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Listed: David Kilgour + The Telescopes

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Former Clean frontman David Kilgour and Creationist shoegazers The Telescopes.

Listed: David Kilgour + The Telescopes

David Kilgour

As the founder and leader of the seminal New Zealand pop band, The Clean, David Kilgour has been rewarding his rabid fans with everything from crisp pop to freaked out chaos for over 20 years. But perhaps his greatest achievement came in January of 2001 when David was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, by her majesty, in recognition and in honor of his contributions to the arts and cultural heritage of his homeland. 'Sir' David's newest album, Frozen Orange (Merge) is on shelves now.

Here's what I’ve been thrashing over the last 12 months...
1. Lambchop - Aw C'mon & No You C'mon
Their best? As good as anything they've done, I reckon, and I still love ’em!

2. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
I'm still discovering things about Jimi Hendrix and I've been hooked since I was about 10. Some say this work was too indulgent and that he needed Chas Chandler to pull him in. To me, it still sounds very much like modern music.

3. Buffalo Springfield Box Set
Took a while to absorb, especially the Stills songs. What can I say? A good place to dig that twin guitar attack and peer into the heady days.

4. Sandy Denny - Collection
The voice! The voice. I never got the Fairport Convention, et al, vibe. I am still trying. BUT, I recently made myself a best of Sandy CD and I love it.

5. Karen Dalton - It's so hard to tell who will love you the best.
A Folk Billie Holiday of the 60's is far too much of an over-simplification and she apparently hated such comparisons. Karen oozes emotion effortlessly, richly. Truly one of the great voices of the 20th century and a cool banjo player. "Katie Cruel" is what turned me on to her (off In My Own Time).

6. The Phoenix Foundation - Horse Power
Local Kiwi band hailing from Wellington. Lovely experimental pop.

7. Tokey Tones - Caterpillar and Butterfly
Lovely experimental pop from Auckland, New Zealand.

8. Gillian Welch - Soul Journey
Bad title, great record.

9. Judy Sill
Odd stuff, not everyone’s cuppa tea, but you gotta check her out. American singer/songwriter (god, I hate that term) from the 1970s. Imagine Randy Newman with an orchestra AND as a woman on an ecstasy and mescaline vibe during 1973.

10. Andrew Bird
The one he made in Nashville with Mr. Nevers – great! Still don't own one though!

The Telescopes

Originally a five-piece band from Burton on Trent, UK, these primal shoegazers burst upon the scene back in the late ’80s with records on esteemed labels such as What Goes On and Creation. Stephen Lawrie (Füxa) was the chief instigator – co-founder of the band and director of Antenna Records, a label dedicated to the transmission of exploratory sound. The Telescopes are currently working on their fourth album, soon to be released on Antenna. Meanwhile, Space Age Recordings have released Altered Perception: a collection of long deleted, previously unavailable, and unreleased material from their early years, compiled by The Telescopes and re-mastered to their specifications. Lawrie participated in this week’s Listed.

1. Jazzfinger - The Little Girl on the Plane Who Turned her Dolls Head Around to Look at Me (Muzamuza)
Jazzfinger are a fine example of sound only becoming music when fused with the imagination of the listener. Just as a 3D stereogram image may be veiled to some eyes, Jazzfinger may not be heard by all ears. I’ve witnessed this provoke anger in more than a few people who've been Jazzfingered – you either hear noise or symphony in their sound. The disc was recorded 1996-97, the group gave me a copy when they terrorized the Electric Earbone recently. I've not stopped playing it since. According to the sleeve notes, Has plays the fuckhorn on the recordings and Ben the harp. I'm not sure what a fuckhorn is or if Ben really is playing a harp, but the sound they make is sheer pagan joy to me, non-constrictive and all-consuming. The instruments feel like members of the group, interacting with their human manipulators. Just as a kicked dog whimpers or attacks its aggressor, they respond to their treatment in a language consistent throughout existence. I never hear this recording the same way twice. And sometimes wonder if miniature Jazzfingers are living inside the disc.

2. O - Ō numero 0. (Burning Emptiness Inc)
Yan from O insists O is not music…the listeners make it music. So the listener is the only artist involved and must work towards building new music. O work against demonstrative music and believe the mastering of an instrument to be an illusion. O never hide their chaos, and realize death gives sense and value to life. Their detuned aesthetic of primitive error, and their disobedience of metronome clearly express this vision. O are old children. Their music is like prehistoric art. When O use electricity, you feel the voltage flowing through you, and when they pluck string, you feel the snap of bone and the tension of wire. Yan says O will die after this album, but O will never sound dead to me.

3. The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree - “Le Bon Marain” (Deserted Village)
According to village weblore, the Magickal Folk recollect near forgotten songs. discovered in treetop taverns and hidden under marked stones. Legend goes that every now and then a stone tape appears in the hollowed bough of an old lightning-blasted elm on the outskirts of the deserted village. Le Bon Marain is an extract from one of those tapes. You can hear the folk harmonize in French on the recording, so beautifully, they transcend written language and speak a faraway tongue shared by their magickal flute and acoustic companions. I could listen to the Folk all day, their music feels like the musical equivalent of photographing fairies at the bottom of the garden. It sends me to places so magickal i don't really care if they really exist or not.

4. Jarvis/Joincey/Todd - This Horse Already Rotten (Slippy Town)
This is an album i have to listen to as a whole, a theme also consistent with Joincey's new “sculptress” project. And indeed this music sounds sculpted yet spontaneous, discordant throughout. It's intensity swells to throw up hard felt statements, such as “The Years I Worked This Out Of Me,” whilst codification of the victim is achieved. On first listen, it sounds like pure cacophony, but future listens reveal intelligent guitar sculptures that bleed and rattle their way through the skull before reaching a more gentle, reflective conclusion. A little like being attacked by a wasp nest and finding yourself full of admiration for the skill and coordination of the swarm.

5 + 6. Paul Giovanni - “Willow's Song” & “Gentle Johnny” (from The Wicker Man soundtrack, Trunk)
I love both of these songs for the same reasons. I really like the idea of music being made from whatever is close to hand – a battered old jug, a table top drum – and I love to be able to hear something of the environment creaking between the notes in any recording. Beautifully written, seductively performed, carefully arranged and sympathetically recorded, these are fertility rites of renewal, ritualistic and loaded with intent, their narcotic quality is highly intoxicating, luring sacrificial lambs to their inevitable doom.

7. MooN - dream (Fencing Flatworm)
MooN make the perfect music for space exploration. dream is the sound of the last intelligent lifeform leaving the planet in search of something more substantial. I wonder if this is a journey that MooN took when they made these recordings. This record accepts that the mind is a scary place, whilst realizing it is better than being plastic and having no dreams. MooN have always had a great feel for sounds and arrangements that sit perfectly with each other, this gives them a lot of freedom to create beautiful art that always transports the listener to a better place. This is their first ever British release. And my candidate for the soundtrack to our next mission to Mars.

8. Juan Hidalgo - “Tamaran” (Zona Archives)
My first encounter with Fluxus was old black and white photographs of Emmett Williams and Wolf Vostell sawing up a piano, and of Nam June Paik performing “One for Violin.” They reminded me of early pictures of psychic research, where the subject performed strange rituals inconsistent with their sensible attire, as if consumed by some unseen force dictating their actions. I don't know much about Juan Hidalgo, except his connection with Zaj, and Una Voz, an album of repetitive vocal music, which was a result of his friendship with John Cage and 10 years absorption and contemplation. But this track is my favorite from the Fluxus anthology on Zona. It spatially encapsulates that spooky feeling I first received from Fluxus art. It sounds like a ghostly apparition of sparsely plucked piano strings, discovered on a tape left running over night in a haunted space.

9. Slaughter Joe - I'll Follow You Down 12” (Creation)
This is a fully charged barrage of mallet-driven floor tom and snare drum, beating its way through a raging assault of harmonica howls and growling bass. And there's feedback everywhere. Like a coach full of napalm with a madman at the reigns, Joe screams Hey, I'll follow you down, and I'm there with him, opening up my veins to sign away my soul. I first heard it 18 years ago, and it has never been far from my turntable since. Joe told me he was consumed with the physicality of sound at the time he recorded it. Obviously, that’s why it feels so great when it's played extremely loud. There's a great spirit consistent throughout the recording, from the feel of the performance right through to the production.

10. The Groupies - “Primitive” (from The Best of Pebbles, Volume 1, Ubik)
As the title suggests, this is a call to get primitive. It's like finding cavemen living in your stereo playing stone age rock and roll through the speakers. The drums sound like they were made from dinosaur skins and pounded with the bones of a woolly mammoth. Sounding so cavernous, the other instruments seem to tremble and creak around them. I love this track as a whole, everything is just how i like my garage fuzz to be, the song structure hangs around a simple and effective guitar riff, and each musician plays just enough to contribute to the overall sound. The singer has a voice like a character from a lost Hannah-Barbara cartoon that probably only exists in my wishful thinking, but his delivery leaves me in no doubt that he means every thing he says and more.

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