By Jonathan Barnbrook
David Bowie – Neukoln – Low
I find this a truly desolate song, the expression of emptiness in music is something that has always describes perfectly Berlin at the time the wall was up. The hopes of humanity dashed weighed down under political ideology.
John Foxx – A Blurred Girl – Metamatic
One of the songs on one of the most important albums of my youth. Again the feeling of desolation in this song, here it is also imbued with a feeling of romanticism and that adolescent pain of your life being in front of you but not being able to possibly imagine what it would be. Both John’s music and graphic work continuue to influence me even today.
Tuxedomoon – Luther Blissett – Cabin in the Sky
Worth looking up what the title means (not just an 80s footballer). Have been lucky enough to design a cover them as I have like the band since i was 14. I love the way this song moves along. Again Tuxedomoon, a band that have stayed true to their purpose.
Gazelle Twin – Belly of the beast – Unflesh
Love her music, dark, visceral, this is both a great tune and has a great sense of doom. It also features the most creative use of a supermarket checkout bleep ever, seriously the subversion of an everyday sound is what really adds to the tension.
November Növelet – Awakening – Magic
Just a reminder that not everything good appears on Spotify. One of my favourite bands of the past few years. Really intimate minimal music.
http://www.novembernoevelet.de / LISTEN: November Növelet – Awakening
Purcell – Funeral Sentences for the Death of Queen Mary – Music for Queen Mary
Many will recognise this music from the film ‘A clockwork Orange’ and that is where I first discovered it. I love the version for the film by Wendy Carlos, but it is a such a complete piece of music, a masterpiece of grief, that the orchestral version adds a completely different human dimension to it.
Velvet Underground – Sister Ray – White Light / White heat
I know a very obvious track, but this still sounds fresh and whenever I hear some really crappy bit of manufactured pop this is one of the tracks I turn to, to make the world alright again. The balance of music and noise in the song is incredible, it stays just on the side of collapsing completely.
Underworld – Dark & Long – Dubnobasswithmyheadman
From one of the most perfect electronic albums ever made, this has the perfect balance of danceability and humanity. I find Underworld’s lyrics some of the most witty I have listened to, wide ranging in reference, subversive and full of specific meaning to someone growing up in the UK in the past 20 years.
William Burroughs – Dead Souls – In Dub
A dub album featuring William Burroughs? what is not to like? He really influenced my design work when I was a student with his writings about the future of language, this is a little more digestible, his gravelly voice is so distinctive. I could never tell whether he was being sarcastic about everything or nothing.
John Foxx and the The Belbury Circle – The Right Path – EP Empty Avenues
I love some of John Foxx’s later music – I find it optimistic, poetic, reflective. This track I love because of the collaboration as Ghost Box are also one of my favourite record labels. too. The music, has so many references _ 70s children’s TV, Jean Michel-Jarre.
Revolution Dub – Lee Scratch Perry and the Upsetters – Revolution Dub
We forget how important reggae and dub music has been in the history of Electronic music, amazing creative use of the studio and the full exploration of the theme of a song. I also have always just loved reggae, mainly because in tone it was the opposite in mood of the minimal electronic music I listened too. It wasn’t filled with darkness, but just asked you to live in the moment.
David Bowie – Memory of a free festival – David Bowie
I put this in to finish as my list is, shall we say, somewhat dark. It is just a really simple song, the lyrics are almost like a nursery rhyme but it is so evocative of summer day when the window is open, you are with the person you love and you feel just a little bit in tune with nature. I remember saying to Bowie about how much I liked it, he said it was ‘a bit hippy’ but was really happy I liked it. This song gives me hope, that despite all of the trauma we face in our lives that there we are naturally an optimistic species and we find a way forward.
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