1. György Ligeti | Clocks And Clouds (Performed by Cappela Amsterdam, Conductor: Daniel Reuss)
This is the perfect piece. There’s something about the way Rhythm dissolves into a focus on Timbre that is mindboggling, very moving, and timely. Much of Ligeti’s work informs what I wish to do in one way or another.
2. Autechre | 1 1 is
I love all of Autechre’s work. So I chose 1 1 is because it is one of the more recent tracks by Autechre that really struck me. In a way, it has a Ligeti quality to it – supertech Ligeti. Autechre has managed something unprecedented.
3. Dreamsploitation | Those Red Strings Found Feathers From The Fountain
From the EP Jupiter Flight. Like many of the artists I’ve included on this list, I find it hard to choose a single track. What struck me about Jupiter Flight was the busyness of the opening tracks and the serene, meticulousness of the closing track Those Red Strings Found Feathers From The Fountain. This track is for three electric guitars performed in three separate takes respectively by Chuck Blazevic directly to 1” tape. Beautiful.
4. Einojuhani Rautavaara | Cantus Arcticus (Performed by Rotterdam Philharmonic; Conductor: Robin Ticciati)
Cantus Articus’ marriage of Orchestral Music (somewhat conservative for 1972) with Birdsong on magnetic tape is very beautiful. The piece has sparked many ideas for us. Rautavaara inspired us to work more and more with Birdsong.
5. Flying Lotus | All In
+ Getting There (feat. Niki Randa)... It’s hard to isolate tracks from Flying Lotus’ work. It’s pretty much all perfect. Cosmogramma is a perfect album and so are Until The Quiet Comes and You’re Dead!. The way All In and Getting There open Until The Quiet Comes is striking. The short film collaboration with Kahlil Joseph is very beautiful.
6. Zachary Gray | Myrtle Beach
Zachary Gray’s Music is really beautiful and sophisticated stuff. Again, it’s hard to pick a single track from his work, but Myrtle Beach sticks out and in some ways is emblematic of what I like most about his work: patient, perfectly sculpted harmonic material counterpointed by perfect beats.
7. Squarepusher | 50 Cycles
I love Squarepusher. Seeing him play in Toronto a few years ago recently made Christina and me love him even more. It’s tough to choose a single track when you love an artist’s work so much. 50 Cycles however is one of the ultimate Electronic vocal deconstructions. Absolutely remarkable.
8. Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizâdeh, Kayhan Kalhor, Homayoun Shajarian | Ham Avazi Shushtari
I react strongly to Persian Classical Music for its rhythmic complexity and overall intensity. Masters Of Persian Music is a kind of musical dream; some of the greatest Iranian classical musicians of the past century (Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizâdeh, Kayhan Kalhor, and Homayoun Shajarian) play in this group. They brought one of the most beautiful and rich traditions of Music to an international audience. It is mastery at its peak.
9. Shadow Huntaz | Medic
An amazing track by a virtuosic project. Shadow Huntaz were introduced to us by our friend, composer and radio host Ian-Doig Phaneuf – and I’m forever thankful. Medic was the first track I heard and it hits harder with every listen. Totally exquisite stuff.
10. Laurie Spiegel | Appalachian Grove II
Spiegel is a genius. Christina introduced me to Spiegel’s work and I immediately went and arranged two or three new works out of the sheer excitement of hearing this work for the first time. She combines serious Tech Innovation with Musicality in a way that few others did in early Electronic Music. This track really changed the way I think about Electronic Music and what it can do.
1. Clark | Growls Garden
Clark is a major influence for us. Body Riddle and Turning Dragon are amazing and I might as well have added many tracks from these two albums to the list. Clark’s more recent work, too, is great (Iradelphic, Clark, and The Last Panthers). Growls Garden, though, from Totems Flare manages to be simultaneously memorable, catchy, abrasive, terrifying, and beautiful. I think Totems Flare is a masterpiece. Excellent stuff.
2. Nick Drake | River Man
Almost indescribably beautiful. The guitar and string arrangement are lovely. Nick Drake’s short career is astonishing. The Sadness and Depth of his performances are very palpable. River Man is beautiful and something much more; I wish I had a word for this. There’s something to the line Oh, how they come and go... that amounts to more and more. It’s a vast line.
3. Sergei Rachmaninoff | All-Night Vigil (Vespers) (Performed by Robert Shaw Festival Singers; Conductor: Robert Shaw)
In particular Robert Shaw’s 1990 recording. These performances were life changing for me. It is among the most beautiful, sustained and ethereal Choral works put to record.
4. Joni Mitchell | Woodstock
Joni Mitchell’s career is astounding. I chose Woodstock based on a live performance I saw that was flawless. Really, all Mitchell’s work should be on this list. I also really, really love her 1979 album Mingus.
5. The Underachievers | Herb Shuttles
I chose Herb Shuttles because it was the track that initially caught my attention. It is like Hip Hop from a radio signal that is picking up transmissions from the Spirit World. All of Indigoism is incredible and eerie.
6. You’ll Never Get To Heaven | You’ve Got The Sun
After listening to the Canadian duo You’ll Never Get To Heaven a couple years ago I realized that I was experiencing something brilliant. This is recorded Sound and recorded History as Sculpture. Clark is also an audible sculptor; but while Clark sculpts Kinetics, You’ll Never Get to Heaven sculpts Historicity. The songs are beautiful, spectral, and haunting.
7. Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man | Mysteries
Among her best performances on record. Gibbons is unrivaled in her ability to communicate Affect. I’m a huge fan of her solo work and would love to hear more. Portishead’s Third is also one of my favorites. The early Portishead work is also amazing.
8. Cocteau Twins | Pink Orange Red
Elizabeth Fraser is a god and I discovered her work with Cocteau Twins relatively late (I first heard her collaborations with Massive Attack from the late 90s). Everything she does is gold.
9. Björk | Cocoon
Vespertine is one of the most subtle, nuanced, and beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. Cocoon is like Metonymy for the full album: an absolutely gorgeous and sensitive performance.
10. Vangelis | Rachel's Song (with Mary Hopkin) (Blade Runner Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Vangelis’ soundtrack for Blade Runner is amazing. Rachel’s Song, for me, is the standout track. The way it ebbs and flows is so lovely and it really treats both electronics and vocals in ways that are both hypnotic and organic. Maybe this is why I think it’s such a great song to wake up to in the morning as an alarm clock: it eases you out of sleep and then keeps the day feeling dreamlike.
+11. Dead Can Dance | Flowers Of The Sea
I’m pretty confident to say that Lisa Gerrard is one of the best singers in Pop. Dead Can Dance is so great – I love how they are able to combine disparate styles of Music to create an unified, awe-inspiring whole.