This year marks the 40th anniversary of the influential Manchester band A Certain Ratio. To celebrate 40 years, plus the release of their new box set acr:box (out next Friday on Mute Records), we asked them to compile some under the radar influences from throughout the band’s history. Check it out below, and enjoy the weekend!
—Keenan Kush, Talkhouse Operations Manager
Brian Eno — “No One Receiving”
Taking Tiger Mountain, Here Come the Warm Jets, Before and After Science, as well as Eno’s ambient works were big influences on early ACR stuff. This track was the basis of the bass riff on “Do the Du.”
The Last Poets — “Mean Machine”
Our first time in New York was in 1980 and we discovered the work of The Last Poets. Attitude, poetry, and rap on a conga beat — inspiring.
Throbbing Gristle — “AB/7A”
Throbbing Gristle’s live performances were, for us, quite transcendent; their approach to music was unique.
Wire — “Pink Flag”
A big influence on ACR in the early days when we didn’t have a drummer. This track’s opening guitar riff is pure early ACR guitar.
Airto — “Flora’s Song”
Airto and Flora are husband and wife who grew together musically, and they play on each other’s albums. This is a song by Airto for Flora, and the song is as beautiful as her voice. Airto is one of the reasons why we like percussion so much, and if we had to choose a father figure, it would be him.
Hermeto Pascoal — “Slaves Mass”
Hermeto is a cult hero in Manchester amongst about 10 people, including Graham Massey from 808 State and, of course, ACR. It is like a cult where if you meet someone who likes or has heard of Hermeto, you will be their friend for life. This album influenced the more obscure elements of ACR
Azymuth — “Partido Alto”
This is the fourth Brazilian artist on the list, so now you can see where ACR’s percussive influence comes from. Azymuth were a massive influence on ACR, and it’s difficult to pick one tune because there are so many good ones. They are still playing live and if there was a band that we aspire to be, it would be Azymuth
Jaco Pastorius — “Come on Come Over”
Taken from his self titled classic album, Jaco’s influence can be heard throughout our history, especially his work with seminal band Weather Report, which we all hold in high esteem.
Stanley Clark — “The Dancer”
Taken from his School Days album with Steve Gadd on drums, his beautiful fluid Afro Cuban beat went on to inspire the ACR song “Brazilia.”
George Duke — “Am I For Real”
Taken from his Follow The Rainbow album, this production style can be heard throughout ACR album Force.
(Photo Credit: Paul Husband)