Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Hudson Bell and Chris Bissonnette.
Listed: Hudson Bell + Chris Bissonnette
Bay Area indie rocker Hudson Bell is both a man and the name of that man's band. Robbing the grave of issues 1 through 100 of Magnet Magazine, Hudson Bell revives the brand of catchy, guitar-based rock made popular by luminaries like Pavement and Built to Spill. Unlike others who have attempted such feats, Bell blends his pop with sludge and psych, and isn't afraid to stretch a song out, Major Stars-style. His new record (his third), is one of the finest rock records to come out this year. It's called When the Sun is the Moon and it was released by Monitor Records.
10 Songs we've covered LIVE (once we play a song live we tend to never play it again)
1. Minutemen - "History Lesson Pt. II"
When I moved to SF I hadn't played with a band in almost 3 years. I was at a bookstore and recognized a line from this song on a book jacket. The book had just come out. I couldn't put it down. I called John (who I'd met through a friend a few years earlier) that night and asked if he'd play bass. By the end of the week we were playing with a drummer. I changed the words to be about our band.
2. Ronnie Milsap - "Smoky Mountain Rain"
I woke up one morning to my clock playing this song and it brought back memories of this fair they used to have in the summer in the trees by the elementary school I lived near in Baton Rouge. Lots of confetti eggs and 2-liter cokes and plastic ducks and tossing nickels and dimes and a cover band up on an auctioneer‚s flatbed, playin this song, "Lookin for love in all the wrong places", "Elvira," etc.
3. Bob Dylan - "Death Is Not The End
I've always liked this song and Dylan's voice with the lyrics about the burning flesh of men and dark days to come. We've actually played this twice I think. I came up with my own second and third verses and I don't think we played the bridge.
4. Dead Milkmen - "Two Feet Off The Ground"
On the last day of a 9th grade music appreciation class, we were asked to bring a song to share. I brought this and it got played following something from the Woodstock soundtrack. When the reggaesque intro started, the teacher was quick to point out to the class that it had a "Woodstock" feel, though by the end of the song, I think she‚d changed her mind as she looked as if she was having a heart attack.
5. Juice Newton - "Angel Of The Morning"
This past summer I was visiting my family and my dad had a CD with this song playing in his car so I heard it a few times and I hadn't heard it in years. It got lodged up in my head pretty well and on returning home I figured it'd be a good tune to play at our next show.
6. The Clean - "Getting Older"
The older brother of my best friend from childhood flew out a few years ago to go to this hardcore festival in Berkeley. We hung out one day and it was non-stop stories, record shopping, and wandering around. When he left and I got back to my place, I started thinking about a lot of things, and I listened to this song about five times in a row.
7. Jefferson Airplane - "White Rabbit" (with end phasing into the chorus of "Bordeaux Rose" by Fairfield Parlour)
We played this a few years back at a show for Noise Pop. Seemed like a fun song to play for a music festival in San Francisco. One of the guys from All Night Radio commended me on the fact that we actually had people dancing.
8. Los Olvidados - "Home Is Where The Heart Is"
Should-be punk classic by 80‚s skate punk band from San Jose. We played this recently and I just about severely injured myself jumping levels.
9. Violent Femmes - "Good Feeling"
The first rock show I ever saw was the Violent Femmes in 9th grade. For most of the show I was crushed up into the stage at rib level with my bottom-half soaked with sweat while a girl was climbing and grinding on my back yelling for them to play this song. I literally thought, for a bit, that the reason my pants were so wet was that she was going to the bathroom on me. They never played the song.
10. Lou Reed - "Kill Your Sons"
One of my favorite Lou Reed songs. The worst I was ever shocked wasn't by a doctor, but when I accidentally grabbed an electrical fence around a dog and got stuck and my friend's mom had to come out and tackle me off of it.
Christopher Bissonnette began his career studying fine art at the University of Windsor. Majoring in video and multimedia, he began to produce video that was inseparable from sound, and sound that produced contextual support to the abstracted imagery of his visual work. Bissonnette experienced the rise of the Detroit electronic music scene in the early 1990s, and began to develop an aural vocabulary of his own. He experimented with "purist" techno sound, working with analogue synths and rhythm machines.This was ultimately unfulfilling. In 1996 Bissonnette teamed up with Mark Laliberte to form Disseminator Audio, which produced hybrid performances of sequenced tracks, turntable experiments and spoken word. Bissonnette refined this vocabulary producing audio, video, and installation work. In 1997 Laliberte and Bissonnette began working with Windsor artist Chris MacNamara, founding Thinkbox, a media collective focused on the intersection of art and popular electronic music. Thinkbox produces art in a variety of media and spaces from art galleries to nightclubs and have fronted a series of limited edition, themed compilations, beginning with Settings. In early 2004 the collective released Guitar, a collection of the members manipulated interpretations of prerecorded guitar sessions. In 2004 Thinkbox was invited to perform a showcase at Mutek in Montreal. In addition to a collaborative performance with the other five members, Bissonnette offered a solo piece derived from a body of work that would eventually be comprised in his solo debut release Periphery (Kranky).
I found electronic music initially through 80s synth-pop. Not very sophisticated or ultimately select music, but it was a doorway. I believe that I am of a generation that grew up in midst of an evolving sound, not witnesses to the genesis of a movement. The 70’s had by then brought the sound of electronics to the masses through Wendy Carlos and hypno-rockers like Pink Floyd, none of which are essential to me, despite knowing the significance of their contributions to electronic music history. Collecting a top 10 list in essence is a difficult task to undertake. There are essential albums in my collection and there are things that I may be completely enamored with at a given time. So, what I’ve assembled is a list of those albums that I either find myself returning to years after their release date or records that I can safely say have changed my awareness dramatically.
1. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II
Selected Ambient Works Vol.II, which differs significantly from Vol.I, is a genuinely unassuming and noteworthy challenge to Eno’s Music for Airports, as the preeminent ambient record. At a time when techno and dance floor beats dominated, Richard D. James offered a more cerebral approach to ambient music without the need for fluffy psychedelia. This album represents a shift from the stereotype of electronic music’s cold demeanor, to an emotional, often disturbing and intensely melodic character.
2. Elliott Smith - Either/Or
At one time I was immersed exclusively in purist electronic sound. Although an indie selection and somewhat of an anomaly in my collection, Elliott renewed my faith in quality songwriting, thoughtful lyrics and acoustic instruments. I find myself returning to his work often as a hiatus from electronic music.
3.John Cage - Empty Words: Writings '73-'7
Cage is an artist I understand on a theoretical level. Not that I cannot appreciate the results of his process. But it is his methods and ideology that have had a greater effect on my practice rather than his recordings. Cage was a musician equally respected as an accomplished visual artist. Having a foundation in visual art myself, he bridged the gap between the worlds of music writing and artistic practice. Empty Words embodies my goal of theoretical insight, in hopes that as an artist, I might comprehend my production process on a more cognitive level.
4. Fennesz - Endless Summer
Quite possibly one of the most important albums for me in the past five years. Fennesz had developed a complex and intricate new sound. This album demonstrates both the heights of his abilities and signifies the maturation of a sound.
5. Nuno Canavarro - Plux Quba
This enigmatic album is an inspired example of the diversity of the electronic processes before the advent of software music. Often regarded as inspiration by many experimental electronic musicians, I never grow tired of this album.
6. Zoviet France - Assualt and Mirage
Part of the expansive industrial scene of the 80’s, I came to the sound of Zoviet France late, long after they had produce an impressive library of textural soundscapes. I was able to pick up reissues of their catalogue, unfortunately missing the exquisite packaging of the original releases.
7. Stephen Mathieu - Full Swing Edits
Dichotomous, fragmented, post-modern in so many ways. Like Fennesz, Mathieu allows software and process to dictate some of the results of his sound, creating organic music, free of the constraints of traditional linear and highly structured methods.
8. The Postal Service - Give Up
Bar-none the best synth-pop album in years. Briefly tipping their hats to the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Bronski Beat and OMD, The Postal Service transports the genre into well-balanced, even thought provoking territory. I find myself returning to this album often, hoping throughout, that there will be a follow up of equal class.
9. Ritchie Hawtin - Concept
The Concept series proved that techno could be mature and introspective. This series of experimental, abstract rhythm tracks, exemplified electronic minimalism. Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman, who had established himself as a techno innovator in the influential Detroit scene, demonstrated his understanding of the technology as well as the language.
10. Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Vrioon & Insen
A brilliant hybrid of contemporary minimalism and post-techno simplicity. It is quite simply a pair of albums that are stripped down to the bare essentials. Immaculate and near close to untouchable.
By Dusted Magazine