Four decades since their formation, Manchester’s A Certain Ratio have released their 11th album, ACR Loco, through Mute. Concerned with the crazy state of the planet right now, it seeks to critique some of the interpersonal disconnect that plagues humanity.
With contributions from Denise Johnson, who sadly passed away in July this year, Tony Quigley on sax and Matt Steele on keyboards, guests also include Sink Ya Teeth’s Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford, Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor and Manchester luminaries Mike Joyce (The Smiths) and experimental multi-instrumentalist Eric Random.
Marking the album’s release and ahead of their slot chatting about it on Tim’s Twitter Listening Party, the three band members Martin Moscrop (MM), Jez Kerr (JK) and Donald Johnson (DJ) recalled the albums that have influenced them most, for A Certain Ratio’s three-way-split This Music Made Me…
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
I was 10 when this was released but didn’t really discover it until 1979 when ACR were searching for new music.
The album is just one long jam, and I think this is where ACR got the inspiration to jam from.
I like to put my trumpet through effects such as Wah, delay and flanger so it ends up not sounding like a trumpet which was inspired by Miles on this album. (MM)
Tower Of Power – Tower Of Power
This band, along with their drummer David Garibaldi, definitely laid down the blueprint that would become the gold standard for being funky and musically as tight as two coats of paint. (DJ)
Brian Eno – Before and After Science
Eno was a big influence on all the members of ACR, and we got our name from an Eno song called The True Wheel.
Eno’s lyrical style, the use of percussion and the scratchy Tommy Gun guitars all had a big influence.
The bass line from No One Receiving inspired the bass on Do The Du. (JK)
Airto – I’m Fine, How Are You?
Ever since Sextet in 1982, we have had an Airto inspired song on most of our albums.
This album includes Flora Purim (Airto’s wife), who we also love and Jaco Pastorius, whose bass playing on the final track Nativity is immense.
This album is very much like an ACR album with a mix of different moods and styles but with an underlying rhythmical and percussive feel. (MM)
The Meters – Rejuvenation
This album really showed the way forward. The Meters would become one of the most sampled bands in history.
Just Kissed My Baby’s keyboard groove is the catalyst for ACR’s Get A Grip on ACR Loco.
ACR FACTIOD: In the late ‘80s we demoed People Say in our studio (The Soundstation) in Ancoats, MCR. The original intro from that demo tape was used on the intro to Good Together. (DJ)
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground have been a big influence for both myself and ACR.
I like the unique lyrical content and delivery, the minimal use of chords and the eerie echoed viola of John Cale.
The vocals on Friends Around Us Part 2 and Berlin are both Velvet Underground inspired. (JK)
Kraftwerk – Electric Café
This was on all the band’s mixtapes and would always get a full hearing in its entirety on long road trips.
Just as sampling started to become affordable Kraftwerk released this now ‘80s classic album, their sparse production and musical style would go on to heavily influence songs like Spirit Dance from our 1990 album ACR:MCR.
ACR FACTOID: We have been known to play along to Boing Boom Tschack at Ratio Soundchecks. (DJ)
David Bowie – Low
The second gig I ever went to was Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars at the Hard Rock in Stretford, in 1973.
That gig made me realise there was a whole other world out there. I thought the album Low was very futuristic, I saw Bowie twice on that tour.
The gig at Bingley Hall Stafford opened with the track Warsawa, the whole structure shook with the opening synth notes. (JK)
Azymuth – Outubro
Azymuth are another Brazilian band that have inspired us for most of our career and it’s so difficult to pick one of their albums.
Their use of vocoder is up there with Kraftwerk but in a Jazz style.
Even though I play guitar in ACR, I usually like music without guitars and Azymuth are a three-piece of drums, bass and keys. (MM)
A Certain Ratio’s album ACR Loco is out now through Mute. Tour dates and further information can be found here.