Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Kosmiche producer Arp and electro-pop songstress Caroline.
Listed: Arp + Caroline
Arp is the most recent project of Alexis Georgopoulos, a San Francisco-based artist, writer and musician brought up in France, Greece and the United States. As a founding member of rhythmic experimentalists Tussle (Troubleman/Smalltown Supersound) and improvising collective The Alps (Digitalis/Root Strata), Alexis has toured the world and released critically acclaimed work. Alexis has composed music for sound installations; curated art programs; written on Visual Art, Design and Music for international Arts & Culture publications such as i-D, The Blow Up, Tokion and The Guardian; taken part in various avant-garde workshops; and had numerous deejay residencies.
Their debut record, In Light, is out now and will be followed shortly by a 12" single with remixes by Panda Bear and the 70`s legendary kraut masters Cluster. Arp has also recently delivered a remix for Lindstrom (to be released on a 12” on his Feedelity label) and Charlotte Gainsbourg to be released by Vice Records.
1. Franco Battiato - Clic and Pollution (Island)
Most Italians know him for his awful hits in the ’80s, when he blew up (in Italy only) with some horrible synth papp. But in the heart of avant-garde '70s, he made a few incredible albums that combined pastoral space rock, kosmische-influenced minimalism and musique concréte to fantastic ends. Fetus is often considered his best. But for me, it's Clic and Pollution, the former betters Tangerine Dream by a lot, the latter being a perfect cross between Faust, pre-Dark Side Floyd and Cerrone.
2. Kraftwerk - Ralf & Florian (Phillips)
One of my favorite morning records; I love listening to it first thing. All Kraftwerk is fantastic but for me, the first three albums - before they became robots - are my favorite. Who knew it was all about hippies with synthesizers who had a sense of pop whimsy and no sense of posturing?
3. Serge Gainsbourg & Jean-Claude Vannier - Cannabis and Ce sacré grand-père (Phillips)
The film, starring Jane Birkin (Gainsbourg's amour du jour), may not exactly be a work of art. But I can't get enough of the soundtrack. Just what you'd imagine from the team responsible for Gainsbourg's masterpiece L'Histoire de Melody Nelson (Vannier did the arrangements) and Vannier's Insolitudes. The title-track has one of the best twin-guitar leads this side of Thin Lizzy.
4. Jards Macalé - Jards Macalé (Phillips)
Pitched between two of my favorite Brazilian albums - the Joyce & Nelson Angelo album and Caetano Veloso's Transa - this has been a favorite of recent times. Macalé actually worked on arrangements for Transa and there's definitely a link. It's from 1972, and you can hear that. There's more distance from bossa nova and the fuzzed-out Beatles influence of Tropicalia. Instead, Macalé drifts, then hits hard with an amazing sort of Can-esque/acoustic Samba funk with one of the best rhythm sections I've ever heard.
5. Iasos - Inter-Dimensional Music (Unity)
Don't know much about this private press record. I think the fantastic Japanese label Em reissued it recently. But it's pretty much what you wish all New Age jams sounded like. Sort of makes me think of Alice Coltrane or Ariel Kalma or Fripp & Eno's Evening Star but doesn't really sound like either. The sleeve is also amazing.
6. Group Inerane - Guitars From Agadez (Sublime Frequencies)
I first saw Group Inerane play live during the last 15 minutes of the Sublime Frequencies DVD Niger: Magic & Ecstasy in the Sahel, though I didn't know it at the time. The DVD, worth seeing at the very least because of their appearance, focuses on Taureg musicians (Tinariwen and Tartit are other fantastic Taureg groups). I was overjoyed when I realized this LP was the same band. Some of the most ecstatic, blown out trance-jams I've heard in a minute.
7. George Harrison - Wonderwall (Apple)
Hmmm... the second soundtrack to a second awful movie starring Jane Birkin... Oh well. This was the first solo album credited to Harrison (though he actually doesn't play on it!). Recorded while still in the Beatles, you can hear when it might've been recorded. Sitars are everywhere, as are fuzzed-out & backwards guitars, autoharps and harpsichords, all with a healthy dose of studio experimentation. "Party Seacombe,” "Dream Scene" and "Ski-ing" are my faves.
8. Takehisa Kosugi - Catch Wave (Vivid Sound)
Kosugi was in Taj Mahal Travelers, the great Japanese band from late ’60s who played shows almost exclusively outdoors and were associated with Fluxus. Catch Wave is two long violin pieces with electronics. Pretty mind bending.
9. D*I*R*T*Y Crew
The enigmatic Pilooski and crew have given Lovefingers a run for their blog-money. The Parisian crew, aside from compiling the excellent Dirty Space Disco for Tigersushi, also post all sorts of rare stuff on their blog (www.alainfinkielkrautrock.com), as well as Pilooski's brilliant edits. Expect great things.
10. Mick Ronson - Only After Dark (Warner)
As far as I know, Slaughter on 10th Avenue was the only album by Bowie's best guitarist and left-hand man - who also played on Dylan's ruling Rolling Thunder Revue (here’s "It Ain't Me Babe" on YouTube). It's a patchy, occasionally brilliant album but it's really all about "Only After Dark" - hands down my favorite song to put on before going out. Human League also does a great version.
Caroline Lufkin is probably known in Japan as the younger sister of J-Pop star Olivia Lufkin. But on these coasts, or at least on American blogs, she’s far more famous than her sis (and photographer). She goes simply by her first name, often eliciting a bad Neil Diamond pun. And there’s no denying it – Caroline’s electro-pop ditties are by all means sweet, providing confectionary concoctions for the Morr Music set. Her song “Where’s My Love,” more bittersweet than saccharine, was one of the more poignant laments of 2007. Caroline released her debut full-lengthm Murmurs, last year on Temporary Residence, and packaged together an exclusive album of remixes for iTunes last month. She took some time over the holiday break to compose this week’s Listed.
1. Air - Talkie Walkie (Astralwerks)
This one reminds me of my 5 a.m. walk-abouts in Tokyo. Finally, the city is rested when I throw this on. Talkie Walkie is very spacious and simple, contrasting what Tokyo offers. It gave me room - widening the paths, lowering and pushing back buildings. Eerie, lonely, and content, as my Tokyo music-making habits transformed me, Talkie Walkie related to my hermit life-style. I bet Air must have spent some time in Tokyo. listen to "Run.” Sounds like an alien critter shifting through the streets of Tokyo. Eerie and cute. I love it.
2. Mice Parade – Mice Parade (Fat Cat)
OK, I must admit, at first, this one got tons of playtime out of necessity. Being their new vocalist, I had to learn their new songs for their USA & Asia tour, which started within two weeks. Yikes! In the beginning, I was way too nervous to know how I felt about anything. As shows went on, and heart rate slowed down, I began to hear individual parts, and how it all fit together. Busy busy busy guitar, rumbling electric distortion, the loudest drums you will ever hear come out of a man, soaring vibe lines, intricate keyboard parts, etc., etc., etc., thrown up all at once (everyone drunk as can be, might I add.). Somehow manages to create something perfect. Singing "Double Dolphins on a Nickel" is magic. These guys are magic. They spoil me.
3. Animal Collective – Feels (FatCat)
"I gotta big big big heartbeat yah!" … "Let's take our shoes off and unwind…" I dance in the kitchen to this one! Jeremy, my label owner, enlightened me with Feels the week we met for the first time at SXSW a couple years back. and until this day, it's one of my favorites. Every song includes an out-of-this-world element. For example, "Bees" has the strangest vocal effect about four minutes into the song. Who does that? Fun fun fun album. Well-balanced, too.
4. Clark - Body Riddle (Warp)
I consider Chris Clark the king of electronic music. Only masterpieces come out of this guy. But, apparently Clark (without the Chris) creates electronic masterpieces but with an added swirl of warm, humanized layers. “Herr Bar,” “Herzog,” “Dew on the Mouth” and “Vengeance Drools” are among my favorites. His sound-designing is beautifully balanced, loud, but not piercing, warm, but with full energy and heavy dynamics. On top of that, his melodies and their harmonies couldn't be more perfect.
5. Johann Johannsson - IBM 1401, A User's Manual (4AD)
Its single, “The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Turned Black,” sucked me in. Soon after, I found out the incredible background story. In the early ’70s, Johansson’s father, who worked for IBM, figured out a way to make the computer (to make a long story short and to put in simple terms) play sounds and melodies. Johann later found some of his father's recordings and used it on this album! OK, now imagine these electronic sounds mixed with orchestrations. Such a gorgeous contrast. It's more beautiful than you can imagine.
6. Cocteau Twins
I don't know what album I love the most. To tell you the truth, I don't know what song is on what album. There are so many songs out there. They've been releasing music since I was 1 year old. Amazing! For some time now, I’ve been listening to them. But, all of the sudden, now I am obsessed. Maybe I’ve exhausted my ears with diatonic pop melodies. while, with every play of Cocteau Twins, I am introduced to something new- interesting rhythmically and melodically.
7. Mew – Frengers (Sony)
The best pop rock music! There's not much to say. Jonas’s cute voice. Solid band. Great songs. I never miss a Mew show around these parts. I’ll be the one dancing fanatically in the front row. Think I’m joking?
8. Murcof – Martes (Leaf)
This one I found, in my brother's room. I threw on some cupped headphones and listened to it as I fell asleep. Dark sounds phasing & panning me to sleep. Not recommended, unless you're into nightmares. Boy, were the sounds creepy and crisp. Strings for haunting and swaying you one way, then a short jolting high frequency to wake you. Impressive balance of frequencies. Even within the percussive sounds, there's a wide range of frequencies, tastefully placed. Moving, but not rapid, electronic beats echoing, making sure there's enough space.
9. Blonde Redhead - Misery is a Butterfly (4AD)
I should be their promoter. I must have introduced this album to millions who loved it to pieces. Obviously the songwriting and production is amazing. but, I’d like to take the opportunity to comment on the drummer. I can't put my finger on why, but, he's my favorite. Perhaps it's because he is a metronome that doesn't overpower the vocals. and surely, I’m jealous that Kazu's voice fits so nicely with his sound. Anyway, back to album talk… before this album, Blonde Redhead was awesomely loud and Sonic Youth-ish. This one is calm, allowing their musicality to surface.
10. Prints – Prints (Temporary Residence)
Labelmates have surprised us all. Feel-awesome album here! This is L.A. driving music – to feel AWESOME even when you're bumper-to-bumper and an hour late to your destination. Most rock albums these days sound plastic. This record feels like it was released in the early ’90s, when rock sounded real.
By Dusted Magazine