A Certain Ratio discuss the influences on new album ‘ACR Loco’
Manchester legends A Certain Ratio release ACR Loco -- their first album in 12 years -- this week. The record pulls together elements from their 40+ years together of mixing rock and dance and features appearances by the late Denise Johnson, The Smiths' Mike Joyce, Gabe Gurnsey (Factory Floor), Maria Uzor (Sink Ya Teeth), and more. You can listen to four tracks from the album below.
While ACR are definitely an influential band, with classic singles like "Do the Du" and "Knife Slits Water" -- they are still drawing from outside sources too. We asked the band to tell us about what music inspired their new album and they gave us a list of 10 artists, albums and songs that played a part in its creation, including Brian Eno, The Bar-Kays, The Meters, Parliament, and more. You can check that out, with commentary from the band, below.
Meanwhile, A Certain Ratio will celebrate the release of ACR Loco with "An Evening with ACR" livestream featuring the band's 2019 performance at Manchester Warehouse Project's Haçienda night, a performance of the new album at Hope Mill Recording Studio, plus a Q&A about the record and an ACR Soundsytem DJ set. It starts at 2 PM Eastern and tickets are here. The flyer and schedule are below.
10 ARTISTS/RECORDS/SONGS THAT INSPIRED ACR LOCO
Ever since our album Sextet in 1982 we have had an Airto inspired song on most of our albums. On this album we have two, ‘Friends Around Us’ and ‘Taxi Guy’. It’s our first album where we have used a Berimbau, a Brazilian instrument that we first heard on an Airto record. There are so may Airto songs that have inspired us, it’s difficult to choose, so here is one with a Berimbau that is written by his wife Flora called ‘Flora’s Song’.
Azymuth are another Brazilian band that have inspired us for most of our career. We are real fanboys and you can have a different favourite Azymuth tune every month because there are so many good ones.
The Bar-Kays - "Holy Ghost"
The mid percussion break on this has inspired so many ACR songs past and present. On our new album, ‘Bouncy Bouncy’ and ‘Family’ both have percussion sections that are inspired by this song. The single note bass synth on the one is also something we often revert to. This tune was go-go before Go-Go was invented.
Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) & Before and After Science
Taking Tiger Mountain includes the track "The True Wheel" from which we took our name. Eno’s lyrical style, the use of percussion ("No One Receiving" from Before and After Science) and the scratchy Tommy Gun guitars all had a big influence. The guitar on "Friends Around Us (Part 2)" is a great example of this.
Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues"
This classic track from the ground breaking album What’s Going On has always been a been a firm favourite. That beautiful warm hypnotic conga riff with its depth-charge reverb is a strong influence within ‘Always In Love’, gives the song an eclectic timeless quality.
The Meters - Just Kissed My Baby"
Taken from the album Rejuvenation, definitely left a huge stamp on ‘Get a Grip’.
The song started life as an instrumental, jamming with our keyboard player Matt Steele. We knew it sounded really special, but it needed something else, so we asked our friend Maria Uzor from Sink Ya Teeth to write some lyrics and sing on it. Boom! The perfect Ratio collaboration was born.
Parliament - "P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)"
‘Supafreak’ is one of those songs that has so many of our influences in it, that it’s hard to pin it down to just one element, the underlying rhythm feels like a funky Kraftwerk but sounds like early Headhunters meets Miles Davis. The vocal intro was inspired the grandmaster himself, George Clinton. We asked our friend, Gabe Gurnsey, to be the voice of a Clinton like character, which he did to perfection.
Tony Allen & Jeff Mills – "The Seed"
Tony Allen is one of our favourite drummers and this collaboration with Jeff Mills is very similar to what ACR do where we fuse world music with electronic music - and they do it perfectly on this album.
The Velvet Underground and Nico - "Waiting For The Man"
The Velvet Underground have been a big influence for ACR, the unique lyrical content and delivery, the minimal use of chords and the eerie delayed viola of John Cale. The vocal on ‘Friends Around Us’ Part 2 and the vocal on ‘Berlin’ are both Velvet Underground inspired.
A Certain Ratio – "Spirit Dance"
Sometimes we influence ourselves and ACR Loco has a lot of ACR’s past DNA. ‘Yo Yo Gi’ is influenced by our 1990 electro tune ‘Spirit Dance’, especially the synth bass line and the African chants. ‘Yo Yo Gi’ also includes the Mute Synth, we were given a prototype which we put to work straight away on this track.
An Evening with A Certain Ratio (September 25; all times Eastern)
2:00pm – ACR live at The Haçienda, The Warehouse Project (2019)
2:45pm – ACR in conversation
3:15pm – ACR perform ACR Loco live
4:00pm – ACR Soundsystem
5:30pm – ACR:END