10 things that inspired the psychedelic hip-hop of Etch’s new EP, The Cosmic B-Boy

“I can imagine on a proper sound system it will make the atoms in your body separate.”

We’re feeling like Kilgrave over here, because coming off the back of our last YouTube session featuring a release on PTP FKA Purple Tape Pedigree, we’re back with a new one from the new Great Yarmouth based label, Purple City Soufflé, and Brighton producer, Etch.

Taking a step away from his previous jungle-leaning tendencies on his new EP – the aptly named Cosmic B-Boy – Etch embraces a spacey hip-hop sound. Reminiscent of the work of LA beat scene luminaries like Flying Lotus, who are name-checked as an influence, the hard-hitting beats remain very firmly UK sounding, however, and would not be out of place alongside the dubstep and hip-hop experiments of producers like Gantz.

With inspirations spanning an unreleased deep cut from the aforementioned Flying Lotus to some jungle insanity from J & J, stopping by American composer Vladimir Ussachevsky’s electronic musings and London producer E.M.M.A’s shimmering beats along the way, every selection adds to a very clear aesthetic and atmosphere Etch had in mind for this release. Etch had a few words to say on his choices:

“I’ve wanted to do a Hyponik YouTube Session ever since my boy Acre did one and showed me his selections at Outlook in 2014, and he just picked hilarious bollocks and I wanted to do much the same. But I’m doing one themed around my new EP Cosmic B-Boy, largely because this is a huge step away from the sound people know me for (while still retaining those atmospheric traces and attitudes). I hope people can trace some sort of sonic and visual footprint through these pieces.”

1. Demon Seed Movie Trailer (1977)

Demon Seed is a silly ’70s sci-fi body horror, almost like if a David Cronenberg and Stuart Gordon film had a really shit baby. But I find films like this really endearing and a laugh to watch, and also a great base for sampling. I’ll often leave them on silent in the background when making music, so films like this one were a big influence on the EP, sonically and visually.

2. E.M.M.A – Light Years (2014)

I’ve always found myself and Emma to be kindred spirits despite making music so far distant from each other. My EP on Lapsus, Technicolor Daydream, was largely in respect to her synth work as was the opening track on this EP ‘Pandora’s Box’. Light Years has and always will be one of my favourite tracks of hers and this particular video was written, produced and directed by her sister Sophie. I really feel Emma never gets given enough credit for what she does. But yeah, this track was a big influence. #TeamEmma.

3 . Vladimir Ussachevsky – Piece For Tape Recorder (1956).

I despised university, well, I loved the experience, but the learning aspect I found quite… well, I don’t feel I learned much (I studied Sound Design in London). However, we did a big project on Sound Art and this gave me a huge amount of appreciation for taking every sound as being something to extract beauty and emotion from, and while The Cosmic B-Boy EP might be relatively straight-forward musically and to the point, the sci-fi and obscure atmospherics of musique concrete and the ideologies of artists such as Vladimir Ussachevsky, John Cage, Raymond Scott, Stockhausen, the Parisian originators and also the queen that is Delia Derbyshire, were all hugely inspirational.

4. Broadcast – Accidentals (Live on MTV) (1997)

Broadcast are one of my favourite bands of all time and probably the ultimate band to do that whole “hauntology/witchcraft-y” thing – also R.I.P. Trish Keenan… incredible vocalist. This song and particularly the live performance of this song were a big influence on my mindset through the production of this EP with the modern psychedelia aspect, because I have forever been accused of being backward looking (not that it should even be a negative accusation: the world is a fucking horrible place) but bands like Broadcast, Run DMT, Valet and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, to name a few, have that “now-but-back-then” sound.

5. Fantasy Three – It’s Your Rock (1983)

I know I always end up coming back to my uncle in my interviews, but he really is that much of a cool guy. He left me this old compilation LP called Beat Classic which came out on DC Recordings which is a label run by Saul Kane aka Depthcharge aka The Octagon Man aka loads of other things (responsible for a lot of amazing stuff I could have also slinked into this list). I was particularly drawn in by this track simply because I couldn’t believe it was made in 1983, just again the level of sci-fi futurism with I would imagine terrible equipment. I’m not huge on electro (or is this hip-hop?? I dunno) either way, huge influence on the EP. I mean… It’s called The Cosmic B-Boy, for fucks sake.

6. The Cenobites (Kool Keith & Godfather Don) ft. Bobbito – Keep On (1993)

I guess this EP deep down would be classed as an experimental instrumental hip-hop record, with more bass than usual. What with Kool Keith being one of my favourites of all time and The Cenobites being one of the most overlooked projects he was part of (maybe next to Analog Brothers but FACT did a thing on that recently so that’s probably blown up now too) this had to get a mention. It also features the legendary radio presenter Bobbito. This whole LP is crazy good and well ahead of its era, and while having that classic NY golden crunch, it does look forwards to those psychedelic futuristic Dr. Octagon overtones Kool Keith was plotting on. They were a HUGE influence on the Cosmic B-Boy EP.

7. Flying Lotus – Data Entry (20??)

Along with artists like Boards of Canada and Burial, I could listen to Flying Lotus forever and never get tired. I could argue the first time I heard his music it changed my life. This is one of many unreleased FlyLo cuts lurking around YouTube. I don’t know its origin but I picked it for a few reasons other than the fact it’s amazing. One being it’s called ‘Data Entry’, a lot of this EP was produced on my laptop on lunch breaks, dull commutes to and from and also whilst pretending to do really long poos at really mundane data entry and desk jobs; or at least a lot of the bones of the tracks were sequenced doing so. Also, this particular piece has been soundtracked to a deleted scene from the original 1986 version David Cronenberg’s ‘The Fly’, which as I mentioned earlier was a big influence on the visual aesthetic of the record. Also, the sound of Flying Lotus and the whole LA beat sound is all over the record.

8. J & J – Physix (Computer Crash Mix) (1996)

Ok jungle, you ain’t getting away that easy. Jungle is part of me, I’m never going to stop making it, it’s never going to stop influencing me, I’m never going to stop playing it and loving it, I’m just going to occasionally spread my wings. I was originally going to post a Danny Breaks tune which is the obvious matching of ’70s retrofuturism and sci-fi ideologies (and he also moved into making hip-hop with his Alphabet Zoo label but I felt it to be too blatant, because Danny Breaks was the main guy in mind behind the whole EP anyway). I felt this seriously overlooked bit of mental Afrofuturism sci drum-fuckery to be apt of what was in my head when taking influence from jungle’s space.

9. Benga – Blood (2002/3?)

I think to leave dubstep out would be foolish, this tune in particular was a huge influence on the EP, particularly the track ‘Seismic’ which is entirely reliant on a sinewave and a simple groove much like this. Like a lot of these old 2002/2003 dubs, it no longer exists. This is one of the ones me and Dwayne Parris (DJ Parris) often gush about, I’ve never heard it in anything other than a poor quality YouTube/radio recording, but I can imagine on a proper sound system it will make the atoms in your body separate.

10. Gantz – Spooky Action At A Distance (2015)

Gantz has always had a knack for blowing our minds but for me personally (and I don’t think it was just me personally) this really took me by surprise. When he started taking these hip-hop-inspired grooves and humanising the rhythms with this obscure industrial cacophonous sound, it was so unique and incredibly inspiring and I don’t think anyone in that scene really comes close to what Emir does. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Emir since way back when, I think I vaguely remember it was reaching out to him on dubstepforum in around 2009 or 2010 when he was known as GantzGraf, and I loved his weird, purely ambient soundscape stuff he was writing at the time. I wrote an article about him and did a little interview/got a mix from him on the now dead Kid City Blog (fuck I wish I still had that). Either way, Gantz continues to create and inspire; that crazy alien space wizard in his beat space ship hovering above Turkey. #LAD.

Cosmic B-Boy is available now via Bandcamp.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!