100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #18 Global Communication – 14:31

Released : 1993

Playing machines, sculpting with sound, feeling it’s notes as contours, musicians as philosophers, painters and abstract expressionists. The twentieth century gave rise to those who saw the role of merely playing an instrument as too simplistic: Instead they wanted the chance to create art through ideas as opposed to the physical manipulation of banging, blowing or pushing against something inanimate.

Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton met in rural Somerset: the latter was a classically trained pianist, whilst the former had been working with Richard D. James in Cornwall learning the basics of sampling and sonic manipulation. With little else around them a creative bond soon formed over a mutual love of My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, early hip-hop, Debussy, Carl Craig and homegrown ambient techno pioneers such as B12 and The Black Dog.

The duo worked at night, filtering out distractions and attempting to rebaseline what they understood electronic music to mean. Out of these dream-waking sessions came a fourteen minute epic which moved in liquid waves, it’s spectral meter provided by the tick of a grandfather clock. What would eventually become known simply as 14:31 was an extraordinarily beautiful track and listening to it a transcendent, almost spiritual experience. If aural sculpture was finding a seam of perfection amongst something naked and unmade, Pritchard and Middleton were master craftsmen arrived from a different age of both the past and future.