From Autechre to Actress, the electronic artist and Cambria Instruments co-founder expounds on his 20 favorite dance tracks
British electronic musician Nathan Fake shares with Document a playlist filled with atmospheric sounds, punchy dance pulses, and jangling vibrations. Having released his fifth studio album, Blizzards, a few months ago, Fake expounds on the tracks that influenced his own production at the start of his career and music he newly discovered, recounting his first time hearing these tracks.
The first track in this playlist, “Kein Trink Wasser” by Orbital, was the first track by the English duo that Fake ever heard. “I remember seeing them on TV playing at Glastonbury and I loved how the live tracks sounded so raw and re-arranged compared to the album versions,” he says, “and I don’t really think anyone else was doing that at the time with live electronic music.”
“Voodoo Ray” by A Guy Called Gerald—“an obvious classic,” he says—was Fake’s first introduction to proper house music. “I loved the bassline and the major chord 303 part, it really gave me Orbital vibes too–that kind of cheerful acid house sound,” he says, remembering how he discovered the track on a tape a friend gave him at school. “The vocal is so striking and catchy, and it still sounds perfect today.”
Fake describes “V-PROC” by Autechre as the perfect balance of “straight, danceable beats and utter AI chaos ripping it apart at the seams.” His playlist also includes a few tracks by Actress, whom he calls the most interesting artist to emerge in electronic music in the last 15 years. “I love how murky his stuff sounds yet it still sounds super fresh and lively to me. There’s so much energy and funk rattling around inside it. His music sounds so exciting and confident, so much style. I don’t think he’s ever done anything I don’t like.”
With the heady nostalgia it evokes, “A Break in the Clouds” by James Holden is one of Fake’s favorite tracks of all time and a huge benchmark in his life. He calls the release of this track “such an exciting and crazy time, and such a hugely auspicious start to [the Border Community] label…[it] was crazy where James and I and the others went from that point on. Totally breaks my head to think this is approaching 20 years old.”