The following article was written by our summer intern, Oscar Henson. Oscar is a philosophy student at The University of Bristol and also has a strong passion for writing and music. It’s been a pleasure having Oscar join the team this summer and he’s made an excellent contribution to life at Graphic Alliance. So without further ado over to Oscar…
As I approached my six week internship at Graphic Alliance, I wouldn’t have guessed that one of my responsibilities on the job would include maintaining the office sound system. Now, that’s not to say that I haven’t had plenty of other pressing responsibilities on the job – thanks to my extensive and rigorous SEO work, chocolate lovers will be taken straight through Google Search to the appropriate landing page on the Prestat site. However, what I mean to say is that office track selection turned out to be a sensitive and politically loaded affair, one that I would go on to apply myself to with undoubtedly irritating persistence. Furthermore, some might say that my controversial policy of selecting ‘what I could get away with’ as opposed to ‘what might actually be considered appropriate’ meant that the job became a little more complicated than perhaps it realistically needed to be. I don’t think Zoe really knew what she was letting herself in for when she casually suggested I ‘pick the next track’ on my first day at the job.
Now I can’t claim a 100% success rate by any means – the ‘jizzy jazz’ of Robert Glasper was brought to an abrupt halt by Sol, who quickly rectified the situation with a healthy dose of ‘Big Beats FM’; and after nearly putting Irina to sleep with Augustus Pablo Meets Rockers Uptown, it became clear that Dub was strictly off the menu – particularly when there were deadlines to be met. However, something interesting that emerged from this was the great divide that seems to exist between appropriate pre- and post- lunchtime music selection – as the day draws on and the office become stressed and tired, the need for big beats and catchy vocals becomes more and more vital – particularly towards the end of a long hard week. In the quiet of the mornings, however, I found that there was room to sneak in slightly more low-key, experimental or instrumental selections. Whether this was due to a heightened sense of mutual appreciation for the music or simply down to an inhibited capacity to complain I cannot say.
Song choices aside, I would like to thank Graphic Alliance and Prestat for giving me the opportunity to work here at 1 Rosoman Place. My internship has been fulfilling and insightful – never before had I realised quite how much work goes into making the internet accessible and easy to navigate, and how much effort must be employed on behalf of any business to ensure that they keep a head above the competition. As a blogger and somebody who uses the internet and social media as a platform for many of my own projects, I am grateful to be coming away from my stint here with a bank of genuinely useful experience and new understanding.
So, in return, here is my summary of a week in office music, divided appropriately into morning and afternoon selections:
Not to be confused with the make-up wearing alt rock band from the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, Placebo were a Belgian jazz funk band from the 70’s, and their debut album ‘Ball of Eyes’ is perfect Summer morning material.
Proper golden era hip-hop courtesy of Jurassic 5 – the perfect way to keep things jazzy late into the afternoon without receiving the skip from Sol.
The new Airhead album on R&S records is great early morning fodder when it comes to experimental electronic music, the weirdness suitably balanced out by beautiful guitar-work and catches of vocal melody – highly recommended.
The soundtrack to the 1972 film “The Harder They Come” features lively Reggae and Ska classics by the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker and Toots & the Maytals. Need I say more?
Floating Points is Floating Points. This track is incredible, but anything from him or his unstoppable label Eglo will do the trick.
Recently, whilst voicing my controversial qualms with Big Beats FM, Sol observed that I must not be a big fan of Dubstep. Being the uncontrollable, annoying electronic music geek that I am, I couldn’t refrain from challenging him on his use of the term – I am, as it turns out, a massive fan of Dubstep, which, despite its popular portrayal in modern dance music, originated in the early 2000s as a soulful, meditative hybrid between UK Garage and Dub Reggae, placing strong emphasis on groove, space and sub-bass – an ethos that is sadly lost in the work of many of today’s popular artists such as Skrillex and Chase & Status. For proof, listen to perhaps the best Dubstep album of all time – ‘City Limits Vol. 1’ by Silkie, released back in 2009 on Mala’s seminal Deep Medi Musik imprint.
Given that Thursday morning is traditionally the most depressing point of the working week, it would clearly be terrible for me to advise you to listen to Leonard Cohen’s debut album, ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’ – but I’m going to do it anyway. Just hope that you can let it roll out long enough to reach ‘The Stranger Song’ before being shut off and banned from the office Spotify account.
More essential golden era Hip-Hop, this time courtesy of the dangerously overlooked east-coast rapper O.C – his 1994 debut album ‘Word… Life’ is, in my opinion, one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, and features stellar contributions from the likes of Big L, Fat Joe and Buckwild.
The soundtrack to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is easily one of the best music compilations of all time, closely followed by the soundtrack to Jackie Brown. Put either of these albums on and let the perfectly compiled selection of soul, funk and surf-rock push you through that last morning of the week.
Friday in the office is strictly party flavours, and for me that means one thing and one thing only – fruity UK Garage from the 90’s and early 00’s. It’s impossible to know where to start, but if I had to offer a launch point it would be this impeccable one hit wonder by Crazy Bald Heads. The perfect soundtrack to beers-all-round when the clock hits 5.