MUSIC BLOG

What this blog is all about

This selection of music is not necessarily a comprehensive catalogue of the best albums ever, or even those in my collection, but instead a compendium of those that are interesting and worth exploring. Over the years I have sought out the interesting and different in music and I have from time to time, come across artists that really put forward genuinely new and different ideas. Sometimes they don't quite work, but 7 out of 10 for trying, but often, to my ear at least, they create something special worth giving some consideration to and perhaps some patience to give yourself time to appreciate what they are trying to do.

Some artists and composers have spent their careers pushing the boundaries and as in any form of contemporary art, that is what we need to see to maintain the interest and creativity. This is only a small selection of music worth trying, but it is a list that I believe offers a lot to the more adventurous listener.

Enjoy.

Laid and Wah Wah - James

Laid
Laid - James
Wah Wah
Wah Wah - James

James worked with Brian Eno on the production of their most original and harmonious of albums. He contributed some performance, but mostly it was his inspiration and production that led the group to their best output.

Originally it was intended that Wah Wah was to be released simultaneously with Laid. Wah Wah was their rehearsals, experimentation, and jam sessions that helped to inspire Laid. Unfortuantely it was released later and the logical linkage was lost. However, the revised box set brings it all together, with lots of unreleased material.

Full details on Wikipedia (Laid).

Full details on Wikipedia (Wah Wah).

Uncle Meat - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Uncle Meat
Uncle Meat - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Originally scored as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, this album introduced a style of music encompassing every idiom imaginable, from classical, through jazz, folk, rock and everything in between. It was for me a truly seminal piece, inspired by the likes of Edgar Varese, one of Zappa's favourite composers.

Although the film was never finished and very little of the music on this album was used in it anyway, this provides a strange and often bizarre narrative, quite typical of the then youthful Zappa.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Tago Mago - Can

Tago Mago
Tago Mago - Can (original cover)
Tago Mago
Tago Mago - Can (latest cover)

The emergence of 'Krautrock' in the late 1960s provided a very fertile ground for innovative and original music, often inspired by the Avant Garde masters like Karlheinz Stockhausen. Of all the German rock groups of the time, Can was one of the most innovative and prolific and their masterpiece, Tago Mago demonstrated their ability to create driving rhythms, with taut percussion and strong basslines, strident guitar and haunting and ephemeral vocals. The album also includes some brilliantly improvised and totally unstructured pieces such as Aumgn.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (original cover)
Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (latest cover)

This was one of the earliest albums I heard of Jimi Hendrix. As a young teenager, this was a remarkable and quite stunning introduction to the guitar genius of Jimi Hendrix.

It includes many iconic songs, such as Voodoo Chile, which was released as a single at the time, but for me the two tracks that stand out most are All Along The Watchtower and the longer, blues version of Voodoo Chile which features on the first side straight after Crosstown Traffic.

All Along The Watchtower was one of many covers of Bob Dylan's songs that Hendrix featured. He was able to take a great song and add so much more to it through his mastery of the guitar and the totally free-form nature of his playing. Voodoo Chile, which is loosely based upon Catfish Blues, was recorded in the studio, with Mitch Mitchell on drums, Steve Winwood of Traffic playing organ and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane on bass. It was recorded with background atmospheric sounds to give the impression it was performed in a small nightclub in an intimate and impromptu jam session. It was in fact well planned and recorded several times before reaching the final version.

Full details on Wikipedia.

My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts - Brian Eno & David Byrne

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - Brian Eno & David Byrne (original cover)
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - Brian Eno & David Byrne (latest cover)

Brian Eno was by this time, getting involved in a huge variety of projects working with exciting new up-and-coming bands such as Devo and Talking Heads (see More Songs About Buildings and Food). As well as providing creative input to the music, he was producing some of the period's most interesting albums. At the same time he was working with inspirational musicians such as David Byrne of Talking Heads and this is one of the experiments that came out of that collaboration.

This album experiments with rhythms, sampled sounds from speech, radio etc, and puts together ideas that stretch the norms of contemporary music.

Full details on Wikipedia.

More Songs About Buildings and Food - Talking Heads

More Songs About Buildings and Food
More Songs About Buildings and Food - Talking Heads

In the post-punk era new straightforward rock music emerged that had a less raw edge and explored interesting new ideas in modern styles. At the forefront was Talking Heads, whose second album, produced by Brian Eno, really exemplified a new direction for popular music.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Led Zeppelin 1

Led Zeppelin 1
Led Zeppelin 1

This album marked the opening of an outstanding sequence of rock albums heavily inspired by the traditional blues legends. The impact this had at the time was truly amazing, but it remains to this day an outstanding example of the power and intensity of Led Zepellin's music.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Meet The Residents - The Residents

Meet The Residents - The Residents
Meet The Residents - The Residents

The Residents opened their history of the obscure with this marvellous pastiche of the Beatles album. With a sort of bizarre reverence for popular music, they created a style of the avant garde which certainly stretches the idea of contemporary music.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Never Mind The Bollocks - The Sex Pistols

Never Mind The Bollocks - The Sex Pistols
Never Mind The Bollocks - The Sex Pistols

The most seminal of all punk albums and the one that created one of the most successful marketing campaigns of the seventies. However, it has an undoubted quality.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Nevermind - Nirvana

Nevermind - Nirvana
Nevermind - Nirvana

Grunge at its very best. Smells Like Teen Spirit in particular exemplifies the sheer energy of this album and the direction it took music at the time.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

The most expansive and significant album from the brilliant Don Van Vliet, superbly produced by Frank Zappa. This album is often thought of as the weirdest ever made, but the subtleties and nuances of the music/poetry are truly engaging.

Full details on Wikipedia.

Insurgentes and Nsrgnts Rmx - Steven Wilson

Insurgentes - Steven Wilson
Insurgentes - Steven Wilson
Nsrgnts Rmx - Steven Wilson
Nsrgnts Rmx - Steven Wilson

No list of interesting albums worth listening to would be complete without Steven Wilson. While still leading the great Porcupine Tree, Wilson made this album, Insurgentes as one of his earliest solo albums (unless you include early PT releases). It was also thoughtfully remixed and released as Nsrgnts Rmx, which provides an interesting extension to the music.

Full details on Wikipedia (Insurgentes).

Full details on Wikipedia (Nsrgnts Rmx).