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The Report

Men Of Note: Basement Jaxx

Mr Simon Ratcliffe – one half of the legendary dance duo – reveals 10 tracks that influenced their latest album, Junto

After a five-year break, Basement Jaxx returned this August with their seventh studio album, an array of upbeat house and carnival tracks that hark back to the 1990s Brixton club nights that made their name. Regular Basement Jaxx soirees were held in venues such as The George IV and The Crypt, where the likes of Daft Punk would play. Junto (which means “together” in Spanish) sees Messrs Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton celebrating the 20th anniversary since their first release, EP1. The latest record may not boast the collaborations of 2009’s Scars, or the instant earworms of 2001’s Rooty, but with tracks such as “Never Say Never” – a good old piano-led house anthem – feel-good ditty “Summer Dem” and jungle-filled “Buffalo”, the elder statesmen of dance music are keeping their output sounding fresh while avoiding the saccharine sounds of some of their younger contemporaries.

In the midst of a world tour and fresh from a Big Top headline slot at Bestival, we asked Mr Ratcliffe for a mix tape of the music that inspired Junto. Packed full of jazz, house and soul – head over to Spotify to listen to the playlist, read what he had to say about his choices below, and click here buy Junto.

Listen to the full playlist on Spotify now

  • “A good reference track for contemporary melodic vocal dance music, Clean Bandit supported us on our 2013 tour and so we heard this every night before we went on stage.”

  • “We listened to this a lot while making the album to get our bearings on what sounds really good. Very dope.”

  • "This is a great piece of music that isn’t victim to fashion. Michel is king of percussive, shaky beats – he worked with us on our track ‘Mermaid of Salinas’.”

  • “I saw him play last year at Ronnie Scott's. He’s a 78-year-old Brazilian albino jazz legend who’s composed a piece of music for every day of the year and who can turn any object into a musical instrument.”

  • “Luciano plays this a lot. He's been an inspiration for us for the past four-five years. The production on this sounds modern and fresh.”

  • “I love James Blake for both his voice and the atmosphere he creates. I like the chord progression and the emotion of the synths in this track.”

  • “We both love Lonnie Liston Smith – a jazz legend. We have a chord we refer to as the ‘Lonnie chord’ – a triad that is both uplifting and mournful. We had the honour of working with him for this album.”

  • “Ahead of his time, Manuel Göttsching is most famous for the much sampled E2-E4 [an hour-long electronic composition]. I discovered this early 1970s album last year. It’s repetitive house music that makes you feel at peace.

  • “Funky is a dodgy word these days, but this track really is.”

  • “From the brilliant Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry-produced album Heart of the Congos, this track is almost mythical. It's crunchy and real and pure and soulful.”