Italian born, Berlin based Gianfranco “Nanni” Barnaba, is the mind behind Ruff Stuff.
In addition to releasing on a host of labels including Shall Not Fade, Madhouse Records, Suol, and Quality Vibe; it’s the work on his own label, the aptly names Ruff Stuff Music Ltd, for which he’s arguably best renowned.
Growing up during the ‘90’s electronic wave, firstly as clubber and then as DJ and vinyl enthusiast, in the mid-2000s he decided to start producing electronic music. Firstly his music could be loosely categorised as delving into Idm and Ambient territories, driven by his love for ethereal melodies and intricate broken beats.
The shift to House happened after re-discovering different classic records hidden in his collection. Born was a project focused on representing the vibes of the old-school House, Techno and Garage, but also with a propensity to find something that sounded new and fresh.
Rough samples, hypnotic melodies, groovy beats and vocals are just some of the main ingredients that coin Ruff Stuff’s signature sound.
We caught up with him to select the records that shaped it.
1. Mr. G – A G Moment
I consumed my copy of this record for how much time I’ve played it…
I think the love and the admiration I have for Mr G is not a secret for anyone who knows me and my sound. He’s the master in putting together different shades of house and techno into a single track, and in my opinion A G Moment is the perfect example of it: straight raw groove, the hypnotic never-ending chord, and the soulful vocal that gives that magic unique touch to the track. I believe it’s impossible to not fall in love with this tune!
2. Bedouin Ascent – Gait Of Power
Probably one the first tracks that make me fall in love with electronic music. At the age of 15, I received a tape cassette from my elder cousin with a lot of IDM tunes and Gait Of Power was one of them.
It took me from the first moment I listened to it, and I can’t explain why…
I find this track so beautiful with the hypnotic vibes, the dreamy synths bouncing all over and the minimalistic 909.
I bought several records on Rising High Records, they were focused on this acid-trance-experimental techno sound and from time to time I still play some of these tracks in my sets.
3. Theo Parrish – Lost Angel
This track represents for me the meaning of Deep House. Deep it’s the only work that can describe this tune… from the rolling sub bass to the dark chord, passing from the drums and the percussion, everything is very deep. This is the magic of this track. I can’t describe the feelings it gives me every time I listen to it, but it touches me deeply inside.
4. Spooky – Bamboo
This is another tune that brings me back to my early approach with electronic music. Back in the late 90’s, when I was a teenager and still shaping my musical tastes, I used to spend every evening between 10pm and midnight listening to an amazing radio show on a local radio that was broadcasting a wide range of electronic music with a propensity to IDM, Ambient and Electro.
I clearly remember the first time I listened to this tune… was so impressive how all the elements blended together so harmoniously, the contrast between the electronic parts and the tribal organic sounds was simply amazing and still today it’s one of my favourite tunes.
5. F.U.S.E. – Train Track
I met techno for the first time with this track and it was like a big slap on my face.
The sound of a train in the distance, a straight reverberated 909 kick and 2 delayed 303 notes. The straight hat that comes directly into your face and the clap to keep the beat alive… A very minimalistic approach (in the typical Hawtin style) but so powerful and effective.
When I feel I need some inspiration for making my music, I use to listen to this tune, because it reminds me of a very important thing: you don’t need to put dozens of sounds in a track to make it work.
Few elements can be devastating if well selected and balanced.
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