Jamie Odell wears many hats and wears them well. He’s one of the most revered house producers/DJs on the scene and his labels Freerange and Delusions Of Grandeur continue to help break incredible new music which he brings to his DJ sets across the globe. Originally a headline guest for us back in 2016 Jamie is soon to drop his seventh (!) studio album and first since 2013’s highly-acclaimed Porchlight And Rocking Chairs. This is an album dedicated to the nocturnal hours. Silent Stars is a richly textured ride through the tapestry of house, from jazz-infused opener ‘Migrations’ through to the dense, orchestral euphoria of ‘Tau Tona’ and the minimal, percussive bounce of title track ‘Silent Stars’. The listener edges a touch closer to the dancefloor on tracks like ‘Yansa’ and ‘Power of the Doof’ – yet the grooves stay subtle with intricate percussion, dense sound design and a mischievous streak being palpable throughout. We caught up with Jamie to find out which tracks have had an influential bearing on his latest work.
Laid Back – The White Horse
Jamie: This record instantly takes me back to 1984, when I was 11 years old and hanging out at my school disco called Trax Club.
I didn’t really know anything about who Laid Back were or where they came format the time but I remember there being a dance routine that went with it where everyone would line up and do these weird line-dancing type moves. I’m not sure if this was exclusively an Essex thing or whether it was going on up and down the country but I absolutely loved the futuristic electro groove and drum sounds and simple, stripped back production. Actually, it’s pretty mad just how important that school disco was for introducing me to some amazing music and also the first time I’d recognise the impact of certain records being played on a sound system. The DJ was a guy who was a couple of years above me and he really knew his music. He was a great breakdancer too so his sets would always include a lot of decent Electro tracks as well as the usual pop stuff of the time like Atlantic Star and Steve Arrington. Another classic from these sessions that still sounds amazing today was Computer Age (Push The Button) by Nucleus but it’s White Horse that I still play out the most and continues to get a great reaction on the dance floor.
Webster Lewis – Do You Believe
Jamie: 21 minutes of pure vibes on this one! I didn’t really know too much about Webster Lewis until I grabbed the reissue (the original release is going for £750 on Discogs!) of this on a great label called Counterpoint in 1996. I was instantly blown away by this live recording of Do You Believe taken from a gig at Club7 in Oslo in 1971. Webster Lewis is a keyboard player known for his Hammond Organ chops but it’s the vocalist Judd Watkins who steals the show on this one. And the name of the group accompanying Webster goes someway to describing the music being called The Post-Pop Space-Rock Be-Bop Gospel Tabernacle Chorus And Orchestra BABY! Not so much an influence on my own music but just one of my all-time favourites that I never tire of listening to and imagine what it must have been like at the show!
Jovonn – Nite Roads
Jamie: This is classic slice of instrumental deep house released in 1991 on Emotive Records from NYC and came like a breath of fresh air to me after listening to too much ravey breakbeat stuff! Jovonn is such a great producer, knowing exactly how to work a simple bassline, jazzy piano and naive clavinet tune into the perfect warm up track. Even though I never had the chance to experience clubbing in New York at the time, this track conjures up images in my mind and is a reminder of what an important time it was in the development of house music. Labels such as Nu Groove, Strictly Rhythm and Nervous were releasing track after track of top quality music being lapped up by us young ravers over here in Europe.
In Sync & Pluto – Subway Route
Jamie: Fat Cat Records in London’s Covent Garden was the mecca for me in the early to mid 90’s. This was around the time that the whole UK techno scene exploded and Fat Cat seemed to be at the forefront, always having the best releases on labels like B12, Irdial, GRP and of course Kirk Degiorgio’s ART. I never really got into the harder and faster stuff but absolutely loved the deeper, synth-heavy sounds of Red Cell, Musicology and Morganistic and for a while it seemed like Croydon was becoming the new Detroit in terms of amazing output. This one from In Sync aka Lee Purkis was deep, trippy and futuristic and there was always something interesting going on in the packaging of Irdial releases whether it be weird poster inserts or indecipherable text messages which added an air of mystery to their releases.
The KLF – Space
Jamie: I was obsessed with KLF’s Chillout LP, listening to it over and over hundreds of times when it came out in 1990. It was an LP with a strong concept, continuously blended tracks and a great sleeve as well. Along with The Orb, KLF were making brilliant ambient music which was an antidote to the rave stuff that was getting harder and faster. Jimmy Cauty’s Space project was in a similar vein, taking inspiration from Brian Eno and Holst resulting in a deep, atmospheric trip through the solar system. Still sounds great today!