Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Brooklyn revivalists Cult of Youth and Polish composer Michael Jacaszek.
Listed: Cult of Youth + Jacaszek
Cult of Youth
In the last three years, Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Sean Ragon has taken Cult of Youth from the obscurity of homespun self-released CD-Rs to the prominence of Dais and Sacred Bones releases and touring in support of Zola Jesus. The one-time Love As Laughter bassist was initially inspired by the post-industrial scene of his youth, and traces of it can be found in Cult of Youth’s latest self-titled full-length out now on Sacred Bones. The self-titled record marks the first time Ragon joined by his full band: violinist Christiana Key, drummer Glen Maryanski, and bassist Micki Pellerano.
1. Crass - Stations Of The Crass
Easily my favorite album of all time. I first got a CD copy back around 1995, and I used to sit in my room and listen to it over and over while following along with the lyrics sheet. There is so much content here (musically, conceptually, artistically, and politically) that I can still come back to it after all these years and get new things out of it. A true masterpiece.
2. Stravinski - Rite Of Spring (as performed by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez)
This is another one that’s like a bottomless well. I heard this for the first time when I was in music school studying classical theory back around 2000. The composition and organization is so special and unparalleled that I can’t even get over it. A perfect balance of academics, emotions, and primal rhythms set to the theme of pagan festivities. It was truly groundbreaking work when it was first performed almost a hundred years ago, and although the mythology of the premiere of this work causing riots has been disproven, Stravinski’s Rite Of Spring still stands as one of the most innovative works of 20th century classical music. I have been known to sing along to my favorite parts Beavis & Butthead style ("dant dant dant") when no one is around!
3. Nový Svět - Venezia
Between running a record store, having to get new stuff together to DJ all the time, and just being an obsessive music lover, I’m always listening to records with an agenda of sorts. When I’m tired of everything and I just want to relax and put on something purely for my own enjoyment, this record is at the top of my pile. Possibly the greatest post-industrial record of all time. It was pretty limited I think (like 300 copies or something) and it came out 10 years ago, but well worth picking up a copy if you can find one. Don’t really know what to say about these guys. They were a group of Viennese futurists active from the late ‘90s until a few years ago when the project was terminated. Despite being from Austria, they sang almost exclusively in Spanish and left behind a trail of unique, special, and truly bizarre recordings. Although they do have a devoted niche following, their legacy is shamefully overlooked. They rank among the greats in my book.
4. Forset - Jenzig
Simple, dignified, and beautiful German neofolk. There is no pseudo-fascist posturing, military samples, or angry guy yelling in the Hitler voice here. Just timeless and romantic songs about nature; awe inspiring in their somber tranquility.
5. Einstürzende Neubauten - Silence Is Sexy/Haus Der Luge
Couldn’t decide between these two records, so I put them both! I saw Neubauten for the first time during the Silence Is Sexy tour. At the time I was working at a pizza place and I had to work the night of the show. The owner of the shop was out that night, but his brother was there delivering pizzas. Right when he left to deliver a round of pizzas I ran out the back door and jumped into my buddy’s car and we booked it to the show. I saw their entire set (soooooo good) and got dropped off back at the pizza spot. My friends that worked there with me told me that the boss’ brother came back once and asked where I was and they told him I was on break and he just said "oh" and went about his business. The perfect crime!
6. The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud - The Smell Of Blood But Victory (2xCD version)
This was the final release from Albin and Alzbeth, and can almost be looked at as a transitionary release bridging the gap between TMLHBAC and Der Blutharsch. The theme of the music had changed from medieval to a dark WWII soundscape, and although there were bands like Laibach that had come before, this to me should be looked at as one of the first and finest examples of a martial industrial record. Get the 2xCD version if you can, since the extra CD is excellent!
7. Born Against - Nine Patriotic Hymns
When I was 13 years old I had a friend that moved to my city from a few states over. We would get stoned and ride skateboards and do all the other stupid things that kids did. He had an older cousin that ran a punk distro out in California that would sometimes send him CDs in the mail. One day he came to me and said that he got a CD from his cousin but it was too weird for him and he asked if I wanted it. I said sure, and I took it home. That CD was The Rebel Sound Of Shit And Failure by Born Against and it changed everything.
8. The Ex - History Is What’s Happening
It’s hard to pick an album by this longstanding Dutch band, so I just picked the first one I ever heard. What can you really say about a band that’s been active and totally DIY for over three decades that is still putting out original and quality releases that rank among the best of their back catalog? I guess the same qualifier applies to Einstürzende Neubauten and I just dodged the question by talking about sneaking out of my pizza job. Whatever. Just pick an album at random and start there if you haven’t heard these guys. I know if sounds crazy, but every single one is good!
9. John Coltrane - Giant Steps
I know that A Love Supreme is regarded as his masterpiece and all that, but there’s something about Giant Steps that I just could never shake. Probably the greatest bebop record of all time. These days I’ve been revisiting and rethinking a lot of the music theory I studied way back when. Re-listening to an album like this shocks me. The real strength of this album is that it packs so much complex theory information but comes off sounding accessible and enjoyable to the untrained ear, making it so much more than a mere example of jazzbo masturbation. I could only dream of making a record this good.
10. Mueran Humanos - Mueran Humanos
Is it against the rules to list records that I’ve released on my own label? I put this thing out because I love it, and since I didn’t have a hand in creating it (outside of some layout/design work) you can count me as a superfan! These guys are from Argentina, but they currently live in Berlin. They are a couple and they sing and play music together. They play synths and guitars and they both sing in Spanish. Their music conveys a South American sexiness with a sense of the futuristic spirit of Berlin where they now reside. They have made a perfect record for the new decade that should be loved by music fans of all backgrounds.
Michael Jacaszek, or simply Jacaszek as he is more commonly known, is a Polish composer that uses electronic and acoustic sounds to further the boundaries of modern classical music. Jacaszek’s compositions delve into a range of emotions that give his music an immensely cinematic quality. Since 2004, he has released six albums, including the sublimely majestic Treny which was released on the Norwegian label Miasmah. One of his latest pieces appears on the newly released SMM: Context compilation from Ghostly International. For his listed feature, Jacaszek delved deep into the recesses of his childhood and remembered some of the first music he ever heard, most of it recorded on tapes.
1. Joe Dassin - “Et Si Tu N’Existais Pas”
This is one of the hits my parents had in their tape collection of pop music from the 70’s. This particular one I remember the most as it has a very moving, deeply sad atmosphere that left an impression as I was a bit if a sensitive kid early on. That track stuck in my mind for years.
2. Armia - Legenda
Armia (The Army) is an unusual polish hardcore/punk group. Legenda was a kind of revelation in the Polish music scene in the early 80’s. Hurricane-like guitars, bombing drums mixed with fairy-tale sounds of horn and mystic poetry shouted out by charismatic vocalist Tomasz Budzynski. Armia played a kind of sacred music using radical aesthetics. Purely metaphysical in a wall of massive sound.
3. Portishead - Dummy
In the 1990’s I started to listen to a lot of electronic/club/dance music. When I heard Dummy I was so surprised with the freedom that they mixed styles and with the quality they achieved out of it. It was something more than triphop. I think Portishead strongly influenced not only me, but the whole music climate from the 90’s and 2000’s - from jazz, through hip-hop to film scores.
4. Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Meeting Steve Reich was like finding a bridge leading me from the pop/rock world to the virgin lands of classical music. Repeating, trance phrases played with classical instruments. It sounded so fresh, noble, exclusive. This was a very important discovery.
5. Thomas Tallis - Spem in Alium
This choral work was the first piece of classical music that moved my heart. The amazingly beautiful melody of a renaissance motet with the huge power of 40 voices divided into 8 small choirs hit my soul and opened my eyes on Bach, Purcell, Biber, Dowland and the rest of the early classical music composers.
6. Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki - Symphony no. 3
This is one of my favorite pieces of music. Three highly emotive elegies for soprano voice and string orchestra with characteristics of the Polish spirit. This music is very close to my soul.
7. Arvo Part - Fratres
Modern minimalism vs. early music. I don’t know how Part was able to join those two elements so perfectly, but it will be always a challenge for me. Such works as "Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten”, "Tabula Rasa”, and "Fur Alina” are like eternity trapped in sounds. The composer influenced crowds of so called "modern classical artists” of nowadays including Murcof, Ben Frost, Johann Johannson, Max Richter, etc.
8. Pawel Szymanski - Lux Aeterna
This Polish composer continues Arvo Part’s style, but also takes a lot from Polish tradition. He uses classical instruments in a manner of electronic, sampled music. Szymanski music structures reminds me of fragile, ornamental fabric covering hidden and beautiful melodies played with celesta, harp, piano, harpsichord and voices. Very ambitious, but simply beautiful music.
9. Colleen - The Golden Morning Breaks
After I released my album Treny, I started being interested in the contemporary "home listening” and "modern classical” music scene. Colleen was one of my most precious discoveries. Minimal sounds of acoustic guitar, viola da gamba, bells, and music boxes took me back to the times of childhood with visions of secret gardens, paradise, and lost happiness.
10. Ben Frost - “We love you Michael Gira”
I first met Ben’s music when we both had composed alternative soundtracks for Mark Silver’s video (commission work for Unsound festival). Ben’s version for cello and guitar was perfect and intriguingly wonderful. Then I found his Theory of Machines album with the unforgettable “We love you Michael Gira” track. I find Ben one of the most exploratory artists of today’s scene. I’m very jealous of his unusual skill to join together elements of hard aggression with poetic softness, I love this perfect fusion of hot emotions vs. cold, chemical dirt present on his albums.
By Dusted Magazine