Takeshi Nishimoto – Lavandula
I found this browsing online one day, and what a lucky find it was! The recording seems to be really close-miked, so you can hear the movement of Nishimoto’s guitar strings in detail and it adds a feeling of real intimacy to the music. Robert Lippok contributes subtle electronics in the background occasionally too. It’s a beautiful piece of work – very understated, loosely played and full of feeling.
Rhythm & Sound – The Versions
I’m choosing this here mostly for ‘History Version’, which I could probably play forever and never get tired of. There’s something weirdly perfect about it – the way it shifts around in space, not really doing anything, but nevertheless maintaining this incredibly arresting atmosphere. Like most of my favourite dub, it’s hard to explain what makes it so good, you kind of just have to hear it (on good speakers preferably!)
Richard Skelton – Verse of Birds
I think that ‘Landings’ is probably my favourite Richard Skelton album, but for some reason today, I’m going for ‘Verse of Birds’. Some might find his music overly melancholy, or bleak even, but I actually find it very uplifting. I went to see him play with a string quartet at St. Luke’s Church near Old Street a few years ago on a very windy day, and the enormous trees outside behind the windows provided the most perfect visual accompaniment, swaying around while the music swelled up powerfully.
Lakker – Tundra Remixed
I’m picking this release mostly for Spaces’ thundering remix of ‘Mountain Divide’, which I had the good fortune of hearing played out very loud at Corsica Studios last year. John’s production has developed over the years into a highly idiosyncratic and innovative sound, and this is one of my favourite examples of it – music made for the dancefloor, but with little interest in whatever that’s “supposed” to sound like.
TU M' – Monochromes Vol. 1
Work these days sometimes involves sitting behind a computer reading for long hours, and I need to concentrate and therefore can’t listen to anything too busy. Much of the ambient music I’ve always enjoyed has thus taken on a new function, and this particular album has become a personal classic of this new private micro-genre – ‘reading/writing music’. Also perfect for late nights, long journeys, sleeping, thinking etc.
Ø (Mika Vainio) – Konstellaatio
Like a more accessible version of Pan Sonic in places, this has all the typically immaculate sound design that you might expect its creator, but channeled in a more contemplative direction than usual. If you had ever wanted to try playing Mika Vainio on the office stereo at work, this might be your one chance! Sort of…
Harold Budd – The Serpent (In Quicksilver)
I only know two Harold Budd albums, this one and ‘Perhaps’ (dedicated to James Tenney, and which I could have happily selected here too, but for different reasons). I don’t think ‘The Serpent (in Quicksilver)’ is one of his most acclaimed works, but I have enjoyed playing it quite a lot over the last few years, sometimes by accident on 33 (which still sounds good and conveniently makes it longer as it’s very short!). It doesn’t feel like a “piano” album, the additional instruments and varied tones push it into an altogether more unusual space. The tracks are not necessarily connected through their sound, but by a certain sensibility in the performance. A gently beguiling miniature…
Morton Feldman – Three Voices For Joan La Barbara
This was the first recording of a Morton Feldman piece that I ever heard. I still don’t know any music like it – its absolute purity is almost unnerving at first, but if you stay with it, you’ll be glad afterwards. Or at least, I am whenever I do! Joan La Barbara's performance is incredible.
- Various Artists
- Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-81
- Soundway Records
- Catalogue Number
- Release Date
- January 2012
Various Artists – Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-81
This is a wonderful collection of music which I discovered in the most unlikely of places: my sometimes soul-destroying job at HMV Covent Garden during college. There was more-or-less a ban against playing anything good on the shopfloor stereo, but I got to sneak this on in the basement a couple of times – perhaps just enough to save my sanity from being entirely eroded by the constant assault of Michael Bublé or Kings of Leon’s latest hits blasting from the in-store speakers. Loads of great tracks to choose from here, but if you’re checking a sample, try: ‘Odo Mmera’ by Pa Steeles African Brothers, or ‘Din Ya Sugri’ by Christy Azuma and Uppers International, both lovely!