Olivier Giacomotto: 10 albums that blew my mind
Techno and house DJ/producer and Beatport top 10 regular Olivier Giacomotto grew up with many different career paths in mind, and it's hard to pin down his musical taste, too.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cop, a drug dealer, a pianist, a private investigator, a prime minister, Indiana Jones, a boxer, a soldier, and a jet pilot," he says. "For the same unknown reason, I like all kinds of music.”
Fortunately for us, it was in the music industry that Giacomotto plied his trade. Starting out in his native Bordeaux, Olivier then worked in several studios across Paris and London. He honed his techno, electro, house, tech-house, and deep house production skills and became the accomplished DJ/producer we know today, releasing tracks on the label he co-runs with John Acquaviva, Definitive Recordings.
Read on to discover Olivier's 10 favourite albums of all time, which range from classic prog to cutting-edge electronica.
Olivier's remix of Loco & Jam's Apocalyptic (opens in new tab) is out now via Suara. He also has a release coming up on Toolroom in September. His forthcoming tour dates are on his Facebook page (opens in new tab).
1. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon
“Technical and creatively forward thinking; superb, beautiful, magnificent. The band is juggling with perfection.
“Here and there they were already using samples and looping functions, which in 1973 was very rare. The guest musicians on this album are mind-blowing, especially the female vocalist during 'The Great Gig In The Sky.
“The writing and the composing are their best, as they take the listener to another dimension from the beginning. This is, in my opinion, the best album of all time - I have and I will always put it in the number one position.
“It’s been in my head and my ears since I was a child. My father used to listen to it at home, then I listened to it on my own when I was a teenager. I still listen to it very often, during a long flight looking at the clouds, or in a hot bubble bath.”
2. Depeche Mode - Black Celebration
“The album title says it all. It’s so dark, moody, emotional, charming and devastating. It puts me in a kind of audio coma and gets me to a deep sonic near-death experience.
“The delay and reverb on the vocals makes them unbelievably haunted, and when combined with the design of each sound and the melodies, it’s the only album to give me tears and goosebumps at the same time.
“I was only nine years old when I listened to it for the first time; I still wonder how I was seduced and touched so deeply by such a darkness at that age. This album has been a part of me since that period of my life, and it takes me back there every time I listen to it.”
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
“When I was a teenager I used to listen to a lot of funk from the '70s; Maceo Parker, George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic, etc. Bass, guitar gimmicks, sexy vocals - for me it was a great combination, and when this album came out, I had the sensation that it was the summary of all of those years of funk packed into a fabulous source of energy, vitality, youth and punch.
“Every track is special and their sound signature is unique. This is the best Red Hot Chili Peppers album for sure - each side of that copy I had on tape has been flipped so many times in my cassette player. This is probably the only album I played on a loop during the entire summer of 1992.
“It influenced me a lot as back then I was a simple wannabe guitarist. Since then it has become a true classic.”
4. Scientist - Scientist Meets The Space Invaders
"This album represents the essence and definition of dub music. Scientist is an amazing and highly inspired sound engineer who's able to deconstruct his source material to create sparse, stripped-down arrangements layered with effects. This is a dub lesson straight from Jamaica.
"Back in the day this kind of mixing technique was executed and recorded live, and was a true technical performance. Then dub music became one of the main influences of drum and bass, electronic music and hip-hop.
"I am a huge fan of reggae and dub music. Back in 1993 I was a guitarist in a reggae band and Scientist was one of my favourite artists amongst others like Steel Pulse, Aswad, Black Uhuru, Prince Far I, Burning Spear, Gladiators, etc…”
5. Nick Drake - Made To Love Magic
“This is such a peaceful and intimate folk guitar album that well-represents the work of this underrated artist. He failed to find an audience during his lifetime, but achieved recognition a few years after his death in 1974 at the age of 26.
“His guitar style is unique as he uses alternative tuning to create cluster chords, and his writing is often about nature, the moon, stars, sea, rain, sky, etc. This makes him a kind of British hippy author and composer."
“This musical intimacy deeply touched me. Nick Drake drags me into his world every time I listen to his songs. It’s musically minimalist but emotionally complex, and I've always loved it when extremes get melted together. This is definitely a keeper.”
6. Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
“This is raw, rough, extreme, violent, powerful, filthy and dirty - a pure product of Texas USA.
“Pantera's strength is based on the strong vocal personality of their singer, added to very creative and skilled guitar riffs, on top of highly precise and powerful drum patterns.
“I could have chosen two or three other albums from this thrash metal band, but Vulgar Display of Power is the one I listened at least a thousand times when I was a metal band guitarist (yes, I was that too), and also during the rest of my life. It speaks to the violent side of my personality which only exists inside me and never comes out.
“I’m a kind of humble, peaceful and shy guy, but sometimes I like to watch UFC/MMA fights, and I love to listen to thrash metal bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer and Sepultura. But Pantera are definitely my favourite.”
7. Chilly Gonzales - Solo Piano
“This is soft, relaxing, intimate, simple and complex. On this album Chilly Gonzales is on his own; there are no vocals, no violins, no drums - only ten fingers running on a classic upright piano. But don’t underestimate them, as those 10 magic fingers work together like a 64-piece orchestra and it's emotionally heavy.
“The ideas for the pieces were formed through improvisation and extensive note-taking of melodies and other musical ideas over the years, and the result is truly unbelievable.
“The decision to use only one instrument is clever, because it makes the audience focus on each note, then on each chord, like looking into someone through a magnifying glass. It’s trippy, and that's why I love Chilly Gonzales almost as much as I loved the work of Erik Satie, Chopin, Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Debussy, Bach, etc…”
8. Portishead - Dummy
"This is druggy, soft, moody and trippy. It’s impossible to choose one song on this album - Dummy is a whole, a sound, the essence of trip-hop straight from Bristol. It's a fusion of hip-hop and electronica until neither genre is recognisable.
"It was considered as experimental in the second part of the '90s, incorporating and combining pieces of funk, dub, house, RnB, soul and jazz in one magic psychedelic moment.
"The voice of Beth Gibbons is fragile, the beat is heavy and smoky. I remember summer 1996, listening to this album a hundred times in a motel room in Florida in a half-weed coma staring at a blue lava lamp. It's still one of my best memories from that time."
9. Freak Power - The Fried Funk Food EP
“This one is way too underrated, it's rare trippy funky electronic dub music produced by Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, back in 1994.
“This is a proper underground album made of six key tracks, which represent to me a kind of psychedelic downtempo breakbeat made of samples from funk, jazz and RnB.
“It’s a fusion. There is everything I like inside - dub, funk, electronic music, scratching. It’s technically very well executed, and mentally very stimulating.
“A track like Sugar Lump sounds like Moby on acid. Again, it’s trippy, and I love it, as it pushes the door wide open to the Big Beat I also love, from The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads, etc…”
10. Moderat - III
"Moderat are a German band made of two other bands: Apparat and Modeselektor. Their third album, produced in 2016 and called III, is absolutely brilliant from the beginning until the end. It perfectly melds the strengths of both Apparat and Modeselektor together.
“The album is a real crossover between electronica and pop. With tempos varying from 95 to 160bpm it covers a wild range of emotions. I’ve been seduced by the combination of vocals, throbbing basslines and airy synths. I can spot a few influences from bands I love such as Depeche Mode, Portishead and even Muse.
“It’s still fresh to my ears, but I can already feel it’s going to be a true classic for me. Time will tell.”