01. KING COLLEGE CHOIR let all mortal flesh keep silence
This was a hymn sung in the Catholic Church I attended as a child and its dark and gloomy quality set the mold for much of my future musical interests. I found this version on youtube.
02. YMA SUMAC tumpa (earthquake) 1950
My older sister owned this record when I was a child and the sound of it haunted me. I still find it beautiful.
03. THE DOORS the crystal ship 1967
I was not much interested in music in my pre-teens except for the most thuggish of the American garage bands and British Invasion groups: the Kinks, the Troggs, the Seeds, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Davie Allan and the Arrows, etc. But The Crystal Ship was the first song I heard on the radio that really spoke to me as being music of my generation – the psychedelic generation I guess I would say. I had never heard such a druggy morose pop song before. My second pick for #3 would be Janitor of Lunacy by Nico, for the same reasons.
04. FRANK ZAPPA weasels ripped my flesh 1970
This wall of pure noise was totally inspiring. It’s hard to imagine the Japanese noise scene without this. At this period I was just discovering electronic music: Steve Reich’s tape loop pieces, Morton Subotnik, Stockhausen, and Xenakis appealed to me in particular. Then Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music (1975) came out and put this kind of stuff into the pop music sphere – ‘Industrial’ music was born. But, as far as Zappa is concerned, my favorite Mother’s record is Absolutely Free (1967) which is a song collage and the individual tracks, in my opinion, don’t work as well outside of the entire flow of the record. And, it’s one of the funniest rock records of all time.
05. SUN RA atlantis 1967
I discovered Sun Ra in the early 70’s and Atlantis is one of my favorite tracks by him. This led to an infatuation with Free Jazz, particularly Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Ornette Coleman, and Alice Coltrane. Sun Ra was particularly influential on the sound of my first band Destroy All Monsters, formed in 1974.
06. DONNA SUMMER & GEORGIO MORODER i feel love 1977
This song blew me away; I thought it was genius and still do. It’s the first popular electronic dance song and is the genesis of the techno genre. The marriage of Summer’s sultry orgasmic vocals and Moroder’s cold electronic beats is a perfect marriage of opposites. Also, after I heard this I knew that the notion of ‘talent’ was over in pop music. Anybody who could turn on a synthesizer or drum machine could make pop music.
07. GRANDMASTER FLASH & FURIOUS FIVE scorpio 1982
I was fascinated by early Hip Hop. It proved my assertion that inexpensive electronics would usher in a new popular music form. Poor Black guys from the street with nothing but turntables, cheap electronic keyboards, and drum machines were making the most incredible, and funky, music. Too bad this early period of turntableism and cheap electronics was left behind with the ascendancy of rapping. I barely listen to Hip Hop now. All of that macho posturing bores me.
08. SUICIDE ghost rider 1977
This New York proto-punk band invented synthpunk and no one has ever outdone them. A vocalist and a keyboard player channel, and take to a new and dangerous level under the influence of the Stooges, the repetitious intensity of ? and the Mysterions.
09. ROD, TERI & THE MSR SINGERS the beat of the traps 1969
In the Seventies a friend of mine came across this album in a thrift store. I had never heard ‘song poems’ before. I had seen the ads in the back of cheap magazines that offered to produce songs, for a nominal fee, using lyrics sent in by anyone. What these records reveal is the secret soul of American culture. This is music no commercial record company would ever release, yet it is the true folk music of the period.
10. THE SHAGGS my pal foot foot 1969
another great example of real folk music found on a self-produced album of songs by a band made up of three teenage sisters. The Shaggs unique sound has the fractured beauty of the best of Albert Ayler or Captain Beefheart.