You can now download The Flyers’ Mind, a fifteen minute audio landscape which celebrates our fifth anniversary.
Distortions is now available. Featuring remixes by Mark Fell (SND), The Haxan Cloak, Scald Rougish (Dalglish, O.S.T.), zK, Subsea, HXDK, Secret Killer of Names & Greg Reason.
I just read Diamanda Galás’ thirteen favourite albums on the Quietus and found it very interesting so I thought it would be cool to post mine along with a bit of commentary on each.
The Beatles - Revolver
Undeniably the greatest band ever to exist, and hugely influential to me in so many ways. Revolver has been my favourite for a long time because moreso than any of their other works it’s absolutely brimming with imagination and has so many incredible flavours. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is a work of genius. They were all at their best on this one.
Coil - Black Antlers
It’s difficult to choose a favourite Coil album, and I nearly picked Musick to Play in the Dark but Black Antlers was a really big deal to me when I first heard it and it still resonates in it’s own odd way. It’s been denigrated as a weak effort by many Coil fans which I think is very unfair. There’s a genuinely unsettling strangeness here that really affects me, that goes straight to the gut, and there are moments of transcendance like ‘Wraiths and Strays’. The only track I’m not big on is ‘All the Pretty Little Horses’ but I never liked Current 93 so that makes sense.
Autechre - Draft 7.30
To my mind, this is the greatest electronic music in existence. Ae never cease to amaze me with their sound design but this one boggles the mind with the sheer complexity of the programming as well. It just takes me to another place, something like the depths of a mushroom trip, where all the walls are bending and objects turn to liquid.
Meshuggah - Catch 33
Few metal bands can match what these guys do. Aside from the obvious technical brilliance, Meshuggah put a really dark, twisted psychedelia into their work that really gets you on a psychological level. This album seemed to crystalize that better than any of their other works, and it makes me laugh aloud hearing the ingenuity of some of these pieces.
Devin Townsend - Infinity
When I was in school I’d already been listening to City by Strapping Young Lad and at that point it was the most vast, most intense, heaviest thing I’d ever heard. Then a friend of mine played me this and it sounded like God had torn the clouds apart and bellowed down to Earth. The shock of that has never worn off and I still consider this Devin’s strongest work. Terria comes a very close second, but there are moments of bliss on this he has never reached since.
Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
As with Coil, it’s difficult to choose a favourite from Mingus as all of his records are so enjoyable. This one has some absolutely incredible arrangements as usual but the tape splicing adds another flavour that I really enjoy and the inclusion of nylon-string guitar gives it more unique appeal also. Mingus is the greatest composer in Jazz history as far as I’m concerned… He took the traditional and hurtled it into the future, but with intelligence and sensitivity.
John Coltrane - Ascension
This one is harrowing, intense and difficult but at the same time there is an exquisite beauty that bubbles underneath the surface. It can be hard work listening to this but once you catch a glimpse of that peace beneath the layers, it really gives you something you can’t get elsewhere. Trane put so much soul into everything he did and more than any of his other works this was hugely important to me over the years.
Dead Can Dance - Towards the Within
Easily the most powerful musical force to have any connection with Australia, Dead Can Dance are so emotionally affecting I find it difficult to listen to some of their work when I’m not in a strong frame of mind. They cut so deep, it’s impossible to describe how affecting their music can be. It resonates with an almost inhuman power, it seems to conjure stronger forces than we can comprehend. No record summarises that power more than this live release. This has been the soundtrack to some horrifying moments for me, it has taken me from Hell to Heaven.
Neurosis - The Eye of Every Storm
This is perhaps the most subtle of all Neurosis records but still contains the turbulent might that they are known for. I love how much time this record spends in deep space, exploring inner worlds with a gentle touch that allows for a more extensive contemplation than the paint-stripping doom of Times of Grace or Through Silver in Blood. I have an immense love for these guys and I feel like they’re one of the most focussed, uncompromising and greatest groups around.
Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Like pretty much everyone else, I worship The Dark Side of the Moon but I could just never get enough of Ummagumma. I remember buying the vinyl for a couple of dollars at a book fair with my mother and staring at that beautiful photo of their equipment while catching the train home. The live record is some of the most exquisite dark psychedelia I’ve ever heard, and it took me years but now I really feel the studio record as well.
Peter Gabriel - Up
‘Signal to Noise’ is one of the most powerful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. This whole album made a huge effect upon me, especially the absolutely stunning production. It seemed like every piece was so immaculately crafted that I would be hearing new layers of sound every time I listened. But beyond all that, Peter has such emotion in his voice, he projects the deepest feelings just from the timbre let alone the words. A profound experience.
Tori Amos - Scarlet’s Walk
This one really passed me by when it first came out. I was obsessed with From the Choirgirl Hotel and all it’s dazzling electronica so when I heard this I felt a little let down. A year or so later I realized what an intense record it was, and the beautiful and barren musical landscapes made so much more sense after visiting the south of America. There are pieces on here of immense power (‘I Can’t See New York’) and such devastation (‘Gold Dust’, ‘Strange’) that I can’t believe I was so stupid as to not recognize it’s brilliance immediately.
DJ Krush - Jaku
I love Hip-Hop and have stacks of records from people like Public Enemy, The Roots, DJ Shadow, Wu-Tang Clan, J Dilla, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Nas, etc… but none of them quite get to me in the same way Krush does. I think it’s that I’m so obsessed with darkness, as Krush goes to some strange and unsettling places in his music that few Hip-Hop artists would dare to touch upon. Cypress Hill moved in that direction on Temples of Boom but after talking to Muggs about it I realized that was a once-off sort of experiment. Krush, however, spends much of his time in those troubling landscapes and I love him for it.
Greg Reason, August 2012