Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: New Zealand luminary Michael Morley and Paw Tracks signees Prince Rama.
Listed: Gate + Prince Rama
New Zealand’s Michael Morley is known most widely for his participation in defining low-fi group The Dead C. He’s also been active since the 1980s, first in Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos and most expansively with his solo project Gate, with releases on labels like Majora and Table of the Elements. Morley’s influence has spread far and wide, whether people recognize it or not. This year, after a decade-long absence, Gate returns with A Republic of Sadness, out August 3 on Ba Da Bing Records.
1. Kino Hughes - Songs of a Kaumatua (Auckland University Press, 2xCD and 278 page book, 2002)
Recordings of Kino Hughes 1891-1986 Tuhoe and Ngati Maniapoto. The recordings were made from 1958-1977. A much respected kaumatua whose knowledge of waiata, pao, poi, oriori, karakia, patere, haka and hari kai is passed down to us through this excellent publication. These recordings create a connection to the past through our ears and hearts.
2. Marie and The Atom - Yellow Read Aloud 12” (Flying Nun, 1984)
Creepy, astonishing and mesmerizingly good. I saw them play live in Dunedin in the mid-1980s. They vanished, and do other things now. The sound was unlike anything at the time, the cover art was confusing in its very strange minimalism, a salmon pink-colored back cover!
3. The Builders - Beaten Hearts (Flying Nun, 1982)
William Direen’s first LP release, after the 7" records Soloman’s Ball and Schwimmen in der See, this thing remains pivotal to my ears, like the Velvet Underground-White Light/White Heat or the first iteration of The Stooges - Raw Power. Pounding drums, thumping bass, propulsive guitar riffs, and exquisite lyrics, a real rock record.
4. The Gordons - Future Shock 7” (1980)
This record is the non-party anthem of my teenage years. My school friends were horrified by this, as disco and lame new wave was the order of the day. Released by the band on their own label "Gordon,” thus its catalogue number "Gordon 1.” The three songs on this 7” record help define the landscape of independent music in New Zealand. There was even a video for the song that played on some television music show. More influential than anything on New Zealand television that year, or any year since.
5. Robert Rental and The Normal - Live West Runton Pavilion 6/3/79 (Rough Trade US, 1980)
The best electronic record of the 1980’s and this was recorded in 1979. My copy was found in a record store in my hometown in 1980, brand new and shrink-wrapped. This was a strange novelty for a 16 year old hell bent on unraveling the beginnings of an investigation into sound that continues to this day. The idea that a composition could last for 25 minutes was a relief, noodling and passion fused into one side of a vinyl record.
6. Jandek - You Walk Alone (1988)
There are perhaps too many LPs to consider by this man, but this one I have listened to for more than 20 years! It is still a strange and otherwordly recording. I delight in the fact that this remains a confusing and terrifying ordeal for the uninitiated and at the same time can fill me with such peace and contentment.
7. The Loop Orchestra - The Analogue Years (2001)
The most fantastic fun that can be had with a bunch of old and well-loved tape machines and some lengths of 1/4-inch analogue magnetic tape. This release remains an excellent entry point to this collective of like-minded experimenters within the analogue universe.
8. Kathleen Ferrier - A Recital of Bach Arias 10” (Decca, 1952)
A coltralto, so that I can dispense with the sopranos at this point. Her voice is like honey, if a voice can ever be a food product? Her amazing version of Grief for Sin allows me to melt in situ. She also wore the most amazingly beautiful shoes, but maybe that was because it was the early 1950’s?
9. Naseer Shamma - Le Lute de Bagdad (Institut du Monde Arabe, 1999)
Evocative and haunting music made by the master of the oud. He has extended the technology of the oud by utilizing developments beyond its traditional setup, introduced innovations to the playing style by extending the technique of single hand playing, and he presents the instrument and the music within an expanding cultural paradigm that seems outside of anything found in contemporary western music. He is inspirational.
The trio of Michael Collins, Taraka Larson, and Nimai Larson met in the summer of 2007 on a Florida Hare Krishna farm, relocating to Boston and immersing themselves deep into the creation of ritualistic, holistic, and cinematic psychedelic sound. Having played shows in the US and UK with the likes of Teeth Mountain, Magik Markers, Indian Jewelry and others, their live sets have garnered a reputation for incorporating its audiences into the instrumental fold, and drawing musically from a rich variety of multicultural musical sources. Prince Rama’s debut LP for Paw Tracks comes out Sept. 14
1. Amon Duul - Collapsing
If a highway was to be constructed out of pure divine riff, Amon Duul would be the beat up monster truck that pummels across it at record speed. Collapsing is a blueprint laid out by the witchdoctors of chaos, alchemists of doom, and the arbiters of ecstasy, who constructed a palace for history to be housed, then threw a stick of dynamite through its window.
2. Scott Fitzgerald - Thunderdrums
We were camped out on the floor of some squat in Kansas City, and amidst the detritus of long abandoned art-school projects, toenail graveyards, and blind three legged dogs, a hand reached out to us holding a tape player blaring a warped and worn copy of Scott Fitzgerald’s Thunderdrums. The electro-odyssey of synth pan-flutes and drum machines sequenced to sound like some sci-fi Neptunian tribal ritual has since become the quintessential score to our long desert drives. Can you believe this guy was the same dude that scored the movie BABE? Like, what happened?
3. Abner Jay - One Man Band
We first met Abner Jay in a dumpster back in Gainesville, Florida, via some weary worn out records somebody unwittingly threw in the trash. On the cover was a grainy photo of the man layin’ on his belly drinking straight out of the Suwannee river. He was the self-declared last black minstrel, and wandered from Miami to Detroit in his log cabin RV spreading the good word about cocaine, unemployment, his 12 wives, and unspeakable numbers of children. After each song, we’re always perplexed whether or not we should be laughing hysterically, or bawling our eyes out.
4. Cambodian Cassette Archives (Sublime Frequencies)
This rare gem of sono-archaeology is mined from the most ghostly of dance halls. Teary-eyed divas dance on the dusty floors of some graveyard discotheque, singing love ballads to a vulture picking the flesh off the skeleton that was once a city. Flies swarm over eyes that once gazed at them with stars. The fact that the majority of the songs on this album were composed shortly before the Khmer Rouge massacred their singers makes these sad and beautiful tunes all the more heavy and haunted feeling.
5. Amen Dunes - DIA
If you ran a needle across the razor thin groove that forms the lining of all paradoxes, you will hear DIA. Somewhere in the raw outpouring of distorted guitars, blown out drums, and chaotic surfaces there is an underbelly of order that lures you in and reminds you that somewhere in this world of 99% dark matter, there is a figment of light, and within this figment, we structure our entire universe. The light world is hard to grasp though. The vocals on this album come through as urgent, full, and totally present, and yet, as soon as you try to decipher them, you realize they are too obscured in their reverb’d cloak to be anything but anonymous heralders of cryptic messages cried to an audience of everyone and no one. DIA may come across to some as a pop record, but as soon as you listen closer, you realize it might just be one of the most enigmatic mysteries you’ve ever heard.
6. Teeth Mountain - Teeth Mountain
Teeth Mountain came to Taraka in a dream. She literally dreamt of anatomical landscapes with mountains of teeth, and in her process of googling the symbology behind such aberrant imagery, she came across the band that would soon become Prince Rama’s eternal sonic brothers and sisters. Teeth Mountain was one of the first bands we ever played with, and this album will forever remind us of the countless memories we’ve shared with these dawgzz, while simultaneously making us forget that we even have a mind to remember... at the end of the record, all recollection of possessing a name, face, or identity is melted in the fire of infernal drums and drones, divinely transmuting us into some fleshless beings of pure sound.
7. Arundhati Devi Dasi - Unknown
Nimai and Taraka’s parents had this handmade cassette tape from the early 80s that they had recorded of this lady singing the most haunting of bhajans, which are sung sanskrit prayers. Recorded as an exerpt from a 24-hour long religious ritual in a temple in Vrindavan, India, Arundhati’s voice rings out like the ancient ripples of a holy river, summoning harmoniums, drums, cartels, and a choir of peacocks to wash over the pure golden light emanating from the dusty magnetic ribbons.
8. Indian Jewelry - Totaled
There isn’t much to say about this album except that it just rules. Plain and simple. You blare it out the broken window of your crunked-out-beat-up van on the long night shift and pump your fist to the score of fucking the world, and loving the world, and overall feeling like a badass.
9. Straight Shooter - Bad Company
About a year ago Nimai was working on this art project that involved gold spray paint, colored yarn and a muffin tin. She could tell when she started that she was going to need some musical inspiration. She explains: "I went to a thrift store to pick up something to listen to and immediately judged this record by its cover. How could it be bad? I was NOT disappointed when I played it. Confident guitars, hilariously masculine vocals, steady relentless drums... I quickly realized that I was going to be spinning this record not only while I work on art, but ANYTIME I want to feel like that dude who swaggers out of the bar after getting a hot lady’s number. Which is all the time."
10. Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
If pop was to grow fangs and feed on the blood of his lovers while still succeeding to woo them by day, these are the songs he’d sing on acoustic guitar under the balcony. This album will totally seduce you immediately, but then after listening to it for awhile, you realize your seduction is rooted in your own slow death; perhaps the power of this album lies the fact that it draws its strength not from the platonic ideal of eternal love, but from the utterly fleeting, painfully ephemeral, beautifully mortal experience of love as it arrests you in the arena of everyday.
By Dusted Magazine