Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Living legend Robert Wyatt and Swedish rock band The Skull Defekts.
Listed: Robert Wyatt + The Skull Defekts
This week’s Listed feature came about a bit differently than normal. Rather than emailing us his list, Robert Wyatt felt he would rather talk about them. We were overjoyed at the prospect and found Wyatt to be an incredibly affable fellow, as he talked to us via phone while sitting in his sunroom watching passersby. Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, the now iconic English musician played in the influential progressive rock band Soft Machine, released a number of solo albums, and was an integral part of the Canterbury scene. Over the years, he has played with a veritable laundry list of famous musicians, from Pink Floyd to Brian Eno, and many, many more — and he commented that he quite enjoyed that we didn’t ask him about any of that. His answers were warm, and full of personal history and give quite a bit of insight into his legacy of work. Any time Robert Wyatt wants to sit around and talk about jazz and classical records, we’re all ears.
1. Danny Kaye with Victor Young and his concert orchestra - Tubby The Tuba
When I was young, we had 12” 78s that we called an album. My parents bought this for me, and I found it enchanting. Danny Kaye is one of the greats, and this is a funny and extraordinary story for children.
2. Sergei Prokofiev - Peter & The Wolf
Prokofiev was a European 20th Century composer who was a very serious, great composer. This is another children’s story. What’s striking is that the narration takes you through it.
3. Igor Stravinksy - Soldier’s Tale
Stravinsky wrote this song for a stripped-down orchestra, and it was essentially written for someone (a trumpet player) who couldn’t really play. I thought the album art was great when I was little. You’ll notice that storybooks that children like to read also have pictures, and the mixed media guide was directly related to the music.
4. Duke Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder
My dad was a modern classical fan, and Such Sweet Thunder which is based on Shakespeare, is the last piece of music that my father and I enjoyed together before I went off to other things. It’s deconstructed sonnets with double bass and trombone. Very brief; perfect little jewels.
5. Bartok - Concerto for 2 Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra
Bartok is interesting. He went to the states and disappeared into the woodwork. (This piece) is odd for classical music when you’re used to domestic capo. It’s either Turkish or Iranian with dark and dazzling colors, and has an extraordinary variety of textures.
6. Miles Davis - Birth Of The Cool
My older brother Mark brought home jazz records — modern jazz. Birth Of The Cool was Miles with Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis and Gil Evans and neither a big nor a small band. It was painted textures so translucent that you can see it. They were kids really, and to get this good this quick … well, shame on the rest of us. The ‘50s is my decade as a listener. As a young Englishman, we formed Beat Groups; that’s what we did. A lot of rock musicians have backgrounds that are hated by (fans) of rock n’ roll.
7. Gil Evans - Out Of The Cool
Beautiful music, especially the John Benson Brooks track “When Flamingos Fly.” The trumpet player Little Johnny Coles was the most perfect trumpet player. He was more nervous than Davis, with a real poignancy. It was the “mood” use of instruments, taking off from Ellington.
8. Charlie Mingus - Ah Um
If I could listen to just one person, I would pick the entire work by Charlie Mingus. From Mingus on through to Roland Kirk guarantees excitement and sensuousness. Joni Mitchell did a nice rendition of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.”
9. Sonny Rollins - Alfie
Alfie is a movie about a man who can’t keep his penis in his pants. It’s a light-weight film, but the music was very heavy weight and absolutely wonderful. Burt Bacharach wrote the theme, but Sonny Rollins plays on it a lot. My wife’s name is Alfie.
10. Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin
I once heard her voice described as sounding like burnt newspaper, which is a brilliant metaphor. I wanna sing like that, but it’s not the way it comes out of my mouth. I can try, though. She’s nothing like Nina Simone — she’s an aristocrat, and only one person can sing like that. My wife always asks why I don’t write more music you can dance to. It doesn’t come out like that. I have no control.
The Skull Defekts
We’re breaking lots of Listed conventions here this week. Much like Wyatt’s integral involvement in the Canterbury scene, the Skull Defekts seem to have their hands in an unimaginably long list of projects at home in their native Sweden. For a country known for its for twee-indie-pop and death metal, these guys are neither. For their list this week, Daniel Fagge Fagerström and Joachim Nordwall present to us a list of their influences (musical and non) from the Swedish scene.
1. Coca Cola 3
This band is like a sparkling neon tumbleweed, picking up that sleaze from early 90s first person shooter-gaming, combining it with Snakefinger-style guitar and frantic pitched voices. Live they are nothing you could ever imagine. Their inspiring label Flacon Recording, carries that name cuz it rhymes with Bacon. Simple.
2. Ectoplasm Girls
Occult drone pop or whatever. These two sisters from Stockholm make some of the best deep pop experience imaginable. The band was formed to communicate with their dead mother. Forget witchhouse. This is for real.
Master of patience, Wåhlstrand is an artist that works on her piece for years and years. All being replicas of old b/w family photos. Detailed and mind expanding at it’s least.
3. Dungeon Acid
Dungeon Acid is Jean-Louis of The Skull Defekts. He has done techno stuff for twenty years or so and this, his new project, is just killing the rest of us. Intense beat magic with traces of old skool techno and acid in it. Makes you want to find a dance floor, right now!!! Simply amazing.
4. Bänken (The Bench)
This publication, or actual poster, is a work of the Pasadena Design Studio. One public bench in one city is chosen, closely guarded, and the first person to sit on that bench will be fully interrogated. This life story is then interpreted, massacred and reinvented by artists, musicians and writers. And a new issue of Bänken is born. Chance and terrificness in a mix.
5. Nightzone Tapes
A lot can be said about Nightzone Tapes. Simply it’s the output of one Johan Öhman Sollin, releasing wonderful stuff from Egypt cyberpunks, Sphynxs, cosmic horror master Time Deleters and gym-sequenced Roland Horst.
6. Sewer Election
It does not get any filthier than this. You need showers after listening to this. Maybe even baths. Simply got to love his noise, man.
7. Altar of Flies
This is our good friend Mattias. He came with us on the last European tour we did. Super nice guy and it was a blessing to experience him live every single night. Tape loops, analog synths and effects - performed with power and energy! True entertainment.
8. Helena Franzén
A choreographer and dancer that has collaborated with both Huhta and Fagerström of The Skull Defekts. Her solo-pieces explore the minimalism and magic of the human mind, making it seem scary, wonderful and brain-melting.
9. Lust for Youth
This good looking lady/gentleman duo is doing it wrong in the right way. It seems like the music is being recorded, then something is done to the master. Something nasty. The sound is amazing. No hi-fi action here what so ever. Some might call parts of what they do cold wave but we know better. This is just sick in a good way.
By Dusted Magazine