Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: New Zealand legend Alastair Galbraith and D.C. producer Maxmillion Dunbar.
Listed: Alastair Galbraith + Maxmillion Dunbar
In the late 1970s a violin-toting teenager named Alastair Galbraith attended Sunday afternoon matinee concerts by The Clean that were sponsored by the Dunedin, New Zealand police to keep the kids out of trouble. The thrill of those shows impelled him to start his own band, The Rip, which recorded for Flying Nun, and before the 80s were done he’d bought a reel-to-reel 4-track and started recording solo for Xpressway. His quartet of albums recorded during the 1990s represent absolute peaks of haunted songcraft, while his work with A Handful Of Dust and Matt De Gennaro have explored the spirit-altering horizons of pure spontaneous sound. In 2006, Galbraith was named a Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand; he’s spent his prize building one-of-a-kind instruments like this Flame Organ and recording two more marvelous song-oriented albums, Orb and Mass.
My Top Ten 78 Sides!
1. Mezzrow-Bechet Quintet - “Groovin’ The Minor” (King Jazz, 1946)
Mezz Mezzrow - Clarinet. Sidney Bechet - Saxophone. Wesley (Sox) Wilson - Piano. Wellman Braud - Bass. Warren (Baby) Dodds - Drums.
Yay for Mez. I think he’s seriously underrated as a player - too much emphasis on his "story": Drug dealer to the jazz stars, black in a white body (aren’t all “humans”?). Here he shines; cascades of birdsong, liquid wooden notes bead in easy runs from his clarinet. The bass and drums march with a relentless single beat, while he and Bechet melt together then crystalize apart, spinning an angular melody tinged with Eastern weirdness ,magic and regret.
2. Kid Ory and His Creole Jazz Band - “Tiger Rag” (Vogue Records)
Kid Ory - Trombone. Joe Darensbourg - Clarinet. Albert Nicholas - Clarinet. Teddy Buckner - Trumpet. Lloyd Glenn-Piano. Ed Garland - Bass. Minor Hall - Drums.
Pure Joy! I can’t be unhappy while listening to this. Here’s every crazy smile, or hilarious dance -- the whole thing bucks and twitches with delight and energy! And as for the SOUNDS, the concept of modern high-fidelity has to be called into question when you hear these old 78s on a cheap, old, valve mono amp -- through a 4-inch speaker. Wooden instruments sound wooden and varnished, the vibration in the trombone brays like brass hammered by air, and there’s a UNITY OF EAR I find hard to describe. If a microphone is an ear-analogue, perhaps it’s a relief to only have a couple.
3. Lena Horne - “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child and Blue Prelude” (Festival Records)
Utter Desolation! Lena doesn’t give it too much. Not for an instant. Sings INTO herself, while a chromatic string orchestra swoops and glides like a series of tangential veils behind her. "Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone..." You’ll have slowed a notch or two after this, then “Blue Prelude” steps up and touches the blue bits of your heart with a cold finger - "I’m on my last go round" ... “All the love I could steal beg or borrow wouldn’t heal all the pain in my soul" .........."What is love but a prelude?"
4. Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra - “Perdido Street Blues” (Decca Records)
Dear Pops! I recently saw a heap of YouTube footage of Louis Armstrong and fell in love with his soul. Zilner Randolph describing how he’d come off the intermission really HIGH. and tell the audience "I’m ready. I’m ready. So help me I’m ready," and the folks just roared -- and laughed, too. And he was really ready -- Pops was ready (see "High Society - Pot and Jazz").The way Louis moved his face speaks to me of wry humble "ready" joy -- total human-ness. Here, he lets everyone have a play with the toy he invented -- the jazz solo -- and they all feel free to shine, permission granted by that "ready" beam.
5. Django Reinhardt and The Quintet of the Hot Club of France - “Topsy (Battle- Durham)” (Esquire Records)
This helps me to remember that life can be more exotic and intriguing than Taieri Mouth, like I’m in some sunny French movie, I’m with Miller and Nin in a Parisian club and the Hot Club are stretchin’, with a lazy cool, a still-sweet sangfroid. Bass and drums endlessly, jauntily descend an E,D,C,B staircase over and over, while the Reinhardts and Rostaing drift up over it like intertwining winds. Twirling ribbon motifs. Plenty to be grateful for.
6. Orquesta Antobal - “El Maraquero” (Columbia Records)
I’m a sucker for these threatening spicy Latin rhythms; the odd heavy staggering upbeat underpinning lots of trippin’ frothy play. The vocalist sounds groomed, urbane and slightly removed. Three minutes in a faraway and long-dead dance hall. Recommended.
7. Sidney Bechet and his New Orleans Feetwarmers - “Egyptian Fantasy” (His Master’s Voice, Swing Music 1944 Series No. 582)
Hear blue cries translated as scenery for an Egyptian fairytale, fluttering in noble lines, dignified austere wiggles. Again there’s an element of reaching for the exotic, defining a life that isn’t but could be. Can I live here, in this sound, please?
8. The Goons - “Bloodnok’s Rock and Roll Call” (Decca)
I’m with Jimi Hendrix on this one! No-one I’d rather trip with! "8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. / You’ve got to rock and roll with your old kit bag, but you mustn’t ever mention her name in the mess." If this song doesn’t twist a few smirks from you, you’re dead. Spotty Minnie Bannister gives Yoko a run for her money.
9. Coleman Hawkins - “Low Flame” (H.M.V.)
So laid-back, it’s half asleep. Soft, warm and easy. Every phrase is let down slowly onto its velvet bed. When this song was synthesized, the benzodiazepines were discovered.
10. Pipe Major Forsyth - “Flowers of the Forest” (Traditional)
Starts with this thin brogue announcing, “This is Pipe Major Forsyth, the King’s Piper speaking. I will now play you Flowers of the Forest." Everything after that is like an alien broadcast. A groaning cough of catscream as he squeezes his bag, then these thin, insistent slightly out-of-tune drones begin their assault, and he hammers a melody down with military precision. Unearthly. I stole it and slowed it down for "Forest Flower."
Maxmillion Dunbar is one of several projects helmed by Silver Spring, Maryland-based producer/DJ Andrew Field-Pickering. Among his other outlets, glitch-heavy hip-hop trio Food For Animals and nu-disco sample-swipers Beautiful Swimmers. He’s also the founder/co-owner of Future Times Records and the author of The Fader’s bi-weekly dance music column "Heal Yourself and Move." As Max D, Field-Pickering pairs screwed down tempos with lush, vibrant keyboards—reverb-heavy synth-boogie with a debt to Sleeping Bag, ‘80s house, and Compass Point Studios mastermind Wally Badarou. Cool Water is his first full-length release for U.K. based label Ramp Recordings (Zomby, Flying Lotus, Slugabed).
1. AZ - Doe Or Die
I’ve been listening to this album a lot lately. In general, I’ve been craving a ton of mid-1990s NYC shit lately: Group Home, Mobb shit. AZ is soooooo tight, and I don’t know why, but he never really struck me as amazing when I was younger and listening to this in earnest all the time. "Sugar Hill" is so smooth.
2. Autechre - Envane
All four tracks on this are amazing, but "Goz Quarter" takes the cake. I guess this was made back when their vibe was a little more melodic, or at least when the listener was able to re-hum melodies after they heard an Autechre song. I have this weird fantasy where I hire a horn section and do a live cover of this song, but c’est la vie. The long, off-kilter synth melody is in my head all the time, like Bobby McFerrin "Don’t Worry Be Happy" level stuck. Or...
3. Suzanne Vega / DNA - “Tom’s Diner” 12"
Bamas can get off me if they don’t fuck with this song. C’MON. That whole U.K. balaeric + Soul II Soul-style "big break with pianos and orchestra stabs" gets me somewhere special. It’s like, how did they turn THIS song into a banger?? Same goes for my Frank Ski 12" that is just the "do-do-do-dooo"s over and over again on top on 808 drums. HOW?
4. Slava - "Dreaming Tiger" b/w "World Of Spirits"
This is coming out in the next couple months on Future Times, and I just have to champion this shit. Slava is a dude in Brooklyn making some of the best music in the world right now. "World Of Spirits" is gonna blow people away.
5. Asa-Chang & Junray - Jun Ray Song Chang
"Hana" is one of the chillest vibes ever recorded. I almost went with the follow-up record to this one, because the first time I heard the first song on that one ("Toremoro"), I was smashed to pieces by how amazing the tune was. Just twist one and check that shit if you can find it. This is music made up of so many disparate parts; the fact that it comes together is awe-inspiring. "Hana" also has a chill video, which involves this one dude eating gum backwards while his body gives off acid trails.
6. 52nd St. - "Look Into My Eyes" 12"
This is just such a killer song, and Mike from Future Times just scooped me a copy, bless his heart. This is one of those songs you can play forever, at every party. "Can’t Afford" is also off the hook.
7. Jam City - "Ecstacy Refix"
I love Ecstacy’s original "Endgames" and this shit is its perfect modern counterpart; the meshing of one vibe within another. I’m really excited to get to the U.K. in November, and this song is one of many, many reasons why. I’m sure DJs work it out to this one! No one here plays shit like this.
8. Seefeel - Quique
I only heard about this a few weeks ago, and I’ve been jamming it a lot. I love shoegaze as a vibe and I definitely think people can see where it creeps in to Max D productions. This record has quickly grown into a bit of a Desert Island Disc for me. It’s funny, I never knew about this band. For years I’ve been wondering what a way-more-post-ravey and ambient My Bloody Valentine would be like.
9. Elektroids - Elektroworld
Scooped this in Japan (and scooping the Japanese is not easy :-)) on the cheap cheap at a punk record shop and I was fuckin’ ecstatic! This and all Drexciya-related business should be in the canon of things humans need to experience in my opinion. It’s music from such a special place, with such a wide reaching but almost incognito influence. R.I.P. James Stinson.
10. Miles Davis - Get Up With It
My track off this is "Rated X." I kind of assumed when I was younger that modern jazz groups like, say, Tortoise or some other shit like that were putting this authoritative avant-garde stamp on jazz, but the shit has always been in the hands of true freaks from the get-go. The way the tracks get muted and un-muted, Miles’ shades on the cover, the drone organ mania behind the whole track, it all is so inspiring and bonkers. I recently reconnected with this chilling with the homie Hunee in Berlin this summer. He had the complete Columbia boxset. I’m so jealous.
By Dusted Magazine