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Thursday, January 08, 2004  
100 Records In 100 Sentences; Part 1a - 50 Albums

The Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady
The only ‘punk’ record I can really care for because the situationism and rage were tied to space and context; heartbreak never is.

Susumu Yokota – Sakura
Space, at last.

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
In which a real human being reaches the bottom of the well and then slowly begins to emerge, battered, timid, but unbeaten and unbowed.

Dave Douglas – Charms Of The Night Sky
Some kind of Sunday-morning dream, peacefully strange; accordion, acoustic bass, violin, trumpet and plenty of time.

Specials - Specials
I would dance in a club like this, piss-flavoured beer or not; Hall and Dammers heroes through and through.

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
Because “Keep The Customer Satisfied” rocks harder and says more about the working grind than The Sex Pistols ever did.

Morphine – Cure For Pain
Bass, drums, saxophone, voice; so simple.

PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Redemption of a kind, a city and a woman ablaze with something approaching love and freedom.

Scott Walker - Tilt
The disintegration of a voice, insects scratching at your cerebellum, an unrecognisable darkness that still maintains its grandeur and wealth, eating the factory-farm.

Wire – Chairs Missing
Men become insects, guitars become synthesisers, 9-5 becomes unbearable, angled like scaffolding tilted away from the sun, sweating and muttering under breath.

Cornelius - Fantasma
Reflecting and refracting ourselves back at us through a thousand fairground mirrors, not understanding the jokes but laughing anyway and enjoying it all the more.

Genius/Gza – Liquid Swords
Fearless and proud and more given to fierce intelligence and fantastical midnight flights than the others.

Talking Heads – Remain In Light
Not drowning but waving!

Primal Scream - Screamadelica
Passed now into nostalgia territory, but ten years ago this was the future.

Bark Psychosis - Independency
Only little broken things, but how beautiful, how awesome, how locked into the future.

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
New York wakes up, and the rest of the world follows, unevenly.

Massive Attack – Protection
A thousand hours lost to a sofa in soporific idleness, even The Doors can’t (quite) spoil it.

The Pixies – Surfer Rosa
It’s (still) like being punched in the face – I fully intend, if I ever have a son, to sit him down on his thirteenth birthday and play him this.

Cocteau Twins – Treasure
In a lucid dream you cannot adjust light levels or read digital displays; Liz Fraser doesn’t even need words to take you there.

Plaid – Double Figure
An actual (microcosmic) epic, a street map, a city inside your motherboard, a dozen ways or more to travel; “Squance”!

Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life
A record absolutely bursting with love and positivism through every second, every note, every utterance.

Charles Mingus – Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
In which Charles takes his own essence and replays it, better than before, with a bigger, bolder swing.

Pulp – Different Class
The coach on the back cover is from the town I went to school in and the band come from the same city as my family; details like this are important.

Various Artists – The Stax Story
Almost a hundred different ways to be brilliant.

Dusty Springfield – Dusty In Memphis
Poor Dusty, distracted by sex and confused by love, holding the most sensual voice of all in her hands but having no one to sing to, no one to listen, not really.

Brian Eno – Another Green World
The silliest little pop songs and the most beautiful passings of sound, shuffled together so they make sense.

Four Tet - Pause
The outside world inside, painted with the finest stolen brush, which no longer holds a point.

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul
“Walk On By” is stretched to twelve amazing, psychedelic-soul minutes, and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” includes a 9-minute spoken-word preamble; how can this not be outstanding when I’m left rolling on the floor each time I listen to it?

Jeff Buckley - Grace
If for nothing else than the first 45 seconds, and the moment when, pleading to be kissed into stupor, Jeff falls away entirely in “Last Goodbye”.

De La Soul – 3ft High & Rising
Ten years old; sixteen years old; twenty-four years old; it still delights, and “Eye Know” is still perfect.

Charles Mingus – The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady
Walking through a beguiling dream of someone glimpsed, so many voices all describing the same feeling, the same person, but from different times.

Can – Ege Bamyasi
Aliens making pop music, and making it better and weirder and longer than anyone else (except four Germans and a Japanese busker).

The Verve – A Northern Soul
I ran out to buy red jeans, but, finding none, settled for a red jacket instead.

Orbital – In Sides
I skipped school to listen to it and had my perspective on music, on life, vibrantly changed.

Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
Too much, too far, too sparse, like listening in on something you shouldn’t; and then there is “New Grass” and it makes sense.

Talk Talk – Spirit Of Eden
The sigh of all time, but not just that; the balm and, more importantly, the tumult.

Orbital – “Brown”
Lost in the dancefloor, after the dancefloor, never been to the dancefloor, doesn’t matter; this is extraordinary and has been with me since I was 16.

Spiritualized – Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Begged from my brother the day before release (he worked for the distribution company and had a dozen copies in the boot of his car) and listened to prone on the bedroom floor before I ran off to play football; I didn’t utter a single word for the duration of the kickabout match, which is unusual for me…

The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Laying in bed as a ten-year old, hearing this tumble from my eldest brother’s bedroom, and I hated it; I’ve listened to and enjoyed it more than anything else in the years since though.

Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
The chocolate factory reborn as a disquieting daydream, childhood scares almost come back behind you.

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way
The sea from Tarkovski’s Solaris made into sound three years earlier, awakening quiet dreams and giving them substance.

Bark Psychosis - Hex
Not just urban or suburban, Hex is evocative of everything, every crepuscular glimmer and downward glance, rendered in smoke.

Primal Scream – XTRMNTR
The 21st century starts with a steel riot, burnt metal and German rhythms and laughable Scottish 40-somethings posing like teenagers.

Michael Head & The Strands – The Magical World Of The Strands
Some scouse smackhead’s strange folk dream of boats leaving port and trees waving upside-down, elementally beautiful.

The Clash – London Calling
Aged 19 and laid-up with chickenpox, this was all I could stand to listen to (very quietly through headphones); it’s all about the trumpets, and the bass, and the drums, and digging a ditch.

Tricky - Maxinquaye
Caught in a web but the spider is dead, forgotten sex and remembered emptiness.

Teenage Fanclub – Grand Prix
Three different ways to love and all of them charmed, sweet and harmonious; bought on a whim on a Christmas Eve and cherished ever since, an accidental favourite.

Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Snotty BBC presenter: “Hammersmith Odeon? Are you ready for the Def Jam tour?!” and Hammersmith Odeon is not; the world is not.

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
I’ve never been to New York, but I want to.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Simply swoonsome; there is little more to say that hasn’t already been uttered better elsewhere, by people who know what they’re talking about; it sounds exactly as the cover looks, and that is all I have to offer.


1/08/2004 11:39:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005