HIGH FIVE FRIDAY #17 — THE ACTIVE LISTENER


NATHAN FORD
(THE ACTIVE LISTENER)

hand

PICK FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE SOUNDS YOU DEAL WITH

Artists Deserving Of Your Attention

PICK FIVE DECADES AND THE ONE SONG/ALBUM THAT DEFINES IT FOR YOU

1950s
Martin Denny — Exotica
I love how the exotica craze did its best to try and distort familiar musical forms into new and exotic shapes. It all seems incredibly tame now of course, but at the time must have seemed very alien.

1960s
The Beatles  — I’m Only Sleeping
Probably the first piece of psychedelic music that I was aware of at a young age, and the first song that I was consciously aware that there was something different about.

1970s
Neil Young – Tired Eyes
While the seventies is now remembered as the era of prog and disco, beneath the bluster and polyester, artists like Neil were plugging away with music like this that was at once deeply personal to the artist, but also painfully direct. 

1980s
David Bowie — Let’s Dance
This defines the eighties perfectly to me – shiny, tuneful and irresistible, but vacuous and lacking in depth. It’s a great surface level album with nothing below the surface.

1990s
Portishead — Sour Times
As a 14 year old when this was released, “Dummy” and specifically “Sour Times” were responsible for me discovering a world beyond guitars, and helped lead me up previously unexplored paths that included sampling, soundtracks, John Barry, electronica and in general gave me a wider awareness of how all of these things could slot together.

PICK FIVE ARTISTS/LABELS/PEOPLE THAT GIVE YOU FAITH IN MUSIC

Bill & Lisa Roe (Trouble In Mind Records)
Through a combination of hard work and great taste these two have managed to put together a label with a great, open-minded following which gives them the freedom to release pretty much anything they like (and they LOVE everything they release) in any genre without being shoehorned.

Spencer Hickman (Death Waltz Recording Company)
I’d always thought that I was alone in my love for horror soundtracks – turns out not, because Spencer’s amazing vinyl reissue label is going from strength to strength, with heaps of press attention, devoted fans, and it would seem, stacks of sales.

Alan Davison (The Kitchen Cynics)
Alan has an amazing back catalogue of over a hundred releases of uniformly excellent quality and is a totally unique songwriter in the vein of Roy Harper or Tom Rapp (who is a big fan). The quality and quantity of his work is unparalleled.

Kevin McFadin (Sunrise Ocean Bender)
Kevin’s Sunrise Ocean Bender blog tackles many of the albums that my own blog has a go at, only he writes about them far more eloquently than I could ever manage. He’s also just started an offshoot vinyl label, that with his fantastic taste will undoubtedly be full of gems.

Lee Hazelwood
Now I’m not the biggest Lee fan in the world, but the amount of high quality, previously unchampioned material of his that labels like Light in the Attic (who deserve a place on this list too) are finding to reissue gives me faith that there are plenty of other great albums from the past waiting to be resurrected and given their moment in the light in the near future.

PICK FIVE ESSENTIAL PIECES OF MUSICAL/SPIRITUAL ELEMENTS YOU LOOK FOR IN ARTIST TO SIGN/ WRITE ABOUT

Adventurousness
Balance of Tunefulness and Experimentation
Attitude/Gratitude
Not Just Another Reverb Band
Phasing!

PICK FIVE WORDS OF ADVICE FOR THE WEEKEND UP AHEAD

Visit An Independent Record Store

Check out the infinite source of information that is The Active Listener HERE

Listen to the latest Active Listener Sampler below:


Check out the labels’ latest release, Swiss Baroque Pop Alchemist Balduin‘s beautiful Post From Mars here.

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