“Home taping is killing music.” This was printed on cassette tapes back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an attempt by the music industry to stop piracy. A connoisseur is a person who has a great deal of knowledge about fine art or cuisines, or an expert judge in matters of taste. In suburban Dublin, circa 1993, I was a leading connoisseur in the art of home taping. Oh boy, if only the music industry had known what was to come.
The tape in question, Sonic Youth's Evol, was hand-painted and jet black. It came with me everywhere. The band's use of consonance and dissonance made me fall in love with noise – noise that could be somehow beautiful and harmonious.
Influenced by the sounds of Sun Ra, John Cage, musique concrète and minimalism, the album was like taking a music degree in 36 minutes. Tracks like Death to Our Friends and Expressway to Yr Skull are avant-garde subversions of rock'n'roll: imposed melodies, swimming in dissonance.
Listening to it now, 25 years since my first listen, it's still as brooding and beautiful as it was then. – In conversation with Niall Byrne
Neil O'Connor has just released his sixth album as Somadrone, Wellpark Avenue; somadrone.bandcamp.com