Rock legend David Bowie leads the list of 12 nominees for the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Music prize for British music, as electronic music takes centre stage in the judges' reckoning.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 11, 2013) (REUTERS) - British music legend David Bowie was installed as co-favourite to win the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize on Wednesday (September 11) as the announcement of the 12 nominees for the 2013 award were made in central London.
Along with the Arctic Monkeys, Bowie leads the field for the prize, set up 20 years ago as an alternative to the Brit Awards.
Laura Marling, Disclosure, James Blake and Foals were all close behind the front-runners according toWilliam Hill's award odds in a year the prize panel's judges called significant for musical creativity and excellence.
Speaking of their second Mercury nomination for their third album, Foals band members Jack Bevanand Edwin Congreave said the nomination brought with it a degree of confidence in their deserving to be nominated.
"On the first time we were nominated we were the token jazz act, whereas this time it feels a little bit more like," Bevan told Reuters Television.
"I think we have a little bit more confidence in winning. I wouldn't say that we're fully confident, but we feel like we have some right to even enter the room, whereas last time we were tiptoeing in and hiding in the corner," Congreave said.
"When we did the press room before, there was someone constantly coming around and just checking that we were ok to be in here. I was probably exposing, I think I'd got some ripped jeans, and Ed had been sick on himself or something. It was very embarrassing," Bevan added.
Debut dance quartet Rudimental were described by judges as having produced a "jubilant and thrilling showcase" on their album "Home".
"It's amazing man, I mean Spider from Mars - we're from Hackney, it's quite a different thing. But it's quite amazing to be in the same category. I never, ever, ever imagined that. I hope we beat him," he said.
The Mercury Prize is renowned for its esoteric choices, though after being described last year as "obscure" in its nominations, this year the panel has veered back towards the mainstream with the shortlisting of Marling, previous winners the Arctic Monkeys, and popular brotherly dance act Disclosure.
Chair of the Mercury judges, Simon Frith, said this year's shortlist was a testament to the unique nature of the British music scene.
"British music has a wonderfully rich history now, and everything does kind of interact with everything else, I mean Bowie has his influence on some of these acts obviously, and one of the things I like on his album is it's clear he that he goes on listening to music," he told Reuters Television.
Disclosure's brother band members Guy and Howard Lawrence said although Bowie's name was an intimidating one to have on the list, no one was a clear favourite.
"I think it's hard to say, especially for us who are fans of nearly every nominee, so it would be impossible to say at this point, but you know obviously we hope to win. It would be amazing," Howard said, adding no one would be surprised by Bowie winning the prize.
"Well yeah, you know, if he wins it's almost like 'obviously'," he added, while his brother said the fact that it was their first time there meant they had nothing to lose.
"I feel like because it's our debut, it's almost like, it's our debut, so whatever," Guy told Reuters Television.
Alternative pop act Alt-J's debut "An Awesome Wave" beat rapper Plan B (Ill Manors), indie rockers The Maccabees (Given to the Wild) and British singer Jessie Ware (Devotion) to last year's award.
The full list of nominees is:
David Bowie - The Next Day
Arctic Monkeys - AM
Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle
Foals - Holy Fire
Disclosure - Settle
James Blake - Overgrown
Rudimental - Home
Laura Mvula - Sing to the Moon
Villagers - Awayland
Jon Hopkins - Immunity
Savages - Silence Yourself