Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Mono and Bibio.
Listed: Mono + Bibio
Perhaps no band today better fuses the doom of metallic droners like Sunn0))) et al with the epic, cinematic slow-build rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their Canadian soundalikes. For years, this Japanese quartet have climbed there way, on a small variety of labels, to a nice perch at or near the top of the instrumental rock totem pole. Their new album, You Are There, was recently released by Temporary Residence Records. Mono will be on tour with Pelican in May and June of this year. Mono's drummer Yasunori Takada reveals a surprising flare for the jazzy in his top 10.
1. Miles Davis - Nefertiti (Columbia)
This is the album I've been listening to most in my life. The performance, condition of the recordings, atmosphere, sense of time, members - to me, everything is right and perfect. So far this is my most favorite album. Tony Williams is crazy! It's unbelievable how he challenged this song.
2. Tony Williams Lifetime - Emergency! (Polydor)
Every musician put something special into the music and it's spilling out of the album. As a musician, I'm always looking forward to this sort of special moment everytime I play. All musicians are technically superb, but there's something more, overwhelming beauty and power that do not matter the skill. I guess everyone who played with Tony must go with him. He was always the main act. As I'm not that kind of drummer myself, I enjoy his play even more.
3. Arcana - Arc of the Testimony (Polygram)
I listen to this album when I want to hear Tony Williams' fast legato. He participated in this recording in his later years. I think Bill Laswell produced the album, but no matter who produced the work, Tony played his play and sounded just like him. His fill is so emotional. Emotion is bursting.
4. Miles Davis - Fore and More (Columbia)
There's no fake or flaw on the live recordings from this era. Personally I like Miles best when he played with Tony Williams. Tony was only 17 when he first joined Miles Davis' band. But he was so calm and magnificent. What a nerve he had!
5. Ornette Coleman - Of Human Feeling (Verve)
Two drummers are playing together and I enjoy the subtle difference of rhythm of two. I don't know much about harmolodic...just sounds cool. I like it.
6. Ronald Shannon Jackson and Decording Society - Barbeque Dog (Antilles)
Every musician plays whatever he desires but it sounds like an ensemble. Cutting of the rhythm is so sharp and beautiful. Edgy music born and nurtured in New York.
7. Art Ensemble of Chicago - Nice Guys (ecm)
Each band members plays multiple instruments. I'm pretty much attracted to that gentle rhythm played by don Moye. There is a place where free session moves to reggae. That reggae rhythm is simply the best.
8. Tony Allen - No Accommodation for Lagos (Phonogram)
Relaxed beat, flexible rhythm... I like the way all the instruments come into one groove. Even Fela Kuti needed him to make his music groove. He always creates the best flow for the song. His rhythm is breathing. When the all instruments sound together, the huge groove feels so pleasant. I'm just happy to sink myself into that groove.
9. Can - Future Days (United Artist Recording)
I listen to this album when I want to relax. The sounds are sparkling. Many different instruments are used but they don't fight with each other. The entire music sounds simple and clean.
10. Syd Barrett - The Mad Caps Laughs (EMI)
I love the way he sings his heart out without any effort. Simple and honest. It feels like the songs are his murmurs. A bit painful but full of feelings. I just like it.
Producer Stephen Wilkinson is a self-taught musician from an area in central England often referred to as the Black Country. His love for sound and noise led him to the University of London and the study of Sonic Arts where he discovered experimental electronic acts such as Aphex Twin, Autechre, and most importantly Boards of Canada. His own musical identity was christened Bibio, in honor of a fly his father had insisted on using during the fishing trips to Wales that were so influential in establishing his love of the sounds of nature. Focusing on location recording using cassettes, a half-broken sampler, dictaphones, and experimental ways of affecting sounds, Bibio has crafted a unequalled style that is as subtle as it is powerful.
1. The drones from a distant plane
It has to be a propeller plane as opposed to a jet plane, I love the slowly shifting doppler effect but more importantly the lush swirling filtering which can only be created by the sound having to travel through miles of moving air, I wish I could get my music to sound like that My Bloody Valentine and Boards of Canada have come close.
2. Old ultra lo-fi kids TV program music
Like Bagpuss, Trumpton and the black and white Magic Roundabout. In many ways they've become kitsch icons that fill student's walls, but ignoring that, they were just beautiful recordings, they sounded like they were made in someone's living room with a knackered old Ferguson reel to reel with mildew on the tape heads. That home made approach is practically extinct in modern TV.
3. Shortwave radio
There's all sorts of weird stuff floating around, listening to SW radio is like stepping back in time, it sounds like you've tuned in to some bizarre lab/studio where blokes in white coats are testing out potential sound effects for old sci-fi films on their 10ft high wall of modular synths. There's a sinister side to it all too, number stations, coded bleeps etc. The other great thing is that everything overlaps, so you could be listening to a modulated Indian raga mixed with Chris De Burgh or something random like that, occasionally you can find great mixes.
4. The sound of rain on a tent
You can't beat it for bedtime listening, my fondest memories involve getting into my sleeping bag after a long session round a camp fire and then nodding off to the delicious crackles with your face feeling all chapped from the fire.
5. Walking in the snow
What a beautiful and unique substance snow is, and what a beautiful and unique sound it makes too.
6. 70's wildlife documentaries
Some sound like the producers have deliberately saturated and distorted everything just to make it sound rich, I'd love to know what gear they used.
7. The rare occasion when your cassette recorder hasn't managed to erase the previous recording on the tape but it actually fits musically with the new track you've just put on there
It works particularly well at the end of tracks.
8. Water splashes that have been recorded on a cheap portable tape player
It's like the tape squares the water off in a really warm way, making it sound like a clip from a super 8 memory.
9. That magical window between sleep and wake
It's a sweet spot where if you are listening to a record at the time, you can find yourself listening to it with childlike ears, it's like the part of your brain which rationalizes is still asleep, in some ways it's like natural psychedelics. Sometimes you start dreaming to a track whilst you're asleep and then as you wake the dream is sort of absorbed by the music so you can continue the dream for a short time while your consciousness shifts.
10. Finding old cassettes or reel to reel tapes of people's families
The fact that most tape players had built in microphones on them encouraged people to record random stuff, especially when you'd just got it out of the box when it was new. I think the death of tape and the replacement with CD, MP3 etc. means that those old artifacts tucked away in shoeboxes somewhere under the stairs will no longer continue being made. My mate has this recording of his grandma singing 'scarlet ribbons' a cappella, she had a really beautiful and pure voice when she was younger which the reel to reel tape captured in such a poetic way. I remember us dragging a plastic bag of tapes out of his loft and came across that, it made him shiver when we laced up the reel to reel and that played out of the speakers as his grandma used to sing it to him as a lullaby when he was a kid.
By Dusted Magazine