New York City foursome Hi Red Center have been
enthralling and confounding audiences since 2003, picking up sterling
reviews and multitudes of fans along the way. Out on the always excellent
Joyful Noise label, the band's sophomore effort, Assemble, recently
Matt Shimmer, establishing the quartet as "notable purveyors of
unusual rock music." Upon Matt's request, the band got together and
hammered out what they consider Ten Crucial Albums for you, our dear
readers. Continue on for the remarkably diverse results...
Our 10 crucial records in alphabetical
Boredoms - "Chocolate Synthesizer"
This album took everything that made the
Boredoms exciting - chaotic layers of rhythm and melody, insanely catchy
genre pastiche coupled with abrasive noise, incomprehensible collisions of
texture - and magnified and codified it into a statement that sounds both
quintessential and fresh. Their following albums were a big left turn into
different musical territory, leaving this album as the definitive
statement on this period in their music making.
Ornette Coleman - "The Shape of Jazz to
Turn it on, start with "Lonely Woman" and let
it play through to the end. Repeat. Everything you need from music can be
found on this disc.
Deerhoof - "Apple O"
This record represents slightly different
things to each of us, but the overarching result of the disc was to help
us realize that rock music was still a viable art form that still had a
lot to say today. The music that has since come from this band is
definitely a testament to the notion that rock can mean a number of
different things and can encompass a huge amount of influences and
energies while remaining vital and honest.
Eric Dolphy - " Out to Lunch!"
Out to Lunch! is such an amazing disc for a
number of reasons. What's really great is that while the tunes themselves
often sound positive or uplifting (listen to "hat and beard"), there is
still an underlying sense of tension in the music. Dolphy's playing is
full of intensity; wailing in both pain and ecstacy, he is supported by
the rich textures performed by his band. Bobby Hutcherson's vibraphone
playing is particularly instructive in that his use of repetition and
texture helps to ground Dolphy's instrumental excursions while adding to
its drive. The conflict between an outwardly positive sound and the
group's underlying effort and occasional hints at weariness and depth make
this record extraordinarily compelling.
Gorge Trio - "Open Mouth, O' Wisp"
This disc is really special because there's a
ton of information being packed into a small amount of space. Its so
concise and perfect and continues to offer rewards after years of
listening. Not only do each of the songs hold up on their own, but the
record as a whole holds together amazingly well with each piece flowing
effortlessly (and necessarily) into the next. Fantastic.
Neutral Milk Hotel - "In the Aeroplane
over the Sea"
Though constructed of very simple elements,
"In the Aeroplane..." manages to say a lot with very little. Everything
comes off in a very straightforward fashion, but all of the layers add up
to something much larger. The way it was recorded, very audibly low-fi,
also helps to augment the immediacy of the lyrical and musical content a
lot without being self-concious.
Scott Tuma - "The River 1 2 3 4"
Scott Tuma creates lush soundscapes with
acoustic guitar, harmonica, and fantastic swathes of reverb in this
record. Clicks and background hum and noise often enter into the texture,
adding to its shimmer while giving the listener a sense of "place" in the
music. The effect is beautiful, if haunting. Nostalgia and memories about
some forgotten distant past creep through and are gradually destroyed and
blurred away through the layers of reverb, hiss, and time.
Spontaneous Music Ensemble- "Karyobin"
The spontaneous music ensemble was a rotating
group of musicians (mostly based in London) in the mid 1960s who were
concerned with exploring the limits of improvisation. Though there are a
bunch of records documenting their work, we feel this album is the
pinnacle of their time together, and has some of the best musicians on it.
It offers extremely instructive lessons in ensemble playing, listening,
and creative approaches to coaxing conventional and unconventional sounds
out of acoustic instruments. The emphasis here is on a group texture and
aesthetic that is created through individual approaches, oftentimes with
the result being quiet and introspective. With the late Derek Bailey
(guitar), John Stevens (drums), Dave Holland (bass), Evan Parker
(saxophone), this album is a fantastic document of amazing improvisational
talents working together and is a special experience every time you listen
Squarepusher - "Feed Me Weird Things"
While Big Loada's Journey to Reedham may be
the one track to put on endless repeat, Feed Me Weird Things is
Jenkinson's most complete album and is classic Squarepusher- meaty, epic,
dazzling, danceable, and widely imitated.
Varèse - "The Complete Works"
Edgar Varèse saw musical structure from a
wholly different perspective than any who had come before him, and
arguably, all who have come after. His treatment of pitch, timbre, and
texture as formal elements revolutionized music composition. While his
innovations with instrumental music were far-reaching, his experiments
with and use of electronics helped pave the way for many composers and
musicians to come.
Published March 11, 2009
HI RED CENTER ONLINE |
HI RED CENTER