We’ve all had those moments of revelation when experiencing a certain song or sound for the first time. ‘The Ten Tracks’ explores the musical history and influences behind the careers of some of the leading artists in the scene; The tracks that inspired them to be producers and DJs, and how others music shaped their style and genres.
Prayer has had a string of releases as part of the Grade 10 label. His focus on fusing classical blends with the darker side of bass music is what draws us into the producer. Most recently Prayer released a XX track EP on the highly regarded Black Acre label. From this we felt we needed to delve deeper in to the influences Prayer draws from when starting production.
1. Michael Nyman – Deep into the Forest
The Ominous start to this track made me realise that the piano is an instrument that can create beauty even through simplicity. A haunting melody develops under sombre chords before the unexpected orchestral passage comes into play at 1.29.
2. Max Richter – Andras
Restless throughout, this track is an example of how the piano can be used to tell a continuous story through melodic development contrasted with dark harmony. The piece only reaching a standstill upon the final chord conclusion.
3. John Cage – Bacchanale
John Cage’s work became a lot more interesting to me after reading his writings on music philosophy whilst studying at University. A simplified premise of his is that anything can be music. Bacchanale was the piece of music in which cage invented the ‘prepared piano’. A process of putting objects on the piano strings to alter the sound.
4. Anton Webern – Variations for Piano
Webern’s music and the genre of Serialism appeals to me because of its rawness and incredibly bleak harmonies. No easily traceable melody puts the listener in a deep listening state.
5. Bach – Prelude & Fugue No.2 in C minor
Although this would have originally been performed on a harpsichord before the pianos invention, It is frequently performed on a piano in the present day. The piece was an interesting discovery for myself when learning to play the piano. It showed me that older composers such as Bach were just as capable of producing dark aggressive music as more recent ones, helping me to brush aside the stereotype I had that classical music is just twiddly elegant phrases with no raw emotion.
6. Steve Reich – Six Pianos
Reich’s Brand of minimalism has a very hypnotic feel. Gradually changing patterns submerge the listener and invite you to focus on the tiniest of nuances.