Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: German producer Thomas Brinkmann and Brah bar band Company.
Listed: Thomas Brinkmann + Company
Thomas Brinkmann has long been the malcontent of German techno. The most experimental man in Cologne started out remixing Richie Hawtin and producing dub minimalism along the lines of Pole and the Basic Channel crew, best exhibited on 2000’s Rosa. But Brinkmann seemed uncomfortable playing with archetypes from the get-go. He branched out to funk and R&B under the moniker Soul Center, got all avant-garde on Japan’s capital with Tokyo + 1, and then started to experiment with vocals on Lucky Hands. After a date with a pinball machine on Klick Revolution, the genre's elder statesman spoke - literally. When Horses Die features Brinkmann singing on most tracks, which sounds nothing less like techno and more like late-period Coil. (And please, no comparisons to Asa Breed. Sounds nothing like it.) When Horses Die hit stores this Monday on Brinkmann’s own label, Max Ernst, and we’ll have a formal review of it next week. For now, here’s Brinkmann’s contribution to our Listed series.
1. Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
As the first record of a guy who became very important for me…
2. The Bar-Kays - "Holy Ghost"
My all-time disco favorite. Such a deep and simple funk. It’s a masterpiece.
3. Trouble Funk - Drop the Bomb
I saw them live in Düsseldorf, playing Trans Europe Express, while Florian Schneider stood next to me at the back wall, far away from the crowd I miss this craziness in today’s hip hop. Sexy motherfuckers – put your right hand in the air, put your left down in the underwear…
4. Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk
As the first of all this freaky stuff they did.
5. Can - Monster Movie
Like Kraftwerk, but even more "rock.” Such hypnotic vocals from Damo Suzuki.
6. Wattstax - The Living Word
My Soul Center roots are close to The Temptations / Berry Gordy Motown shit like 1990.
7. The Mothers - Fillmore East: June 1971
”The Muds Shark”’s story telling next to “Happy Together” and “Tears Began To Fall” … I still love it.
8. Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
Instead of Future Shock. For me, that had already taken place with this record.
9. Einstürzende Neubauten - Die Hamletmaschine
Unfortunatly for the Anglo-Saxon world, it’s all in German, but there are few records I’ve listened so many times during the ’80s. Gudrun Gut performed stunningly as Ophelia next to Blixa’s spoken words … "Ich will eine maschine sein" … I wanna be a machine. The play’s author, Heiner Muller, was the German equivalent of Mr. Warhol.
10. Igor Stravinsky - Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) (Seiji Ozawa, Conductor)
I have to mention one classic record, cause I’m deeply in love with this sound and Stravinsky is incredible funky.
The Brooklyn-based band Company evolved out of a miasma of folk, punk, and psychedelic elements in 2001, when its denizens haunted the legendary East Village bar Nine-C in an ongoing residency. Here Company made sounds removed from the contemporary musical main street that defied past categorization. "Folk rock is the label closest to Company's sound, but their rock references are more Clash, Joy Division, and Meat Puppets than '60s California," Pat Sullivan wrote in Index magazine, attempting to sum it up. He added, "Company derive their musical muscle from the folk side of the formula." Their debut record, Parallel Time, and their new release, Old Baby are both on the Oneida-curated and Jagjaguwar-affiliated Brah Records. It's not an easy website to find, so here's a link to their Myspace page.
1. Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show - Musikladen Live (DVD)
A mind-blowing document of a New Jersey bar band (conducted by one wild, eye-patched, pink-long-underwear-clad Alabaman) rolling through a highly intoxicated and inspired set of hilarious Shel Silverstein penned tunes on European late night television sometime in the 1970s. Their radio hits “Sylvia's Mother” and “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’” are presented alongside the otherwise unavailable gem “Cops 'N Robbers” and an incredibly emotional version of their single “Carry Me, Carrie.” This band of colorful characters walks the thin line between ridiculously tight and totally out of control. Microphones are draped with bandanas, towels are puked in, fine stage banter is spoken, a “triple yodel” is performed, and it's all topped off by one of the most unusual and dramatic guitar solos you're likely to witness. All in all, it is the greatest live performance ever. (DJ)
2. The Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1
Prog rocker-turned-producer Jeff Lynne brought this brotherhood of the traveling guitars together almost by accident. (Petty reportedly only joined in because Harrison had left his guitar at his house.) It’s a meeting of giants with a sense of humor. The Wilburys coauthored the songs in an appealingly slapdash fashion. Everyone gets a verse and there are plenty to go around and all the songs sort of roll into one anyway. This joyful collaboration is even more precious given how rare it is. (AD)
3. Amy Winehouse - “Back to Black” (from Back to Black)
When I love what everyone loves I am filled with hope. Could a song have more drama or intrigue? I was shown the video by friends in New Bedford, MA, and I can't shake it. High-heeled singing over big-booted bass drum, defiant tambourine, convincing piano, and soap-opera strings, she focuses on one note and we can count the two-syllable words in the song on two hands. Her voice grabs onto the perfect part of each lyric. Amy Winehouse warrants internet plagiarizing; i luff u amy u r gr8 i luff the song n i luff u (SR)
4. Bob Dylan - Shot of Love
Secretly, this may be Bob Dylan's best album. To understand that, you have to do a complicated equation that involves production sound, whimsicality, sincerity, and Bob Dylan-ness. As he emerges from his deep involvement in being born again, Bob retains his Christian commitment to morality and philosophy, but begins to crack the edifice of certainty with some early-’80s doubt and trembling. The only album that would ever put a song called “Property of Jesus” next to a song called “Lenny Bruce.” (CT)
5. Richard & Linda Thompson - Pour Down Like Silver
Like Dylan’s born-again releases, this is a religious rock album that holds up in spite of itself. While Dylan made gospel his own, the Thompsons’ conversion to Sufism finds its expression in meditative and vaguely eastern British folk rock. There’s a somber, ascetic feel to it. Nerds will be happy to note that Sufism hasn’t hampered Richard’s virtuosic guitar work. For me, it doesn’t get any better than “For Shame of Doing Wrong,” which manages to build without changing measurably. Angular riffs sputter alongside an accordion over a steady beat as Richard and Linda sing their sad love. Look no further for proof that what’s good for God is good for us, too. I’ll take what He’s having. (AD)
6. Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged 2.0
A majestic and stark document of meltdown, beauty, and the overwhelming responsibility of human-ness. Not as accessible as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but full up again with her intensity and power. I would vote for her for emperor. Again, a religious album. One might have hoped some of these people would have become communists instead. (CT)
7. Leonard Cohen - “Because Of” (from Dear Heather)
Here Leonard Cohen re-frames all of the songs he ever sang about women. The record is filled with saxophones and questionable guest vocal artists but you will listen to it over and over again and forget, then forgive, then embrace every decision he made on Dear Heather. A lumbering yet light-dancing 6/8 and a well-aged thoughtful whisper are irresistible. If only we could all write such a song looking back on a life sung away. . . listen close, try it driving in the car at night, think of all the time he's given YOU. (SR)
8. Mary J. Blige (with U2) - “One”
I never particularly liked this song but Blige truly makes it her own, stealing it right out from under Bono’s nose as if to say, “That’s not heartbreak. Watch and learn.” This version is the antithesis of the deadpan “One” Johnny Cash recorded for American. Her singing is so over the top it would be ridiculous if it weren’t so convincing. She reshapes the melody to create the perfect form for the song’s lyrical content and rides it to the very limits of vocal performance. I’m not too proud to say that I truly get the tingles and choke up every time I hear it. (AD)
9. John Jacob Niles - I Wonder As I Wander
Niles soars to ridiculously heavenly heights with his holy falsetto voice, which sometimes unleashes a low growl of almost sinful laughter. His wicked version of “Froggy Went A-Courtin'“ always makes me laugh, his songs about the little baby Jesus betray the tenderness behind insane American effeminate masculinity, and his originals like “Go ’Way From My Window” are a deep inspiration of beauty. (CT)
10. Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell - El Corazón
Amidst the cold, dark new age/world/fusion wasteland of the 1980s ECM catalog lies this minor masterpiece of sensual simplicity. Both players are subtle and tasteful on a number of instruments in their loose, cozy duets, but Blackwell's marching band meets free-jazz drumming is the heart of the album. The collaborations give him the space to lead and shape the arrangements in a way you don't hear in his work in Ornette's quartets or elsewhere. Raw, open and evolving, Cherry and Blackwell’s interplay stands as major landmark on my map of musical relations. (DJ)
By Dusted Magazine