Less Than One

Less Than One is: Graham Williams (field recordings, soundscapes, production)

From: U.K.

Genre: Dark Ambient

Sounds like: Lull, Lustmord

Some Background:

  • 1999-2003 Leeds – Leeds Music College & Vector Collective, releases on Fencing flatworm, OTO, Trademarkerd Industries & Evelyn Records.
  • 2003-2006 London – Releases on Evelyn Records.
  • 2006 – 2014 Hiatus
  • 2014 – Present <1 et al. projects released via Bandcamp.

Top Records/Artists

1. Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Vol. II

Aphex Twin’s second album, chosen due to the immersive quality of the truly haunting soundscapes, this album was also my first real introduction to dark ambient music.

2. Autechre -Tri Repetae

Autechre’s third album, chosen due to the incredibly intricate production and industrial minimalism, along with the fact that liner notes indicate that it should be listened to on vinyl as surface noise is an integral part of the album.

The CD version states the album is “incomplete without surface noise”, the vinyl version states that it is “complete with surface noise.”

3. Banco De Gaia – Last Train to Lhasa

Banco’s second album, chosen due to the extensive use of field recordings and samples of muisc form across the world and for the inclusion of a 40 min mix of the track Kinkajou.

The album also highlights the plight of the Tibetan people under Chinese occupation.

4. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Recorded in one 12-hour session, Sabbath’s first album will always be my favorite, from the opening atmospheric rainstorm, right up until the last note of the incredible cover of “The Warning”.

5. James Brown – Star Time

A bit of a cheat, this album is a 71-track compilation spanning the career of JB from 1956 to 1984, and features a lot of previously unreleased, full length studio versions.

The compilation also comes with extensive notes, which in themselves won a Grammy for best album notes, which shed light on the career of ‘The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

6. Fantomas – Wunderkammer

Another cheat really, this opulent, boxed set collection brings together all of Fantomas’ albums. I could have filled this list with Mike Patton’s works, but the sheer heaviness of Fantomas wins the day for me.

7. Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Technically, Ministry’s fourth album, this, for me is where the band really hit their straps, blending heavy industrial with more electronic elements and an incredible choice of samples.

This was my first experience of Ministry and highlights, along with Psalm 69, how great things could have been if the drugs hadn’t fucked everything up.

8. Ennio Morricone – Kill, Kill, Kill

Again, I could have gone for any of Morricone’s works, but chose this particular album as it contains some of his lesser known western works. Ridiculously good throughout.

9. Nailbomb – Point Blank

Nailbomb’s only studio album brings together a host of highly skilled musicians to weld together an hour of abrasive industrial/hardcore, including a brilliant cover of Doom’s “Exploitation”.

I love the punk ethics of the project—one album, one live show and were done.

10. Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile

I’ve gone for NIN’s third album due to the expansive nature of the album. Reznor’s utilisation of more ambience and sounscapes leads to an almost classical, orchestral feel to the album.

11. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

PE’s second album has to be my favorite and I can’t really sum it up better than Chuck D, who described the album as ‘one focused aural missile’.

The album is a dense construction of samples, noise, strong social commentary and guitar feedback. For me, this is still the greatest rap album ever.

12. Pop Will Eat Itself – Dos Dedos Mis Amigos/a Lick of the Old Cassette Box

Cheating again, I’ve gone for the re-release of the Poppies best album, along with the previously unreleased follow up, which provides a tantilising glimpse of a heavier, more industrial sound.

PWEI are the band I have seen the most, the soundtrack to a time in my life when I was far more carefree and happy.

13. Rollins Band – Weight

Picking one particular Rollins Band release has been one of the hardest choices for the list. I’ve gone for Weight due to the inclusion of Melvins Gibbs on the bass.

14. Scorn – Evenescence/Ellipsis

Another bit of cheating, I’ve gone for the re-release of Scorn’s seminal album, along with the supporting remix album.

It was this album that really solidified my desire to produce music with it’s perfect amalgamation of industrial, dark ambient and dub styles.

The remix album originally came out the year after and sharpened my interest in remixes as reinterpretations of individual pieces.

15. Shostakovic – Complete Symphonies

All of Shostakovic’s symphonies, including the Fourth, which is a work of dense, nightmarish unease that utilises over 100 musicians.

16. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – Of Natural History

I’ve had to go for SGM’s second album due to the inclusion of “The Donkey-Headed Adversary…” but I could have chosen any of the albums. I’m yet to have discovered any other band that could fuse together so many disparate elements so effortlessly.

17. Various Artists – The Shining Soundtrack [Extended Edition]

This release includes all of Wendy Carlos’ unused pieces along with all of the tracks used on the film plus the Penderecki pieces chosen for inclusion in the film, but subsequently unused.

A perfectly unsettling album to compliment the perfectly unsettling film.

18. Richard Wagner – Der Ring des Nibelungen

All four of Wagner’s epic orchestral works, brought together into one release.

19. Denny Zeitlin – Invasion of The Body-Snatchers

Zeitlin’s only soundtrack, which, minus the awful bagpipe track, is a work that perfectly encapsulates the paranoiac terror of the film.

20. µ-Ziq – The Auteurs vs. µ-Ziq

µ-Ziq remixes of tracks taken from The Auteurs’ ‘Now I’m a Cowboy’, rendering tracks that are unrecognisable, spectral and far greater than the sum of their parts.

A perfect example of what the art of remixing should encapsulate.