WARMER MIXTAPES #677 | by Andrew Groves of Arcane Roots
1. KT Tunstall | Under The Weather
Eye To The Telescope by KT Tunstall is one of my favourite albums, it perfectly demonstrates how to write both an Intelligent and Creative Pop record. Every single song is rich with Heartfelt Melody and hooks but at the same time delivered with Creative Instrumentation, Arrangement and Harmony. There are so many influences and sounds hidden within a seemingly Straightforward Pop album, it is both Enchanting and Refreshing to my ears. It is one of only a handful of albums that I only listen to when I have the time to listen to the entire thing in one sitting. Ever since I was very young, I've had a strong attachment to the seasons of Autumn & Winter. One of my earliest memories is going to see the Oxford Street Christmas lights with my auntie, we took the bus late at night and made our way through the crowds and strolled by the river as the Wind chilled our faces and the lights twinkled overhead. To this day I am completely transfixed by the illumination of rivers, monuments & towns on a winter's night. Every year, there is a special moment when Summer is on its way out and you can feel the Negative Charge fill the air and the trees begin to shake off their leaves. It instantly fills me with warmth and deep thought, a strange kind of Comfort from the Wind & Rain against my face. Under The Weather captures that Effortlessly for me, brooding and swelling perfectly to a crescendo of a chorus of feeling like home.
2. Camille | Pâle Septembre
I discovered Camille on Jools Holland in 2006, but I either didn't look hard enough or write down her name correctly because I could/did not find her album Le Fil anywhere for years. I eventually remembered the Brilliance and Intrigue I felt that day, and tracked the album down to a little CD shop in Brighton. Daryl (AR Drummer), myself and two other members of a previous band had driven down from Surrey to spend the evening in Brighton, after a drink and a somewhat interesting meal, we bought some drink and snacks and returned to our hotel to continue our evening. Upon our return, I decided that I would listen to the CD on my Walkman for a while. I recall making it as far as the first track before calling everyone over to listen, which we all did, one at a time. We then spent the rest of the evening listening to the album, one headphone each, crowded around my CD player. It was such an unusual experience considering we had traveled so far, just to stay in. I remember thinking that this was how people would have listened to Music when listening to a new vinyl was a Family occasion. To this day, it is a Magical album for me that I try to listen to as little as possible to try and prevent myself from remembering what's next.
3. Every Time I Die | For The Record
I was pretty late in finding Every Time I Die, many people had recommended them to me but for whatever reason I didn't listen. Our producer Chris Coulter even gave me their albums and they just sat on my iPod for months, unlistened to. Just before we began our Album Writing/Rehearsal Session, I finally yielded and I fell in Love. I remember hearing this song particularly and wanting to destroy everything in the vicinity during the breakdown. The albums filled our writing sessions with such Energy and Vigor each day, and I listened to them continually for my customary 3 month band obsession period. I found great Honesty in Keith's lyrics too, his delivery and everyman's poet approach was far from my Dense, Cryptic scrawl and inspired the style of my lyrics for the heavier tunes on the album.
4. Meshuggah | In Death - Is Life
+ In Death - Is Death... This was another Fascination before our album writing sessions. I always try and ignite my interest in Writing by listening to the broadest spectrum of Music I can, some become homework assignments while others become new favourites. If I feel my writing is lacking a certain aspect then I often amend my current listening to something that demonstrates that aspect perfectly. Meshuggah were always Homework to me, but I loved the relationships between the rhythms and listener, and how they almost become Circadian in manner. A complex science of perceived meter delivered in a simple, understandable 4/4 package. This became an obsession of mine, and while I already listened to bands such as Periphery and Tesseract, I wanted to obtain a deeper understanding of their rhythms and accents, especially when hiding it in a seemingly Straightforward 4/4 song. This is something of an ethos for us as a band.
5. Everything Everything | Suffragette Suffragette
On Christmas Day, at my mother's family home in a remote village in Ireland, I spent Christmas alone without my family for the first time. We were there demoing the tracks for our debut album and I still had a lot of writing to do, so couldn't afford the time it would take to fly home and back. After working on the songs for a few hours, my cousins kindly dropped over some Christmas dinner for me and I then decided to finally take some time for myself and go for walk. I ended up walking for about 7 hours all along the beaches and footpaths while the Sea pummeled the Earth, rocks and sand around me. I had also taken the initiative to steal (it's not big or clever) lots of Music from my band members' computers before they left for home and fell upon Everything Everything. I knew very little about them but as I commenced my walk I decided to go for something I hadn't heard. I instantly enthused at the Incredible Intelligence and Creative Thought behind all their songs, a multitude of influences and spaces filled my ears and Imagination. At the climax of this song, I stumbled across a graveyard by the Sea, berated by the lashings of the Sea and hidden by the rocky ground. It was my entire family, dating back hundreds of years. Gravestones weathered and Gaelic epitaphs almost lost to the Carbon cycle. It was an incredibly Humbling experience and something that I think of every time I play this song.
6. The Fall Of Troy | Wacko Jacko Steals The Elephant Man's Bones
I have said to many people that the ending of this song is something that I would be unable to play Live because it would fill me with such energy that my playing would become too Inaccurate and as such, Void. There are a few songs where I can only imagine what they are like to play Live. They envoke such a large amount of Involuntary Movement when I listen to them, I could barely even control myself were I to play them live. Finding that balance between Rocking Out and giving a good show, and playing Accurately, is always a battle and my mission for the album was to hope to create something that can give people that same feeling of Blind, Guttural Energy.
7. John Frusciante | Central
John Frusciante is probably my biggest influence as an Artist and Songwriter. His work in that ever so Popular, Stadium Filling Funk/Rock band and his own solo works continue to re-write the book of what an Artist should be and the levels of Creativity that an Artist is capable of. His dedication and Studious Approach to Music is something I can only Dream of and Respect Greatly. If you ever get the chance to read up on just some of the Songwriting, Harmony, Treatment, Manipulation & Melody that goes into any of his songs, I guarantee you'll have only been aware of 1% of it. Central from his glorious album The Empyrean is just one example of such Commitment and Forethought. It soars and sweeps through layers of Polyphony and Immense Detail. It inspires me greatly with my own work and approach in the Studio, each song filled with small movements and treatments, stacked harmonies that soar and shift under the weight of each other, tiny little accidents and incidents all moving at once. Oddly enough Jonny Marr, a fellow underwritten guitarist, plays on this song too, and you would have no idea.
8. Malajube | Le Crabe
Daryl (Drummer AR) introduced me to this French-Canadian band in 2008, while our current bassist was away traveling. It was a low point in our music and filled with much Uncertainty and Desire. We saw they were playing in Spitalfields near Liverpool Street in London and decided to head down after only really hearing one song. Our faith was not unfounded and we were treated to an Incredible gig (available on YouTube funnily enough), that floored our current Musical Sensibilities. We laughed and cheered through the set (also on YouTube), unable to comprehend what we were witnessing. This song stuck out that night and is easily one of my favourite songs ever. It also inspired the beginning of our song Long & Low too, with the 3/4 over 4/4 feel.
9. 22 | Power Is So Yesterday
22 are a little known band from Norway and they are Incredible. So Incredible, that we shouted about them all the time, got them signed and asked our PR guy to pick them up AND took them out on our UK tour with us. They are now like brothers to us and we put them up/go see them whenever we can. We even used a proxy to fool iTunes (sorry?) into thinking we were from Norway so we could get their album Flux a year early. This song has one of the best riffs ever and having the best 2 weeks together and watching them smash it out every night was about as good as memories get. They have also promised me I can play this with them in Norway.
10. Keith Jarrett | Part I (The Köln Concert)
This is a rather new exploit of mine but I'm in a Deep Obsession with it. Just before our recent tour in Europe with Awolnation, I decided that I wanted to study more and revisit a lot of the Jazz playing I did when I began learning guitar. My teacher Brian Foster was very much into Jazz Fusion and this rubbed off on me in my Proggier/Jazzier/Formulative Wankier years. The exciting part of Music for me is that the Concepts/Theory that you learn only grow deeper and broader as you understand them more. You continually fall from Understanding to Recomprehesion, the rules can be Bent, Broken, Reversed and Reconfigured, over and over. Part of my Studying was to find Music that combined Theory and its execution in the way that I desired. Then I was introduced to Keith Jarrett by a good friend of mine... This is part of a Solo concert, Completely Improvised on the piano in Köln, Germany. It was recorded in 1975 and became the biggest selling Solo Jazz album of all Time. The Respect and Admiration I have for the performance is almost Incomprehensible. The building variations and formulations of ideas that grow and augment, completely captivate me. I listened to it everyday on tour and we all sat quietly as we drove through the mountains of Austria with the concert providing the perfect accompaniment.