Frank Zappa: Echidna’s Arf (Of You)
(from LP ‘Roxy And Elsewhere‘)
This thrilling live performance which features many insanely talented musicians (including vibraphone virtuoso Ruth Underwood, who can play many a complicated four-beater flourish without turning her half-lidded eyes towards the instrument) should be essential listening for anyone who is thinking of starting a band and playing a few gigs. Too many evenings of my life have left me tarnished and alone in Camden, having just witnessed more sub-Keane drivel of the lowest order. Why is accomplished musicianship frowned upon these days? It’s ok if you want to write a book or a film with loads of twisty turns, but most new bands are scared of doing this for fear of alienating the ageing punks who police the music industry. Unless you can replicate something of this majesty, please leave the red guitar well alone and spend your pocket money on something else from the Argos catalogue.
Gentle Giant: Interview
(from LP ‘Interview‘)
When you think this track has peaked, a deranged double-piano chord jamboree kicks in and renders everything else in your iPod buzzy, brittle and trendy.
Kimitaka Matsumae: Dekanime Theme
Underexposed computer-game- and TV-theme-writing musician from Japan: the most colourful, joyous electronic music ever made. Someone should play this to the laptop-and-cracked-software melancholy electronica brigade who keep trying to remake Autechre’s Amber LP decades after it was exciting.
Van Dyke Parks: Datsun Commercial
One of the most stunningly orchestrated pieces of music ever written, and an achingly pastoral slice of Americana into the bargain. For some reason, KFC’s ad agency hasn’t recycled it yet.
Amit Lissack: Things
(from LP ‘I Accept Your Condemnation’)
For some reason this Meshuggah-loving legend holds a mysterious job in the computer industry and only writes music in his spare time. I could have chosen any track from him, but this one showcases his prodigious talent and wit in a concisely presentable way. If I could wave a magic wand, I would send Black Rebel Motorcycle Club into his office, give him a day to hand over his work to them and then give Mr Lissack the shot of fame these major-label indie-charlies received. Download all his albums for free from his wonderful website: www.amitlissack.com