A pioneer in every sense of the word, Carl Finlow’s influence across electronic music can be traced back over three decades.
Hailing from Liverpool, Carl has been communicating to the aliens through his arsenal of machines since the early ’90s, creating some of the most progressively fierce strands of techno and electro we’ve ever seen. With a killer CV that reads off labels like Warp, Klang Electronic, Playhouse and more recently Central Processing Unit and Craigie Knowes, Carl also co-runs 20/20 Vision Recordings, the legendary imprint where many of his finest creations exist.
Experimenting under numerous aliases over the years, it’s his work as Silicon Scally that defines his most strictly electro-oriented project. His latest, four-tracker Skoda Banger on Sync 24’s Cultivated Electronics, offers another masterclass in heavy club business perfectly mangled for the dancefloor, and to celebrate the EP we catch up with him as he looks back on 10 artists that have inspired him over his 49 years on the planet.
1. Grand Master Flash – The Message
This is one of my earliest memories of a very exotic sounding type of music from over seas in America. It had very upfront synths and rapping, a mixture which really pricked up my ears. The rapping was amazing to me at the time, hearing a real story being told over synths was really wild for me.
2. Kraftwerk – Numbers
This is the Rosetta Stone of modern electronic music. In 2000 years this will be dug up and heralded as the key to understanding the dawning of electronic dance music. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of this piece of music. It’s so utterly brutal in it’s conception and production.
3. Depeche Mode – See You
I was in my early teens in the UK in the early 1980’s, when tracks like this were starting to appear. Depeche Mode hit a real melancholic synthetic tone which hugely appealed to me. It was full of teen angst but delivered in an entirely new way, or New Wave one could say. Depeche Mode stayed with me throughout the first 30 years of my life and were a massive influence on me.
4. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Riot In Lagos
I have always found YMO and Ryuichi Sakamoto to be a very interesting collection of musicians. The Japanese influence in their music was a fantastic recipe when combined with inventive electronic sounds and compositions. A lot like Kraftwerk in a way but far less conceptual.
5. Yello – OhYeah
Like Depeche Mode, Yello were a very big part of my formative years musically speaking. I had their first 5 or 6 albums on heavy rotation year after year. I consider Borris Blank to be one of the greatest producers of the 20th Century, like a master painter, but of sound. Hugely experimental in his sampling and treatment of sounds, i would get totally lost in his landscapes.
6. Drexciya – Hydro Cubes
We are moving into the 90’s now and i was introduced to club music. At first it was a chaotic mixture of music but somewhere in the mid 90’s i got introduced to the music on UR and most importantly, Drexciya. I was really into techno at the time but once i heard tracks like Hydro Cubes i was hypnotised. My good friend Daz Quayle is largely responsible for constantly bombarding me with their work and i was totally hooked.
7. Exit 100 – Possessed
German Thomas Heckmann was the creator of some outstanding acid techno tracks in the 90’s and one album in particular blew my mind, it was Circuits by Exit 100. The control he had over his machines impressed me enormously, the precision with which he could control a 303…the interplay with the drums… really fantastic and inspiring.
8. Clementine – Breaking Point
An absolute techno monster. It was tracks like this that really showed me the enormous power music could have, especially hearing it on giant warehouse style sound systems. Techno was a big inspiration to me in the 90’s and i really loved the fierceness of tracks like this.
9. Dopplereffekt – Voice Activated
I had really started to love electro in a big way by the end of the 90’s and it was a sound that was to govern the next 20 years of my life. Dopplereffekt had all the right eye;ents for me. Quirky, musical, adventourous, original.
10. Elektroids – Future Tone
I think the album Elektroworld was THE album that made me decide to really focus my writing in a more electro style. It is musical sci-fi. It’s a statement about the modern electronic lives we live and it’s facing forward looking into the future, not looking backwards in any way. This is one of the reasons I love electro so much, it’s that constant eye towards future times, of the possibilities of what the computer age can bring us.
These days I hardly listen to modern music at all. It’s not that i think there are no great artists around but it’s to do with really focusing on my own music and spending all my time creating mountains of new material. The times when I do hear new music are when I go out playing gigs. I like to keep it this way, taking home with me the thoughts and feelings from the night before, ideas that sub-conciously work themselves into my music i’m sure.
Skoda Banger is out now on Cultivated Electronics.
Buy it here.