Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: The Juan Maclean and Doveman.
Listed: The Juan Maclean + Doveman
The Juan Maclean
The Juan Maclean (John MacLean, en ingles) is/was originally a guitarist electro-punk legends Six Finger Satellite. Following their demise, MacLean layed low for a brief while, moving to New Hampshire and generally straightening out. After a few years and considerable coaxing from his old friend James Murphey, he ressurected his musical career. In spite of picking up on electronic music relatively recently (he bought his first sampler and computer in 2000), the Juan Maclean's Kraut grooves and patient beats are among the best in the business. His new record (the Juan Maclean's debut full-length), Less Than Human was released a few weeks ago to universally glowing reviews. MacLean, who by day teaches English in a young offenders’ institute, participated in this week's Listed feature.
1. Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves LP
Chrome were a pioneering act formed in the mid 1970's, pre-dating punk by a few years. Though a four piece during their most important early albums, the two principle players were San Francisco's Helios Creed and Damon Edge. Chrome combined elements of Hendrix, Public Image Limited, Kraftwerk, and Can, just like all those contemporary groups you go crazy for, except they were doing it when your parents weren't even considering bringing another worthless life into the world.
2. Juan Atkins - "No UFO's" b/w "Industrial Lies" 12"
Juan Atkins and Derrick May could arm wrestle to figure out who really invented techno, but "No UFO's" has influenced the electronic side of me perhaps more than any other song. Straight away, Atkins is carrying on about spaceships. Second, the 909/ MS20 locked tight in combo is something you can certainly embarrass yourself by emulating in Reason or any of those other analog emulation software things you didn't pay for just like every other clown littering Guitar Center's electronic instruments room, but in mid 80's Detroit this was a revolutionary first shot heard round the world by three people in Europe. And me in Boston. The b-side is an embarrassment of the highest order, but Juan was still a teenager when he made this, so whatever.
3. Frankie Knuckles - "The Whistle Song'" 12"
Certainly not the best known Knuckles production. And I do mean 'production,' cuz I'm not entirely sure how much Frankie had to do with making records with his name on them, but he almost singlehandedly invented house music in Chicago about 50 years ago. This song has a laid back melancholy feel to it that I quite like. Feel-wise, anyway, a huge influence on the Juan MacLean track "Love Is In The Air."
4. DAF - "Der Mussolini" 12" single
DAF were two impossibly gay looking dudes from Germany who were apparently not gay. Check out any of their album covers and you'll find Robert Gorl and Gabby Delgado all sweat and leather, bare chested, well made up and ready for a night at the Purple Helmet. One of the principle influences on the band Six Finger Satellite. A live drum and synth combo produced by the legendary (at least in my circle of three people) Connie Plank, this track informed industrial music for sure. I just thought it was cool two athletic dudes singing a menacing dance track about Mussolini dressed in leather chaps was cool.
5. Bread - The Best of Bread LP
When I need a real kick in the ass to get going on putting some real effort into offing myself, I throw this on. I know, I know, it violates every sensibility you've had dictated to you by the cognoscenti, and I accept that, but side 1 of this album contains a lot of heartbreak. "Make It With You,"' "If," "Summer Breeze," holy shit, David Gates dedicated his entire musical career to making tracks designed to fulfill one purpose - get chicks by manipulating them emotionally. At least that's how it looks to me, and that's why he is worthy of our respect.
6. Carl Craig - "The Climax" 12" single
I'm hard pressed to nail down one track to hang on my Carl Craig greatest hit hook, but I'm goin' with this one. In many ways, production quality not the least, this thing is a mess. It's pulsating chaos, throbbing gristle, engorged with soul. His Paperclip People tracks are brilliant as well.
7. Lil' Louis - "French Kiss" 12" single
I know, you've heard it a million times at 5am, a House classic, but all that cocaine blinds you to the subtlety of its brilliance. Midway through, the track begins to slow down, and a woman starts moaning, and the moaning becomes more and more passionate and persistent, and the tracks speeds up again, and the truth is Louis was really doing it with some chick in the studio, and they were recording it, and that's what makes this one of the reasons life is ok. This will be cited as a major influence when I find someone willing to do it with me in the studio with the tape rolling - but so far the only takers have been named Steve, Frank, Mike, and Seth.
8. Boney-M - Night Flight To Venus LP
This Italo-Disco classic opens with an intro track bearing the album's title, and it's a countdown to the spaceship taking off on a flight to Venus, at night. Everyone's wearing a space suit and there are big afros on the chicks and futuristic makeup and shit, all that stuff that makes my trousers come to life. A big influence on the first Juan MacLean track, "By The Time I Get To Venus."
9. Throbbing Gristle - "Hot On The Heels of Love" 12"
These people were making punk rock in England in the early 70's, so I'm not so sure what the big deal was when the sophomoric Sex Pistols came along. SEX PISTOLS, ha ha ha ha, Throbbing Gristle were doing 'performances' with this Cosi chick sucking on Genesis's willy for real, totally naked, while others were making an apocalyptic racket of electronic mayhem. I was in love with Cosi for years and years, all she says on this track is "hot on the heels of love," and I would still consider marrying her if she didn't look like Genesis himself. Blood and cum soaked electronics, what could be better?
10. No Trend - Too Many Humans LP
Surely influenced by early Public Image Limited. Completed misanthropic hate rock that make Black Sabbath seem about as heavy as John Tesh. Late seventies, derailed by heavy duty drug problems, and to quote: "Too many fucking humans, you breed like rats, and you're no better."
Contrary to what their name might imply, Doveman is not just one person...but it's not really a band, either. As best I can tell, it's the trickled down songwriting and assembly of New York's Thomas Bartlett, combined with a frequently-shifting collection of friends and collaborators. For the purpose of this list, for example, Bartlett worked together with erstwhile musical mate Sam Amidon. The songs on Doveman's recently released, reasonably revered debut, The Acrobat, hum and coo and mope along at a fairly simlar pace, but each one manages to break free into something completely memorable and uniquely tender. As far as trivia that is neither here nor there, but that is presumably noteworthy to some percentage of Dusted readers, Bartlett is also responsible for Salon.com's Morning Download. The Doveman song featured in its mid-year round-up can be re-downloaded and relived by clicking here?.
1. Miles Davis - Live At The Isle of Wight (on the DVD Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue)
This is the complete set by the Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis band
from the Isle Of Wight rock concert in 1970. This is what it would sound like if aliens came to earth, were allowed to hear 30 seconds of psychedelic rock and funk from the late '60s, given instruments, and were told to form a rock band. They're jazz musicians and not aliens but the results are probably about the same. It's all fantastically chaotic, and then Miles (looking like an alien) inevitably comes in just at the moment things are beginning to coalesce after a period of messiness, and seems to sum up and clarify everything that's gone on in the previous 10 minutes in a few notes.
2. 28-minute albums
We like 28-minute records. There's just something mysteriously, uncannily great about them, like 90-minute movies and 68-degree days. There's Nick Drake's "Pink Moon, of course, and the embrace of Volkswagen and the latte people has done nothing to diminish our love of it. Chris Whitley's Dirt Floor (recorded in a shed in Vermont a few miles from where we grew up) is a 90's answer to Pink Moon, and every bit as good, but with all of poor mopey Nick's genteel pain made sharp and brutal and frightening. And then there's Randy Newman's debut record (Randy Newman Creates Something New Under the Sun), which is just plain bonkers. We like to cover "I Think It's Going To Rain Today."
3. The theme from Totoro
Totoro is an early Miyazaki cartoon, our favorite one of all. It is about a family moving out into the country and trying to deal with having their mother be terminally ill and not able to come home from the hospital. The girls go out into the woods and hang out with this huge animal that roars once in awhile, and stays pretty still the rest of the time and is fuzzy and really cute and plays the ocarina. Not a whole lot else happens. It's a good movie to watch over and over again. Thomas plays the theme melody at least once at every Doveman show. All of Miyazaki's other cartoons are great too, especially Porco Rosso which is about a pig who flies airplanes and gets into fist fights with "air pirates," when he's not drinking wine and listening to the radio at his island hideaway, or designing a new kind of airplane with an old buddy in Italy.
4. Lyle Lovett - The Road to Ensenada
One of the greatest break-up records, and so kind and sweet, like a cup of tea with milk and a hug and a fireplace and all those good cozy things. Sam thinks Lyle Lovett is a very similar artist to Arto Lindsay. No one has ever really been able to figure out why. (Sam says: "They are the two great geniuses of 1999. It's obvious!")
5. Bruce Greene
Our friend Bruce Greene traveled through the mountains of Kentucky in the 1970s and found a bunch of previously unheard old fiddlers who had learned their stuff 60 or 70 years earlier. Now he lives up in the mountains in North Carolina and pretty much lives like the guys he learned from, and in his fiddling is all of their music. He has an amazing solo album called "Five Miles Of Ellum Wood." It is a spare and calm and lonely record and it reminds us of albums like Cat Power's Covers Record, Arthur Doyle's Songwriter series, and Panda Bear's Young Prayer.
There are times when Pulp is the only thing that I (and this is just Thomas writing, because I seem to be alone in the acuteness of my Pulp love) feel like listening to. Specifically two of Pulp's records, Different Class and This Is Hardcore. That grand and twisted dramatic monologue This Is Hardcore, the painfully sweet meta-love song "Something's Changed," the mortality-obsessed hedonistic rant "Help the Aged," the bitter and catchy "A Little Soul" -- these are some of my favorite songs ever, smarter and sadder and funnier than other ones. Yeah, and Jarvis Cocker is cooler than other people. A Touch of Glass (his instrumental glass harmonica project) was awesome, Relaxed Muscle (his dark and hilarious electro-sex band) was better. I eagerly await whatever's next.
7. Kenny Wheeler - Gnu High
The Kenny Wheeler album Gnu High, an acoustic session from the mid '70s with Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette, is one of our favorite jazz albums. Wheeler's improvising is pure melody creation. There are absolutely no licks or riffs clogging things up - he's just singing.
So close to obnoxious and yet so consistently amazing, both on record and in concert, Cocorosie is one of our favorite young bands. It's not just the singing that's extraordinary, it's also the way they use all the samples and found sounds and toys to make such gorgeous and creepily enigmatic tracks. The only thing that could improve Cocorosie right now would be if Cartman joined the band.
9. The RZA - The Wu-Tang Manual
This is our favorite book on music since Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan - it's The RZA's own personal Whole Earth Catalogue. Sample quote: "I look at chess in a metaphysical way. There are sixty-four squares on the board. Throughout Mathematics and throughout history, sixty-four is a deep number. The sixty-four squares are in eight columns, which relates to the eight points of the sun. And 1964 was the year when the Father first came and brought the lessons. Plus, sixty-four squares is similar to the I Ching, which has sixty-four hexagrams total, and the I Ching is how to calculate the universe."
10. Abdullah Ibrahim and Johnny Dyani - Echoes From Africa
Our favorite of the great South African jazz pianist's records -- or maybe just the one we became obsessed with first -- this is a duet with now deceased bassist Johnny Dyani. They sing together on the opening track and on "Sikr," which sounds like a couple of old men singing the sun to sleep. "Saud" is labeled a tribute to McCoy Tyner, but there's a deep and painful sadness to it that Tyner would never be able to express. As an improviser, Ibrahim bypasses much of jazz's complex extended harmonies and chromaticism, and has hit on something perhaps less harmonically advanced, but more visceral and affecting than all but the greatest improvisers. Ibrahim is also, oddly, one of our very favorite saxophonists. If you're skeptical, just get "Banyana" (his greatest trio record), and listen to the sax solo on "Ishmael." Backstage after a concert at the Blue Note, he told Thomas that he would like to cultivate "the kind of customer who goes into a store and says, 'Do you have any of Abdullah Ibrahim's music? I would like a dozen of his records, please.'"
11. Not listening to music
Sam says: after years of living with headphones on any time I left the house, I quit cold turkey last January and haven't engaged in the practice since. For the first week, not only did I notice all the other sounds, but my visual field was going insane as well. Just the appearance of buildings moving by as I walked down the street was enough to keep me mesmerized. No drugs were involved in this experiment, but it sure felt like they were. Since then, things have calmed down, but the desire to walk around while listening to music, once my prime pasttime, has completely left me.
Anyway, give it a try: blast your ears with music from headphones for 10 years, and then take them off for a week. Amazing!
By Dusted Magazine