Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Earth and Jason Forrest.
Listed: Earth + Jason Forrest
Few could have predicted the lasting impact both on musicians and rabid collectors that Dylan Carlson's Earth project would have when he first convened the group in 1990. However, after a few initial lineup changes (Kill Rock Stars' founder Slim Moon was an original participant) and a great debut EP, Carlson and then-former Melvin Joe Preston cut the undisputed classic Earth 2 - three thick, heavy tracks of low-end rumble and slow motion riffing that cast a long shadow over all types of experimental music. After recording a couple more records for Sub Pop, the band broke up in 1996. A series of live records and reissues were released posthumously, including the Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars live record with a few extra demo tracks one of which featured vocals from Kurt Cobain. The band reconvened in 2002, this time as a duo featuring Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies. The new lineup has recently released a live record (Living in the Gleam of an Unsheathed Sword, culled from a performance for WNYU and another at NYC's Knitting Factory) and a remix record called Legacy of Dissolution. The band is currently readying their first studio LP in almost ten years, which will see release on the Southern Lord label later this year.
1. Terry Riley - Persian Surgery Dervishes
An amazing use of a Vox continental organ and a tape machine. An early classic of what would come to be called minimalism. Phillip Glass would plunder it for a lucrative career with Columbia Records. It is a live performance recorded over 2 days in Paris in 1971. La Monte Young's recorded output is unfortunately too hard too find and there is nothing available from this early era, so this is as close to the dream house as I can come on vinyl or cd. A great influence on my ideas regarding song titles as well as musical ideas.
2. Suicide - Suicide
Rev and Vega's opening salvo. The worlds coolest avant garde rockabilly record. Within the madness of Rev's throbbing organ ostinatoes, Vega's curiously effective and classic vocalising. Truly the cosmic american music that Gram Parson's talked about, but never really delivered. 'Ghost Rider', 'Rocket USA', and 'Cheree' are an awesome 1-2-3 punch of great american rock n' roll. All those angry Car's fans were idiots. When people wonder about my interest in American musical forms (Country, Blues, Jazz,and Rock n' Roll) I point them at this one.
3. Danny Gatton - Cruisin' Deuces
This was a hard choice since I love everything this man put out. Although this album had vocals, and one track that is luke warm ('Beat of the Night'), It has the most amazing version of 'Harlem Nocturne'. On this track Gatton's Telecaster mimics Hammond organ runs, one of the most amazing guitar tracks ever. On 'Satisfied Mind', the soon to be dead Billy Windsor's vocal mesh with the soon to be gone Danny Gatton's guitar licks, to create one of the most moving moments in recorded music. Unfortunately, other events in 1994, obscured Mr. Gatton's passing (another death that was self-inflicted). The guitarist who turned me on to the simple joys of the Telecaster guitar and Fender combo amps. He was the absolute master. The only other guitarist to stand with Mr. Gatton is the following...
4. Roy Buchanan - Roy
The first record for Polygram. The guy that turned Danny Gatton on to the Telecaster. The absolute, most amazing guitar player ever! Another example of what can be accomplished with a Telecaster and a small Fender combo. From the stunning beauty of 'Sweet Dreams' to the over the top pyrotechnics of 'Pete's Blue', playing with detuned strings, screaming pinched harmonics, the most grinding guitar sounds. All the so-called 'heavy' guitarists should listen to 'Pete's Blue' and turn in all those whole stacks and humbucker equipped guitars, and 7-strings and baritones and just go away. Absolutely essential.
5. Sonny Sharrock - Ask the Ages
Another difficult choice since everything Sharrock touches is magic. Another 'magic' guitar player. One that I hear and have know idea what he is doing or how he does it. It fills me with a sense of wonder every time I hear it.
6. Waylon Jennings - Waylon Live
The extended version offers 42 songs that are what it is all about. Clanky, compressed Telecaster, every now and then with some phasing (the cocaine cowboy sound) with prominent pedal steel, an open string always going. This what a great live record is. A band at the top of it's game with out a net. Is it rocky country or country rock. Or just great music. I've never been to heaven, but I've been to Oklahoma.
7. Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson
I have to cheat a little here, and talk about the 5 disc complete version. Although the original is great as well. This is another difficult choice. Where to begin. An album with Sharrock and McLaughlin, if only Pete Cosey was on board as well. On the original we don't hear Sharrock as much as on this version. Sharrock shows us all what an echoplex is for on the many versions of 'Wille Nelson'. McLauglin playing 'like the Who' and 'like he doesn't know how', on 'right off' and 'yesternow'. The awesome 'Honky Tonk', the 12-bar will never sound the same. Oh yeah and the sublime trumpet sounds of Miles as icing on the cake.
8. Merle Haggard - Mama Tried
Another artist with so much good shit. It all features the amazing Roy Nichols, the origial Telecaster man. The best prison and mama song ('Mama Tried'), with one of the best guitar licks ever. The best drinking loser song ('Little old Wine drinker , Me'). Just an all around winner.
9. Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails
Not just a San Francisco also ran. The first 2 songs offer us 31 minutes of the Bo Diddly beat, along with John Cipollina's wicked vibrato laden guitar work. 'Mona' is the best Bo Diddly cover available. (Mr. Diddly would definitely be on this list if I had a few more spaces). The 16 minutes of 'Maiden of the Cancer Moon' and 'Calvary' are truly some of the spookiest and most moving guitar work ever waxed.
10. Albert Collins - Truckin' With
The Ice Man cometh. Killer early sixties instrumentals. The most stinging Telecaster tone. 'Frosty', 'Frostbite', 'Tremble', 'Shiver n' Shake', 'Icy Blue', and 'Snow-Cone II' give you an idea of how much coolness is in store. His crazy Dm6 tuning and capo at the 5th fret show that you don't need much of the guitar neck to totally rip it up and lay it down. Another monument to Telecasters and small combo amps.
Electro-prankster Jason Forrest spun his wheels for a number of years under the name 'Donna Summer' before he reverted to his given name, Jason Forrest. As with many artists, with the name change came a rebirth, of sorts, for Forrest, whose debut full-length, The Unrelenting Songs Of The 1979 Post Disco Crash (Sonig) was one of the surprise hits of the 2004. Combining mash-up technology with a smarmy wit rarely seen this side of Kid606, Forrest exposed the grumpy ole codger in a room full of bloggers during the 2004 Mutek festival, making good on the age old 'all press is good press' axiom. 2005 should prove to be a big year for Forrest: his new EP, Lady Fantasy (which feature a guest appearance by David Grubbs, among others), is out this week, and his new full-length album will be out in October. Both will be release by the Mouse on Mars-run Sonig records.
1. Nathan Michel - The Beast (Sonig)
This guy simply kills me. It’s like Burt Bacharach teamed up with Jim O’Rourke to make Pop music sound like it’s supposed to be. Nathan’s music has a warm and unassuming humanity that is simply bolstered by his raw musical talent, and backed by a PhD in music composition (no, really, he has one). I’ve listened to this album, probably everyday for the past 7 months, and still enjoy it thoroughly.
2. The Books - Lost and Safe (Tomlab)
From the first second of their third album, you know this duo has not only found their true sound but also mastered it. Their usage of sampled speech is simply transcended this time around, with songs using the spoken voice as a blueprint for melody, and melody as vehicle for content. Smart, subtle, and truly enjoyable.
3. Shitmat - Full English Breakfast (Planet Mu.)
Shitmat knows how to slaughter an Amen break. He also is funny as shit and works REALLY DAMN HARD on his music. Even though the theme for this Cd is about how British he is (they eat baked beans for breakfast, you know), it’s still fucking awesome.
4. End - The Sounds Of Disaster (Ipecac)
Imagine a Ritalin fueled joyride through various calamities like home invasion, electrocution, and patricide. Ok, but it’s not gothy, but rather peppy and upbeat in as jaded a way as possible. Ok, now add tons of twangy guitar and 200+ Bpm breaks. See! It’s fantastic. End is a God, just like…
5. Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star (Bearsville, 1973)
On the Internet there are actual forums and polls debating “Is Todd God?” And the truth is that yes, he is. Todd is God. He proves it here with one of the most dazzling concept records that ever existed.
6. AM Gold
Ok, so this isn’t an album, but a whole sub-sub-strata of 70’s pop. Gerry Rafferty, 10CC, Alan O’ Day, Carly Simon, Little River Band, and so so so many more. Basically this is what the radio (AM/FM) sounded like from the mid-70’s to early 80’s (depending on where you lived) and is probably typified by the songs “Dreamweaver”, “Escape (the Pina Colada song)”, “Midnight at the Oasis”, and “Afternoon Delight”. But my point is this: this music is good musically as much as it is memorable and enjoyable.
7. Jamie Lidell - Multiply (Warp)
So some people have soul and most of the rest of us just don’t. Jamie has soul. I don’t know how or why, but motherfucker can sing, he FEELS it. Since Marvin Gaye is dead, we’ll just have to stick with Jamie Lidell to keep the legacy alive.
8. Drop The Lime - This Means Forever (Tigerbeat6)
If the world were a nice, true place, with morality and beauty, then Drop The Lime would be the media hero of pop music, and there would be plastic action figures of him and teen girls would chase him down the street. Ok, now add gabber beats and the insistent revving of crotch rockets.
9. Jaga Jazzist - The Stix/What We Must (Ninja Tune)
While I would ideally like these guys to really “Rock” more, I maintain they are probably one of the most creative acts around. Norway’s 10+ member rock / electronic / weird / jazz band really know how to play their instruments, and nearly every song is a demonstration that makes you say, “Damn…”
10. Prince - Purple Rain film/album (Warner Brothers)
Ok, so I was in 8th grade when this came out, and it was literally the whole world in which we lived. Yes, I had Parachute pants. Ok, so flash forward 20 years, and I can tell you that Prince STILL kicks everyone’s ass. Yes, I mean it EVERYONE. Prince basically owns pop music. He rocks, he rolls, he super-souls. He does the dance, he’s got the clothes, and the disproportionately sized ego and several artistically failed feature-length movies to prove it. But the reality is that Purple Rain is STILL one of the very best documents of an artist at his creative and musical peak. Oh yes, and I like his purple motorcycle.
By Dusted Magazine