HARMONIUMWERKS VOL 1-12
When I was about 21, a customer at the record shop ordered a batch of CDs of these rituals that Nitsch had performed, these really crazy, four-day long, blood-soaked ritualistic plays. I saw the covers and was like, ‘Wow, this looks really depraved and amazing!’ He’s more from the art world, and his crazier music is just cacophonous, but these Harmoniumwerks are him sitting at his pump organ in his castle just recording these drone improvisations. They’re lovely, because they keep surprising you, and they can change your brain chemistry a bit. It’s good music to work to, or to read to. I slept to Hermann Nitsch for years – I wouldn’t wanna sleep to anything too light, you’ve gotta be careful what you put in!
As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to get that feeling of total excitement and bewilderment from music, because it’s more difficult to be surprised, I guess. But I was so confounded by this record, and continue to be – it’s a really amazing approach to sound. It always threatens to kick in, but it never does… It’s so wonderful, I love it. It gives me the illusion that I’m maintaining some kind of handle on what young people are listening to, which I’m not! Just to hear dance music or pop music that is also really an amazing painting in its own right is great.
SONGS OF MILAREPA
I saw this at the record shop I worked at, and I thought the cover was so ghastly. It was in the sale for £22.99. I played a little bit of it in the MOR department, and nobody knew what was going on. But I was fascinated, so my colleague did a very naughty thing and marked it down to £2.99. I bought it, lay down on my bed and played the album, and was taken out of my body – I went somewhere else. When it came to a close, I returned very gently to my body, and I feel like this was the real beginning. Of my creative voice? Maybe. More that there was some lesson I was given in the other place – but it takes a while to learn your lessons.
This has been the album we’ve played most in the house this year. We put it on over dinner, put it on when friends are over – I think it’s groundbreaking, but it’s quite subtle in how it goes about it. It’s all about the production. It covers house and techno, but it’s quite fluid and melodious in places. It has this spacey, circus-ish feeling to it, a garishness, that’s slightly deranged. In our living room, we’re pretty far away from the speakers, but there would be times when a sound would just emerge from the air in front of us, over our lentil soup. It’s peppered with these magical moments – it’s a very complete and rich piece of work.
Uncut: the past, present and future of great music.