip Hop Pioneers
I remember my cousin and me going to Beleta Records, (one of the iconic ’90s records store in Barcelona, RIP), every weekend looking for some new stuff. We were like 12 years old and the owner of the shop was pretty shocked with two little fellas asking for recommendations. My cousin grabbed a copy of Substances and honestly, we didn’t know exactly what to expect (which was something magic from that time), but I still remember our faces of joy listening to the whole album at home. My uncle owned some good jazz records from the Pablo Today label, so I guess that’s why it sounded familiar to us. We loved the strong beats, scratching and loops mixed with that jazzy flavour. This album opened our minds and introduced us to a new-found appreciation for hip-hop culture.
4. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
Probably my favourite album of all time. Eternal gratitude to DJ Shadow for showing me a completely new world of music and sound. I still remember trying to understand that blazing freshness, that beautiful and always coherent mix of countless genres into one record. An album that encouraged me to start my own experiments and comprehend music production through sampling, something that I keep doing today. It opened Pandora’s box into diggin’, sampling and perpetual exploration of different musical genres. Probably the soundtrack of my life.
5. DJ Krush – Only The Strong Survive (feat. C.L Smooth)
Oh gosh, that golden era of Mo’ Wax and Ninja Tune. For me the magical triangle from those days (DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, DJ Cam) among many others. I bought this album on a school trip to Paris when I was 15 and it represents perfectly my definition of hip-hop, especially this track with the magnificent vocals of CL Smooth. I really love the understanding that DJ Krush has for atmospheres and textures and that weird scratching with his characteristic delays. Huge respect for DJ Krush, he has been a true inspiration for me.
6. Motorbass – Flying Fingers
In the mid-’90s I was pretty obsessed with the F-Communications label and all the stuff that guys like Daft Punk, Laurent Garnier or Motorbass were releasing. Pansoul is the record that maybe represents in a perfect way the authentic and original (afterwards saturated) French touch tag. It incorporates the perfect balance of sampling, disco, house and techno. ‘Flying Fingers’ is one of the tracks that I keep playing in my DJ sets. They just released this LP, then they continued their careers as Etienne De Crécy (Super Discount) and Cassius.
7. Aphex Twin – Mookid
Thanks to Warp Records, I started listening to a lot of electronic music after buying …I Care Because You Do. This track is from my favorite Aphex Twin album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92. It’s hard to choose just one of the tracks from the album because I love the entire record. An album that I keep revisiting and it never ceases to amaze me. Richard is just a musical wizard and genius.
8. Squarepusher – Beep Street
Those crazy and powerful drum sequences, huge reverbs and hypnotic atmospheres. A record that opened my mind to drum n’ bass and jungle music, I fell in love with artists like Photek, Goldie, Alex Reece or Omni Trio and I started to go to raves with that kind of musical background (really hard to find in Barcelona). A must have in my Minidisc back in the days, walking alone through the streets feeling like no one can beat you.
9. Tortoise – TNT
The first time that I listened to this song was on Alien Workshop’s Photosynthesis skate video. It took me a while to find the record, but thanks to Napster I got it. Maybe it’s the track that transports me to those skateboarding days, hanging out with my friends, looking for new spots to skate and living without preoccupations, just enjoying music, skateboarding, parties and girls. Love that experimental post-rock sound through the whole record. It’s one of my all-time favourites.
10. MJ Cole (Feat. Nova Caspar & Jay Dee) – Sincere (Jazzanova Sincerely Yours Remix)
I’m a huge fan of Jazzanova remixes, especially The Remixes 1997-2000 album. Highly classy how they deconstruct a UK garage hit, with that midnight hypnotic sensual touch. Millions of details superbly displayed. Love all their records from that time, but this album made me enjoy the art of remixing, a masterpiece of that era among Kruder & Dorfmeister The K&D Sessions.
Memorabilia is out April 29. Pre-order it through the Atomnation Bandcamp.
Featured image: Albert Jodar