(Photo by Marine Keller)
Mouy based artist Toh Imago is set to release his debut album Nord Noir on October 18th via InFiné Music. His music has been described as leftfield techno and it weaves in shimmering ambient soundscapes to fully accentuate the listening experience. “Nord Noir tells a story as much as it creates a soundscape. Its creator, Toh Imago, took 18 months to improve his artistic skills and shape the plot of the album. Nord Noir is inspired by the proletarian and mining culture of northern France.”
We caught up with the artist and asked him what three albums have influenced him and his music. Below are his picks.
Pre-order album here.
SPEEDY J – PUBLIC ENERGY N°1
I discovered this incredible album when I composed Nord Noir. For me, Speedy J was a techno producer and nothing more. But I was completely amazed when I heard Public Energy N1 for the first time. It was released in 1997 and was ranked next to the LFO albums.
I am still impressed by the work done on the beats, that receive a huge treatment in distortion or saturation pedals. It reminds me of the work of the French duo The Micronauts at the same time (their track ‘The Jag’ was remixed by Speedy J in a Public Energy N°1 atmosphere). These massive and distorted rhythms are nicely contrasted with beautiful dreamy synthesizers.
My title ‘Schiste Pyramide’ is a bit inspired by the title Speedy J ‘Patterns’.
LOW – DOUBLE NEGATIVE
To be honest, I didn’t really know Low before this album. When I listened to their discography, I listened to Double Negative with blank ears. It is rare for a group to take such a turn in its career and succeed in confirming it.
Double Negative is for me the apotheosis of the union of rock and electronic music. Everything is distorted. Brutal. Drowned in a mass of sound. The voice is strange. The guitars seem lost… but this violent treatment serves a beautiful, sensitive and melancholic music. This album is full of emotions. Finally, it is a piece that seems almost logical in their discography: the contemporary version of the shoegaze sound. I listened a lot to this album during the composition of Nord Noir. I think that their extreme musical choices inspired me to follow through with my ideas.
CHEMICAL BROTHERS – FURTHER
Yes, I must admit I’m a big Chemical Brothers fan. In the late 1990s, the big beat period produced both the best and the worst. Today, when I consider the big stars like Prodigy or Fatboy Slim, their latest releases don’t talk to me at all. They tried to follow the trend, which is for me the worst strategy for an artist.
I would, however, make an exception for two albums of The Chemical Brothers, which still sounds like they always sounded. I chose Further because for me, it’s the big comeback of the duo at its best level: huge drum breaks, big synth sounds and psychedelic guitars.
I wonder which band succeed in mixing hip-hop, psychedelic rock from the 70s, soul and rave from the 90s as well as The Chemical Brothers? Their massive live set also inspired me. I like the way they use video. They integrate analog synthesizers and machines into a very built set, but allow themselves to jam with their machines. I can’t say any more…. I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager, I’m completely biased.