1. Puro Huayno, Antologia de la musica Peruana
(Wisepack ltd, 2000)
For a few years I've been in love with Hauyno music from Bolivia and Peru, to a point where I sometimes have to force myself to put something else on; it's addicting. It's like its own musical language, and I will never be able to work out what is exactly going on rhythmically; those kind of things that can just not be written down. This Peruvian compilation just keeps getting playtime for more than a year now, not a bad song on there, from more traditional to weirdly stumbling electric drumrolls and multi-saxophone unisons: some really special textures, as uplifting as they come..
2. The George Barnes
Octet, The Complete Standard Transcriptions
If I were to choose my favorite guitarist at gunpoint, I would have to go for George Barnes. He can be heard on gazillions of recordings from the '30s to the '70s, and he is considered to be, possibly, the first recorded electric guitarist. I'm amazed by the consistent quality in whatever music he recorded throughout those decades. Quirky, upbeat and awake, and always swinging hard. And also an innovator on a technical level. I also really like him as an arranger because of all the crazy quick turns the music can take. I'm really into this almost Raymond Scott
-like album lately.
3. Burt Bacharach
, The Look of Love: the Burt Bacharach Collection
(3 CD) (Rhino, 2000)
A collection of early Bacharach songs, mostly R&B and soul, but with that unmistakable thing that he does. These orchestrations are Lush! What a sound ideal... It feels consoling to think that he is still sharing the planet with the rest of us.
4. Broadcast, Haha Sound
I first found out about Broadcast while watching Peter Strickland's "Berberian Sound Studio"possibly my favorite moviewhere they do a fantastic modern faux
Dario Argento soundtrack. Their other albums are all very original and just so tasteful, like entering Alice's wonderland. Although they definitely mined the '60s for all its gold, this is truly contemporary music and a great source of inspiration, both musically and for their meticulous production. It's a tragedy that Trish Keenan, one of this duo's members, died at 42.
5. Lennie Tristano
, Lee Konitz
, Warne Marsh
, The Complete Atlantic Recordings
(Mosaic Records, 1997)
Brain-training. I keep coming back to this... Both Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh are amazing of course, but the imagination of Lennie Tristano simply knocks me out. I wish I had more time to study his playing, or that playing bebop would still serve some kind of function: it's a complicated relationship, and probably I say this because I'm not very good at it.
6. Los Zafiros, Bossa Cubana
(World Circuit, 1999)
A true contender for the best sounding album of all times (or at least the most beautiful reverb). I think it was recorded in the mid 60's in the famous Estudios Areito in Havana. A Cuban take on Doo-wopand much morefeaturing otherworldly singing, fantastic guitar playing, and just great songs.
7. The Caretaker, Everywhere at The End of Time-Stage 2
(Story always favours the winners, 2017)
A very strong conceptual electronic musician who in this project deals with the notion of dementia through reworking old '30s ballroom recordings into something uniquely his own, very nostalgic and melancholic, which are qualities in music that always do the trick for me. Without a doubt, I love the original ballroom music, and I wish I would understand exactly the magic of his reworking of these recordings, but then again, the fun of magic is that we don't understand how it is done.
8. The Three Suns, Movin' n' Groovin'
(RCA Victor, 1962)
One has to wonder how is it possible thatover the yearsThe Three Suns seem to have been wiped out of most people's awareness, despite their relative fame from the '40s into the '60s. They put out dozens of wonderful albums; this one is particularly good (I love the ping-pong delay on the marimbas here). Definitely on the quirky edges of exotica, space-age and novelty-songs, this music comes from an era where the star would be the arranger, and in this case the sky is the limit in terms of crazy textures and wild early studio experiments. Like they wanted to make sure that there would be something happening every three seconds, before someone gets bored; frantically busy, and swinging like mad. And man, the sound of all these records... I'm pretty sure it was the main inspiration for my last album.
9. Ennio Morricone
, Psichedelico Jazzistico
(Cherry Red Records, 2004)
Morricone's very personal blend of the kitschy with the experimental helped me a lot with cultivating my own shamelessness when it comes to composing, which may largely be a quite egotistic way of trying to please and surprise my own ears to start with. This album is fantastic throughout, although in my view the track "L'assoluto Naturale" really sticks out for being the most Proustian soundtrack of all time.
10. C.W. Stoneking, Gon' Boogaloo
(King Hokum Records, 2014)
Slowly this album has been growing on me lately: at first listen it comes across as stylized retro, and since then slowly lots of little gems reveal themselves. Wonderful guitar playing and singing; both performed with an incredible looseness that must have been achieved through years of hard work by someone who seems meticulous about getting the sound exactly right. Obviously it is rooted in a vast and deep knowledge of old-time music, but in a subtle way it is still its own thing. And he really flows...
Photo credit: Co Broerse
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