Sunday, March 04, 2018

Under the influence

Some bands and artists very much wear their influences on their sleeves, taking every opportunity to talk up those who have inspired them. Others, meanwhile, attempt to deny any suggestion that their music might have been shaped by anything other than their own creative imagination and ability. They're being disingenuous, though - nothing happens in a vacuum.

The Guardian have asked a selection of writers including Alexis Petridis, Michael Hann, Luke Turner, Harriet Gibsone and Dave Simpson to propose the artists whose influence can be detected most strongly in the music of today. Some of the suggestions are fairly obvious - Bon Iver, Bikini Kill and Frank Ocean, for instance - but others are more surprising (though less so when you read the well-made cases for their inclusion): Shania Twain, Nitzer Ebb, Nils Frahm.

Kate Hutchinson's proposal of Diplo could, I'd suggest, have been made even stronger if she'd mentioned his production duties on Rolo Tomassi's second LP Cosmology, as it shows his influence has extended to rock. Of all the bands and artists named, I'd argue that The XX have made the biggest mark, their influence pervading genres right across the spectrum.

If I were ever asked to contribute to a similar piece, it wouldn't be hard to make a watertight case for a number of my personal favourites: Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Radiohead, Mogwai, PJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem. There are whole genres, let alone bands, that would barely exist without those acts' pioneering music.

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