Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Musician and festival curator Rafael Anton Irisarri and pianist Keith Kenniff.
Listed: The Sight Below + Goldmund
The Sight Below
Rafael Anton Irisarri is a neo classical composer also known as the main force behind shoegaze electronic-drone act The Sight Below. Through the use of methodically applied layers of reverb and effects, Irisarri is able to create dense works of minimalist cinematic sound. Last September, he one again co-curated the impressive Decibel Festival, an electronic music festival in Seattle.
1. Cocteau Twins - The Pink Opaque (4AD, 1985)
This was a compilation that came out when the band signed an international distribution agreement and was released to give Americans exposure to their early catalog. It contains some of my favorite songs by them, including the exclusive track “Millimillenary.” Also in here: “Lorelei” (off the Treasure album), “The Spangle Maker” and “Hitherto.“ Deserted island selection for me.
2. Arvo Pärt - Tabula Rasa (ECM, 1984)
“Fratres” is performed by 12 cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on this release — enough said.
3. The Cure - Faith (Fiction, 1981)
While most people will say Pornography or Disintegration are the best Cure albums ever, I have to always point to the songs “All Cats Are Grey” and “Charlotte Sometimes” (released as a single, but from their Faith sessions, later included with the 2005 reissue). To me this is their best work. It is bleak, cold and detached. The production is perhaps some of the best in their entire career — a very effective cross of acoustic and electronic instruments to create a very powerful feeling, like the world collapsing around you and you couldn’t care less. My first drift into the dark arts.
4. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (Factory, 1979)
Martin Hannett’s production aesthetic was legendary. If you listen closely to ‘Disorder,” the opening track on this album, you can hear him manipulating the AMS delay unit to create the background’s lush sound. There’s also some great pitch-shifting tape delay thing on the vocal track for “She’s Lost Control.” These tiny details, along with the lyrics and Ian’s vocal delivery is what makes this album for me. Huge influence for sure.
5. Augustus Pablo - East of River Nile (Message, 1978)
Mixed by King Tubby, this is my favorite dub record ever. The tracks “Natural Dub” and “Chant to King Selassie I” are epic. I think every person should own a copy of this album.
6. The Chameleons UK - Script of the Bridge (Geffen, 1983)
The Chameleons are one of my favorite bands of all time. They came from one of the best musical towns in the world: Manchester. This first full-length album from 1983 is an absolute gem. Unfortunately for Mark & Co., their music went fairly unnoticed by the masses, the sign of a true genius…
7. Slowdive - Souvlaki (Creation, 1993)
I’ve been listening to Slowdive since I was a teen. They provided a soundtrack for those miserable years (jocks, broken hearts, loss and loneliness). Not only one of my favorite bands, but also quite influential in my early musical development. FWD 15 years later and I’m working with Simon Scott, who was their drummer during this period. Life takes unexpected turns.
8. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Creation, 1991)
The first time I heard MBV, it was one of those life-defining moments. Not only did it change the way I play the guitar, but it also re-contextualized the way I viewed music in general. I remember listening to “Only Shallow” and thinking to myself: “I do not know what makes that elephant sound, but I want to play that!”
9. Kraftwerk - Die Mensch-Machine (Phillips, 1978)
From the El Lissitzky-inspired artwork, to the iconic cover photo, this album had a huge impact on me. I love the lines in Russian: "Я твой слуга" (Ya tvoi sluga, I’m your servant) and "Я твой работник" (Ya tvoi rabotnik, I’m your worker). That arpeggio-LFO thing at the beginning of “Spacelab” is brilliant stuff. I love the distinct melodic context and sound — in Wolfgang Flür ‘s own words: "we were children who were born straight after World War II ... we had no musical or pop culture of our own ... there was the war, and before the war we had only the German folk music. In the 1920s or 1930s melodies were developed and these became culture that we worked from.” That’s some pretty heavy stuff.
10. Talk Talk - Laughing Stock (Vertigo, 1991)
Talk Talk’s fifth and final studio album (and their masterpiece IMHO). This album is like the post-rock bible. “Ascension Day” is an incredibly lovely song, with great dynamics, production and sounds. Ironically, like everything great, it was virtually ignored when released in 1991.
11. Brian Eno & Harold Budd - Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (EG Editions, 1980)
My introduction to ambient music and a life-changing album for me. I finally got to see saw Harold perform live (with Robin Guthrie) in 2006 here in Seattle. After all those years, the wait was more than worth it. What a lovely concert! I finally met Harold in 2007 when I booked him for Decibel Festival (and have kept in touch with him ever since). Later that year, Harold sent me a brief thank you note, which said “very nice indeed” (referencing to my Daydreaming album, which I had given him earlier). I couldn’t have been happier or more fulfilled.
Working primarily in the fields of film and television, composer Keith Kenniff, who also works under the names Goldmund and Helios, melds the worlds of modern classical and left field electronics. One of Kenniff’s first forays into electronic music, was the album Unomia, released in 2004 under the name Helios, on the IDM label Merck Records. As Goldmund, he has put out four releases of solo piano music on Type Records and Western Vinyl. His music as Goldmund, and under his own name, has been featured in many films, such as Mister Lonely by indie filmmaker Harmony Korine and can be heard regularly on programs produced by NPR and the BBC.
1. Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children
This album was instrumental in helping me find a certain sound I was looking for both as a listener and also as a composer. I think as an album it works extremely well from beginning to end, I never skip over tracks. It has defined a lot of experiences in my life.
2. Tom Recchion - Chaotica
I remember finding this album by accident and I heard samples on some website long ago. I drooled over them for many months before I was able to track down a physical copy. The quality of the recordings are really warm and lo-fi, but beautiful and haunting. It is experimental music, but not cold and often times with a sense of humor, which is often hard to find.
3. Howard Skempton - Well, Well Cornelius
Beautiful short piano pieces, minimal but warm and human, playful but dense. Wonderfully interpreted by John Tilbury.
4. The Innocence Mission - Birds of My Neighborhood
One of the most underrated bands of our time. Beautifully crafted folk songs, great musicianship, simple arrangements and a nice flow as an album. Makes me proud to be from their hometown.
5. Biosphere - Subtrata
The best ambient album of all time. Cold, dark, beautiful and unique. If you haven´t heard it by now, you should.
6. Photek - Modus Operandi
Wow, this album blew me away when I first heard it and I still listen to it at least once a week since it was originally released in 1998. Wonderful minimal drum ‘n’ bass production, the definition of cold and stark. His palate of sounds is also minimal, so as an album I feel the tracks really flow and sound cohesive. Lots of people have tried to copy and no one gets close.
7. Thomas Newman - Shawshank Redemption OST
Everyone who watches movies knows Thomas Newman, even if you don’t realize it. He has done so many film scores, but what I like overall is that his approach has always been very dramatically ambient. You will hear a lot of different, almost homemade, instrumentation, loops and beautifully crafted drones and ambient soundscapes on all of his film scores. His piano writing is delicate and almost never betrays a pianississmo dynamic. Shawshank was the first score of his I really paid attention to, and I think it serves the film so well.
8. Minor Threat - Out Of Step
The most aggressive and raw album I can think of. As a young boy of 11 or 12 a family friend first gave me this tape and it opened my eyes. From that time on, all throughout my teens I wanted to be this band. Ian MacKaye´s vocals were so unrestrained and the music so defined my angst growing up. My first visit to Washington D.C. was on a school field trip and I listened to the tape four times in a row.
9. Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary
Sunny Day Real Estate was one of those bands that I feel had a quality to them that was all their own. They may have spawned a ton of terrible emo bands and maybe helped coin the phrase, but their music affected me deeply. Raw and powerful, delicate and intricate chord progressions, and an unbelievable voice on Jeremy Enigk. Their entire discography is great, and Enigk´s solo material continues their legacy.
10. Roy Harris - Symphony No. 7
When I first heard this symphony it was about the only thing I listened to for a week straight. Beautifully dense and thick chord writing, disjointed but not inaccessible melodies, great orchestration between the brass and strings. Powerful stuff.
By Dusted Magazine