Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Chicago drone artist Ken Camden and Toronto psych-folk mom Melissa Boraski.
Listed: Ken Camden + Eiyn Sof
Lethargy & Repercussions, the 2010 debut of Chicagoan Ken Camden, is a platter of one-take mastery, echoing classic synthesizer explorations via guitar and effects in discrete cosmic sojourns with some Eastern flourishes. Before his departure for Chicago, Camden cut his teeth in Western Pennsylvania with adventurous instrumental rock outfits Meisha and Arco Flute Foundation. His connections to the keystone state continue to bear fruit: Camden has contributed to albums by former Meisha/Arco bandmate Mike Tamburo, and currently plies his trade with the quartet Implodes, which features a pair of fellow Iron City alums. Implodes’ debut will be released on Kranky later this year.
In no particular order
Faust - Faust IV (Virgin, 1973)
People doing whatever the hell they want has never come together so beautifully in album form. This covers so much ground, but still maintains a powerful mood throughout. Plus some of the most fried guitar tones of all time.
Harmonia - Musica von Harmonia / Deluxe (Brain, 1974/1975)
This is one of the most successful collaborations of three distinct musicians forming one organic, awe inspiring sound. Guitar and electronics have never melded together so well.
Raymond Scott - Soothing Sounds For Baby (Epic, 1962)
Finest early example of spaced-out playful electronics. Every time I get too serious about music, I throw this on to keep me in check.
Stars of the Lid - Avec Laudenum (Kranky, 1999)
The best musical account of a drug experience ever captured on tape. Swirling beauty, nauseating discomfort and pleasant relief. Your favorite classical piece slowed down to a fraction of its original speed.
Folk Rabe - What?? (Dexter’s Cigar, 1970)
Incredible level of control and restraint in this electronic piece by the Swedish composer. This includes the most uplifting finish after 20 minutes of subtle, yet intense electronic drone dissonance.
György Ligeti - Lux aeterna (1966)
Astonishing vocal piece for 16 voices. Interwoven haunting, dissonant vocal chords with beautifully light ones in a seamless composition. This drastically changed the way I view musical composition.
Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch with Your Mind (Munster, 1991)
Yes, this a compilation, but to me the rough takes of “Suicide” and “Repeater” are the best out there and sparked my continuing obsession with tremolo as a rhythmic foundation.
Fripp & Eno - No pussy Footing / Evening Star (EG, 1973/1974)
Robert Fripp was the first guitar player I heard who instead of deriving his guitar scales from blues and rock decided to re-invent the instrument to execute his own vision. Brian Eno reminds me that we should strive to make thoughtful musical decisions instead of relying on technical ability.
Alice Coltane - Universal Consciousness (Impulse! 1971)
Beautiful modal organ shredding over top of tamboura? Yes, please! This is a wonderful example of musical eclecticism and has taught me to shamelessly include and combine all musical forms that interest me.
Terry Riley - Descending Moonshine Dervishes (Kuckuck, 1982)
52-minute solo concert recording from 1975 performed in live delayed stereo! This record was the building block for most of my ideas for live performance and stereo recording.
Though she had been a contemporary gospel singer in her teens and had played around Toronto in assorted projects (including The Real Priscillas), Melissa Boraski only really got going as Eiyn Sof after a thoroughly domestic conundrum: getting bored at home with her kids. Simultaneously playing folk songs around the house and dabbling with her boyfriend’s Juno 60 synthesizer, Boraski gradually weaved them together over the course of the last five years to produce the ethereal folk found on her first full-length, Bloodstreams, out now on Blue Fog.
Listed chronologically according to personal history:
1. John Michael Talbot - For The Bride
My folks are hippies-turned-Christians and so is John Michael Talbot, and this is a record I heard a lot of while growing up. JMT’s aural interpretation of Heaven is lush: classical/folk guitar on choral and orchestral arrangements. Not mind-blowing, but sweet, and I always found it compelling that he was attempting to make a soundtrack for the after-life with this record.
2. Peter Best - Crocodile Dundee [Original Soundtrack]
Not trying to be ironic or whatever. He created a lot of mood with very few elements, usually arranged sparsely, and the opening piece in particular had a heavy effect on me as a kid. The rhythms were a little like heart beats and there was something sort of creepy about it, which was appealing to me.
3. The Rolling Stones - Intro to “Gimme Shelter” (as heard on the Adventures in Babysitting soundtrack)
Probably not even half a minute long in the movie, this piece totally dazzled me as a 10- or 11-year-old kid. Those “oooh’s” and that tremolo-y, reverb-y electric guitar … euphonic mysticism.
4. Patti Smith - “Birdland” (from Horses)
There was a time when I sat on my bedroom floor and listened to this over and over and over again; I think it’s how I learned to get high and get lost in a piece of music. There’s a real sense of space in this song that gives you room to experience everything that’s happening.
5. The Raincoats - The Kitchen Tapes
Cleverness is bursting out the seams on this record; I find it almost facetious, and endearingly imperfect, and their songs are just really well written.
6. Takao Minekawa - Cloudy Cloud Calculator
Playful and quirky, but recorded crisp and pristinely; a really fun listen. This was the first and one of the few full-on electronic records that’s made its way into my music collection.
7. Sheila Chandra - Moonsung
This retrospective of her career up until 1999 is a great showcase of her vocal versatility. A cappellas and drones, spectacular vocal percussion ... I’ve been singing along to it for 10 years now to try to copy what she’s doing, but I haven’t yet.
8. Johnny Greenwood - “Moon Trills” (from Bodysong)
It’s shimmery, entrancing, and a breathtakingly beautiful piece of music; possibly my all-time favorite. I listen to it whenever I go walking, and believe you me, it sure makes grocery shopping a little more magical.
9. Iris Dement - Infamous Angel
Nothing particularly explorative or colorful about the production here for my taste, but this album resonates with me in a big way on an emotional and singer-songwriter level. The lady can write and sing about human relationships and heartache in a way that just breaks me and humbles me.
10. Alice Coltrane - “Journey in Satchidananda” (from Journey in Satchidananda)
It’s cosmic and transporting; a real experience. Only heard it recently, but it made me put everything I’d been thinking about musically on pause and get submersed, and to want to get submersed a little more often.
By Dusted Magazine