Welcome back to Rocket's irregular blog feature 'Multiple Exposure', where we ask various artists what their favourite pieces of 'repetitive' music are. This feature, we have the one and only Tom Furse from The Horrors.
Nina Simone - The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (live)
I’ve never tracked down a recorded version of this but the live version is mesmerising. Pained vocals, the tight beats that were later referenced by techno and two-chord minimalism make this something of a prescient piece, peering into the future of loop-based music. With Simone's pained vocal topping it off this is probably my favourite live performance I’ve ever found. Perfect.
William Onyeabor - Body And Soul
Onyeabor is experiencing something of a resurgence of late with the excellent Luaka Bop comp. I had heard of it sometime earlier via the also excellent Flash Strap blog. I loved it from the first play. That beat, that guitar, those keyboards.. Africa has much to teach us.
Anything of J Dilla’s Donuts
Absolute hands-down one of my favourite records of all time. The way Dilla takes a tiny snap of music and morphs it into something else is astounding. It really inspired me to go into my own records and see what nuggets could be pulled from within them. Essentially, he helped me see that a record can be an instrument too.
Stereolab - Space Moment
It’s hard for me to pick out a Stereolab song but this ones fairs fairly well in the repetition department. I think they’re on the most consistent bands of all time, I think there’s one song of theirs that I don’t love. Everything else I could listen to all day long.
Jan Hammer - Don’t You Know
Such a great song. Deceptively there’s not much going on but the harmonic interaction is so beautiful. I think this one’s a lost No.1.
David Axelrod - Holy Thursday
Predictable choice of his, probably his best known work (apart from the various famous samples). Based mostly on a simple movement between two adjacent chords, it’s a remarkable exercise in keeping the chords simple, something I’m really interested in. The playing on the track is superb too, Wrecking Crew players realising a genius.
Pulp - Common People
It’s the same fucking riff the whole way through and it’s magical. Perfect pop music.
Talking Heads - Born Under Punches
I recently read David Byrne’s ‘How Music Works’. I was really interested in the way they would just do jams on one chord and build up songs that way. Sometimes one chord is just what you need, but what they do within it is really special, a kind of warped funk taking into consideration music from all over the world.
Brian Eno - The Big Ship
Eno is a big inspiration for me, he keeps it simple but in such an interesting way, particularly when it comes to harmony and the core melody, which is usually something of an ear worm. This track always really grabs me and holds my attention.
Neu! - Fur Immer
This was my first knowing exposure to Neu!. I was blown away really, totally suckered in from the first listen. I have a notion that what Neu! did was realise a totally new form of music. Away from sub-genre’s and krautrock, this is actually a whole new way of people playing music together, in the same way that blues or jazz is. If you get in a room full of people and someone starts playing that beat, we all know what to do. You jam on one chord and make the most you can of it, it’s so simple yet can be so transcendent.
Add N To (X) - Plug Me In
I remember seeing the video for this when I was kid, I seem to remember it verging on hardcore pornography. This band was my gateway into the world of synthesis, and really there’s never been anyone else quite like them. Barry from Add N To (X) exposed me to a lot of great stuff and was hugely encouraging in my early synth endeavours.
Add N To (X)
Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir - Like A Ship
I’m not a religious person in any way, but I find some gospel very moving. It’s just so full of raw, triumphant soul. There’s something so pure about that, it’s just singing, the natural music of man.
Infiniti - Game One
I try and make music like this and 90% of the time it just falls flat on it’s face. It’s tracks like these that mean I always buy a Metroplex record if I see one.
LCD Soundsystem - All I Want
I’m a fan of songs with one riff the whole way through, I think if you can make it work it just leads to an insistence you can’t get from traditional chord structures. That lends itself well to a catchy melody, so if you can find the right one that doesn’t drive you insane after minute 2 then chances are everyones going to be humming it after they hear it for it for 6 minutes. While Eno and Bowie might have done it earlier, who gives a shit, this is just as good.
David Bowie - Heroes
And I guess this leads me on to the last track. Triumphant minimal pop at it’s absolute finest.