Andrew has kindly supported my music in his playlists for several years. We haven’t met in person yet, but have chatted remotely, and I was delighted to be asked to develop a collaborative playlist together. This playlist developed by taking turns to suggest a piece of music, influenced by the previous choice of the other person. It ended up going in a direction I don’t think either of us planned, but which I think is interesting.
I’ve really enjoyed Malcolm’s work over the years and on listening to his 2022 release The Confidence Trick, decided that it was most definitely time to reach out and have a chat. After swapping war stories it seemed obvious that we should make a playlist together and yes – it turned out as interesting and unexpected as much of his music.
Malcolm kicked off with the epic 18 minute Eight Lines from Christopher Warren-Green and the LCO – and I countered with a Cliff Martinez track from the Drive soundtrack – what follows is a loose approximation of the conversation we had as we built out the rest of the playlist.
I liked Rubber Head (I hadn’t previously heard it). There were aspects that reminded me of Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians.
That made me think of Simple Minds’ “Theme For Great Cities”. Jim Kerr, vocalist of Simple Minds, described listening to the demo of the instrumental parts, and realizing that it was complete without adding vocals. When coming up with the title, he says he might have been inspired by Philip K Dick, whose work he was extensively reading at the time. PKD has been a big influence on me for decades.
Theme For Great Cities – Simple Minds
It’s crazy isn’t it – just how much music is out there and from Bands you think you know – I’m going back listening to Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call and damn it’s good – you’re never going to mistake Jim Kerr’s delivery 🙂
I came across this proggy irish band a while ago – it was the video for this track that I actually prefer to the streaming version – i love how it builds and while there are some vocals – they’re the dreamy type that seem to float above my cognitive centers so while I wouldn’t necessarily put it on a writing playlist – I think it matches nicely with where we’re taking this 🙂
Video here if you like: https://youtu.be/MG3aZF9iMeM
Land and Water – Frankenstein Bolts
That’s an interesting new discovery for me. I’ve gone with Ozric Tentacles “Slinky” next.
Slinky – Ozric Tentacles
So I had so many references going round my head – my brother is a guitar player – has been for as long as I can remember – and was heavily into Return to Forever – I remember buying him The Best Of back in ’85 and making a tape of it so I could listen too. Not that they sound anything like this track but the musicianship of both has me making the connection – I’m loving it.
But my head was thinking long form – and maybe after such an epic piece of musicianship – maybe a simpler palette cleanser. Lemon Jelly are a nuts band – so much weirdness surrounding such deep grooves – and who the hell thinks up a song like this?! I love the astronaut vocal track and the whole intent behind the track as it ultimately resolves into an expression of beauty :-p
Space Walk – Lemon Jelly
The piano part of the Lemon Jelly track reminded me of Debussy. Then I thought of Ligeti’s Musica Ricercata No 7, with it’s energetic left hand ostinato contrasting with the ethereal right hand melody, so that’s what I’ve gone with, in an impressive performance by Khatia Buniatishvilli. It is very difficult to perform, but this performance sounds effortless.
Musica ricercata No. 7 in B-Flat Major – György Ligeti
I’m loving that left hand – always my own particular downfall when it comes to playing :-p. But what an overall feel the track delivers – all held together by that incredible movement down the register – beautiful! I love how it sends the movement up to the right hand for the end – which allows for a nice segue into someone else’s right hand 🙂 You knew I wasn’t getting through this list without putting something from PatchKit on there (so long as it made sense) 🙂 This track is Noah telling EDS it can go F*** itself as he demonstrates that no matter the physical disability or the lunatic tempo of the rhythm section – good ears and strong chops can still win the day!
Carob Powder – Noah Baerman with Ron Carter and Ben Riley
That’s really nice – I didn’t know his music before. I also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Thanks for introducing me to that. If you know of other EDS musicians, I’d be interested in exploring.
I’ve gone with Norwegian jazz bassist Terje Gewelt’s ‘Crosstalk’ next..
Crosstalk – Terje Gewelt
keeping it Scandie and bringing a Finnish / Flamenco blend that somehow works perfectly out of the Terje gewelt fade out…
Erland – Joonas Widenius
As we’ve moved in a flamenco direction, I find it hard not to add the joyful flamenco Gipsy Kings cover of Hotel California.
Hotel California – Spanish Mix – Gipsy Kings
…took your Gypsy direction and amplified it…
I’m kinda loving the direction we’re heading in…
Wonderlust King – Gogol Bordello
Thanks – I didn’t know that track, and enjoyed it. I’ve gone next with Steeleye Span’s ‘All Around My Hat’, the title track from their 1975 album. It was one of my dad’s favourite LPs, and I heard it a lot growing up. Steeleye Span were influential in bringing electric instruments into folk music, and bringing folk into rock. Along with classical and jazz, the fusion of folk with rock was an important component of some strands of what became progressive rock.
All Around My Hat – Steeleye Span
I’ve always adored All Around My Hat – many memories of sitting in the back seat of the car while my mother sang along to it. She was a classically trained singer and loves to sing to just about anything – she brings her “operatic” voice – which sounds pretty good with Steeleye Span but hysterical when she sings anything after 1975!
So – keeping with the genre blend – and the slower intro before the band kicks in – I’m going with another classic. I remember falling in love with Locomotive Breath long before Aqualung and the rest of the album – it’s the piano intro (that of course speaks to the pianist in me) – but the guitar – the whole blues feel and then the whole band kicks in – and flute – more flute!!! :-p
Locomotive Breath – Jethro Tull
If we’re going with flute, then I’m going to have to follow that up with Kathryn’s (Kathryn Thomas, HOGIA flautist to whom I am married) favourite of our tracks – Nostalgia For Infinity. Lot’s of flute in this one. The song is sung from the perspective of someone trying to persuade a fused captain/spaceship to re-awaken and help save people from a catastrophe. The name of the ship is the Nostalgia For Infinity. The song was inspired by novels by Alastair Reynolds.
Nostalgia for Infinity – Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate
Loving the Flute in Nostalgia for Infinity – was spinning off so many references but – i knew this was probably going to arrive at some point in the list – but – probably ‘cos I sat down the other week and listened to the album again (with some lovely herbal assistance) that it just felt right…
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 6-9) – Pink Floyd
I love Shine On… one of my favourite tracks by one of my favourite bands. I was playing a gig yesterday, and was playing a piano version of it to warm up before the show, and I did a stripped down solo version of it at Prog The Forest (an annual rainforest charity prog rock festival I co-organise).
I’ve picked All About Eve’s Are You Lonely, in which David Gilmour makes a guest appearance.
Are You Lonely – All About Eve
What a beautiful track – and such a voice – I remember the band but don’t really remember much of the music – you gotta love that heavily chorused piano sound – but what a huge sound the track grows into – don’t get that nowadays do we 🙂
So – jumping forward a few years but similar kind of fat sound and one of my favorite singers – and again – I’m just grooving on the transition
Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good) – Skunk Anansie
I’ve gone with Staind’s It’s Been A While. It has some adult language, so if you prefer family safe songs, let me know.
I picked it because the guitar intro reminded me of the beginning of your last choice.
It’s Been Awhile – Staind
no worries on the family safe front ;-p – certainly not for the list we’ve been putting together – I’m looking forward to standing back and listening to it from top to bottom – it’s quite a journey.
I remember the Staind track – I’d just moved to the States and the whole vibe was everywhere – Pearl jam esque – crunchy guitars – introspective lyrics with strong vocals – screamo wasn’t far away 🙂
It was the opening that kept nagging my ears – I couldn’t remember what it reminded me of – and then I did….:-)
Smash It Up – Pts. 1 & 2 – The Damned
I’ve gone next with early Faith No More
Chinese Arithmetic – Faith No More
Coming out of the heavy groove of Chinese Arithmetic I felt the urge to circle back to the top of the list. It’s been quite a journey – from the abstract beginning to the more familiar middle of the list to the heavy ending – it’s the transitions that keep the listener engaged even as they span multiple styles and genres. It’s a true music lovers list.
Keep On – Alfa Mist