Music that changed you

What albums/songs/pieces of music had an influential impact on how you perceive music, opened up new genres to you, or otherwise had a big impact on you?

I thought this would be an interesting question to ask after just finding out that an artist who had a really big impact on me a bit more than 10 years ago had a new release in 2021 for the first time after 10 years. I just found out by chance and I haven’t listened to it yet because I want to find the time to really appreciate it, but I’ll open up the thread with the song that came just at the right moment in my life:

Holy Other - Touch

It’s a hard truth to admit today, but one of my earliest childhood memories related to music is copying over Michael Jackson songs on my cassette deck at 5 years old, so obviously musically he had a big impact on me. Other impactful records from my childhood were Phil Collins - But Seriously (because my parents were big fans so it would be played a lot at home), Moby - Play, Yello - Essential, Prodigy - The Fat Of The Land, Slipknot - Iowa, Eaves - Höhenangst, Killing The Dream - In Place Apart, Burial - Untrue, Caterina Barbieri - Ecstatic Computation. Of course, there are a lot more, but these especially were departures into new musical directions throughout my life.


Homogenic by Björk. I’m pretty sure I’ve told this story before here in some other topic, but I was full on metalhead as a teenager, and like teenagers do, thought that pretty much everything else was garbage. Heavier always meant better. But then I was at my friend’s house and he put Homogenic on, we were laying on the floor listening to it and my mind just blew open. Those deep hits on Bachelorette shook me to my core and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that album.


Big ones for me (off the top of my head) were -

Pig destroyer 38 counts of battery
Ulver - perdition city
Ulver - themes of william blake
Boards of Canada - geogaddi
DJ shadow - endtroducing
Iron monkey - our problem
Coil - ape of Naples
Autechre - amber
Tim hecker - harmony in ultraviolet
Sunn o))) - white 1
Laibach - NATO
Stars of the lid - the tired sounds of stars of the lid
Efterklang - magic chairs
Múm - today was ok
Leyland kirby - the future is no longer what it was

More I’m sure

Edit - How did I forget Tom Waits!


mahavishnu orchestra, birds of fire then boris, flood were important to me


My friends who know my musical predilections won’t even bat an eye here, but John Zorn has probably changed the way I look at music and art more than any other artist. I was already pretty into a lot of different things (a lot of metal, some electronic stuff, jazz of all sorts, even minor forays into noise music) at the time I listened to him, but he was the one who made it all come together for me. He made me realize that all genres of music are equally relevant, that there really aren’t any “rules” in art, and that it was okay—if not encouraged—to try new things and be prolific and independent and not be afraid to mix styles and allow yourself to have variety in your artistic practice. His work with Naked City (specifically his notion of composing with “blocks of sound”) helped me find an important footing with my own writing as well.

The funny thing is that, like most of the artists I love now, I initially really disliked his music. I think listened to the first piece of this Masada live performance and thought it was just nonsense. But I kept coming back to him, and now I own over 100 of his albums (basically a tenth of my entire CD collection).

There are some other big albums that were pivotal for me (The Mars Volta—Amputechture, Deftones—Around the Fur, Herbie Hancock—Head Hunters Tool—Aenima, Merzbow—Hybrid Noisebloom, Billy Joel—The Stranger [yes, seriously], Linkin Park—Meteora [again, yes, seriously]), but they all pale in comparison with Zorn, even though, ironically, I’m not as big on his work anymore.


Och! And Tom bloody waits


I’ll be eternally grateful to my Dad for having all the colours of the spectrum in his record collection and letting me play them when I was a nipper. As such, all sorts got into my head because of him, from brass bands to jazz to Russ Conway (!), as well as me playing the Pickwick Records cover version of Popcorn. But the first time I heard Neptune, the Mystic by Holst kind of fused my brain. That was (and still is) the piece of music that made me realise music was this amazing direct to the soul communication thing. :slight_smile:


A high school friend and I found Mr. Bungle while browsing through user directories on Direct Connect / DC++ and downloaded Disco Volante just based on the weird band name and track titles. This track was the first one to finish downloading and the first one we ever heard from them.

My teenage mind was blown wide open by the end of the track and my understanding of what music could be was forever changed.


First might have been the KLF’s stadium house trilogy which were big hits when I was around 6 years old and I remember capturing part of What Time Is Love? on a cassette tape that I just kept rewinding and relistening to endlessly. I’d say it had a big impact since it predisposed me into being into a psychedelic dance music, of the goa trance variety, which also changed the way I dressed, the hippie books I started reading as a teenager (including the Discordian ones that the KLF referred to), my outlook on life. Even my love of folk music from the Balkans, Middle East etc. might be traced back to this.

Then I must have been 15 years old when one night I couldn’t sleep and at around 4 AM, tuned into the Dutch classical music radio to accidentally discover Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila-Symphony. I had never in my life cared for classical music, but I was completely spellbound by the kaleidoscopic patterns, the colours of the orchestration, the sound of the ondes martenot. It changed my life to the extent that it led me on a long journey, first into avantgarde classical music (Ligeti, Xenakis, Feldman, Schoenberg etc.) and much later made me appreciate even Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and I started attending concerts at bourgeois venues which were completely at odds with how I had seen myself.


I’ve had a lot of phases, and a lot of music has shaped who I am or how I think, but early 2000s era K Records was very impactful and important in shaping me: The Microphones, Mirah, Yume Bitsu, Old Time Relijun, etc. Embracing imperfection, DIY, inclusive spaces, creating alternative or new visions, the homemade, etc. Definitely things that existed elsewhere, and by no means originated from K. It was just my introduction. Their forum was the first bit of internet I felt a participant in.


I love this topic, I think is really important for a music lover to stop sometimes and think about which piece of music had an important impact and why. There are a lot of tunes related to different moments which are importants, but only one has a “before & after” …

There was a life before Autechre - EP7 and a life after Autechre - EP7, for me.

I will never stop thanking my first girlfriend, she has a couple of years more than me and she gave me this white CD one day at a park in Rome, it was around 2001, I was 15.
Everything changed for me musically speaking, really.

It’s still my favorite work by Autechre.


The Rite of Spring. It was like, wait, you can do that in front of a respectable audience?! Here’s a performance I particularly like.


Well… now you can.





Jed the Humanoid on Grandaddy’s ‘Software Slump’ record really demonstrated how clever song writing, experimentation in the studio, and using electronics sparingly could be a recipe for such beauty!

Then they followed it up later on the album with Jed’s Other Poem and I decided they were my heros!

1 Like

For me it’s a liberating video stepping out of the right/left paradigm.

1 Like

Five for me (spot the pattern)

1. Eno & Byrne - Bush of Ghosts (1981)
My older brother was into Talking Heads, Bowie etc & would bring tapes home from school…
One day he brought Bush of Ghosts, but commented he didn’t like it - ‘too weird for me’
16 year old me: OMG!! now THIS is how music should be!
First time I’d heard music in a form that really spoke to me. Still love it to this day & getting access to demo mixes as well as stems a few years back was so great.

2. Scientist - Scientific Dub (1981)
Dub intrigued me but Scientists mixes & his choice of tracks to dub were just super inspiring to me as a bass player & studio dreamer… then & still are now… Own vinyl of almost everything he’s released…

3. Bjork - Vespertine (2001)
I was on a round-the-world trip in 2001, and went into a record ship in Barcelona and in kiwi manglish asked for a copy of the new Bjork album. Who? WHAT? Eventually they worked out what I was mumbling. Caught train to Figures & Dali Museum with it playing on my CD walkman. Loved her micro-rhythms.

4. Rhythm & Sound - all the 10" vinyl releases (2001+)
First contemporary dub I heard that surpassed its references… So deep, so beautifullly restrained & yet so powerful!

5. Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - Insen (2005)
I’d seen some of Carsten Niccolais sound art in London on that same 2001 trip, and I was into early Pole, Clicks & Cuts etc but Alva Noto with Sakamoto in this form felt unprecedented and transcendant.


This is nearly in chronological order, yet it’s difficult to remember the details completely from here. Plus, I rediscovered certain artists at different times in my life, making it slightly more confusing to list, but I feel inclined to list anyway… mainly by when they had their impact on me. I can’t really list albums or songs in particular, that’s not easy. I’m probably forgetting some at the moment.

The Cure
They Might Be Giants
Dinosaur Jr.
David Bowie
Frank Zappa
Mr. Bungle
Foo Fighters
Built to Spill
Nick Drake
Four Tet
Aphex Twin
Sunny Day Real Estate
Mercury Rev
Brian Eno
Massive Attack
Nine Inch Nails
His Name Is Alive
Sigur Rós
Malice Mizer
Philip Glass
Del the Funky Homosapien
Flying Lotus
J Dilla
Elysian Fields
Matthew Dear
Alice Coltrane
Floating Points

edit: I added a few which I felt guilty for leaving out.


Yes. Mr Bungle changed everything (and zorn produced their first album)


Ten albums that had a big impact on me during my teenage years, shortly before I began producing music:

  • Future Sound of London - Accelerator
  • Bodenständig 2000 - Maxi German Rave Blast Hits 3
  • Meat Beat Manifesto - 99%
  • The Prodigy - Experience
  • Underworld - dubnobasswithmyheadman
  • Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album
  • Orbital - Orbital 2
  • NIN - Broken
  • KMFDM - Nihil
  • Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust

Now I want to make similar lists for my 20s and 30s :thinking:

1 Like