I have been listening to some of the albums I used to study to age 16 – 22ish quite a bit lately and I still find them invigorating, inspiring and fun to write to. I may have grown out of the emo and pop punk (well, kind of) that my teen-self enjoyed but these albums still surprise me because there’s a lot to get your teeth into.
Feel free to correct me but I suppose you could say that they are mostly experimental jazz, noise, and metal (yep, I was a bit of a stoner) and I have various great people to thank for having been exposed to these bands and different kinds of music. My mind was opened to lots of music from quite a young age and I still get a total rush from finding out about new musical styles and concepts.
So, I thought I would share them and try to explain why I still love them.
Fantômas – Suspended Animations
First of all, this album squeezes 30 songs into less than three-quarters of an hour so you won’t get bored. It pounds, confuses and soars. This experimental noise metal album could scare the shit out of you but then again there are some weird cartoon samples. It is far from perfect but still the perfect rush when the time is right. It is Guess you could describe this madness as being a bit like if Creep Show meeting Looney Tunes and then they land up in House of 1000 Corpses. I guess.
Electric Masada – At the Mountains of Madness
This will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea – probably like most of the records on this list – but it incorporates some really heavy sessions and has some noise rock and metal influences that offer a breather from the intense experimental freestyle jazz sessions, making it an accessible album for rock fans who might not want to indulge in too much jazz. Equally, if you are looking for something a bit comparable to Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, but with heavy drumming and vague electronics then you might want to try this.
Electric Masada is an offshoot of saxophonist John Zorn’s group ‘Masada’, which blends traditional Jewish klezmer music with free jazz. It is two hours of textures, precise and transportive music that can be downed in an exhilarating chug or taken in small startling sips.
Alain Goraguer – Soundtrack to ‘La Planete Sauvage’
The 1973 film is quite overwhelming but also magical at the same time – adapted from a sci-fi novel by acclaimed writer Stefan Wul. Even if you haven’t seen the film, Alain Gouraguer’s moody and bewitching soundtrack is vivacious and rich. It has been mined by hip hop artists and cited as an influence by many artists because there are insurmountable depths and layers to this record.
Jaga Jazzist – Animal Chin
I think there are very few albums I have listened to as much as this one. It could be called experimental jazz with accessible hum-along melodies; it overstimulates and feels like being taken on a journey into forests full of fireflies, before galloping with gazelle and then floating down some rapids. Trippy.
Maybe too much for some but I dig the ride and recommend giving it a whirl. I still remember buying it in Picadilly records, Manchester, and the intrigue that I felt. Whenever it is 1 am and I have a deadline this album never lets me down.