Saturday, September 13, 2014

16 Life Changing Albums



I just posted this same long note to Facebook and thought it might interest a few folks here.  I friend that I've known since my college radio days, posted 16 albums that were influential in forming his musical identity and nominated me to do the same.  These aren't necessarily my favorite albums of all time(though some are).  Some introduced me to new sounds or artists.These recordings form a timeline of my musical evolution. 

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Jethro Tull - Aqualung (1971)
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975)
Genesis - Wind & Wuthering (1976)
David Bowie - Low (1977)
Brian Eno - Before & After Science (1977)
Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer (1977)
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians (1978)
Brian Eno - Music for Airports (1978)
The Police - Outlandos d'Amour (1978)
Peter Gabriel - 3 (1980)
Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980)
Bryne & Eno - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)
David Sylvian - Gone To Earth (1986)
Steve Roach - Dreamtime Return (1988)
Avett Brothers - Emotionalism (2007)



I was a high school freshman with mediocre music taste(Beatles, Elton John, Foghat), when my brother changed my life, musically.  In 1974 for my 14th birthday, he gave me 4 albums - David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust, Led Zepplin I, Rod Stewart - Every Picture tells a Story and Jethro Tull - Aqualung.  Bowie & Tull were very important in setting me on a path of musical discovery.

I remember listening to Pink Floyd on headphones, playing it on my parents giant RCA console stereo.  It blew me away & started a love affair with prog rock.  Speaking of prog, my entre to Genesis was "Wind & Wuthering" which is why it's on the list rather than "The Lamb."  I won the album from a local radio station & had no idea what the music was like. 20 or 30 albums later I guess I liked that first taste.

I didn't like Bowie's "Low" album when I first heard it.  But it grew on me & it was my introduction to Brian Eno.  I bought Eno's "Before & After Science" just because of his association with Bowie and that lead to a lifelong obsession with all things Eno.

I picked up the Tangerine Dream album because it was used in a William Friedkin film & I liked the Tubular Bell's cut he used in The Exorcist.  "Sorcerer" was probably my first all electronic album and played a big part in my love for synths.

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians is probably one of the best albums ever recorded.  I was completely amazed when I heard it for the first time.  Totally different from anything I'd heard before.

Eno's "Music for Airports" is crucial to my musical development because of the role ambient has played in my musical life ever since this ground breaking album.

I put the Police album on the list not because it is an all time fav of mine.  It's there because of the way it changed my thinking.  At the time it was released I was heavy into prog rock & I knew very little of punk or new wave.  Then along comes this tight, catchy three piece and I started to realize that music could be more than 5 minute guitar solos.

PG - 3 was a sonic adventure due to Gabriel's use the Fairlight CMI sampling synth.  It is another album that just blew me away.

"Remain in Light," and "Bush of Ghosts" are important because of the different sonic worlds they exposed me to.  

David Sylvian - Gone to Earth is on the list cuz it's awesome.  Steve Roach - Dreamtime continued my love of ambient music & expanded it even further.

The only recent recording on the list is The Avett Brothers - Emotionalism.  Banjo!  Who knew I could love the banjo?!  It's also on the list because it represents a shift in my taste toward more "normal" music, essentially indie music, in recent years.  I still listen to the old stuff and I make ambient mixes, but much of my time is spent tracking down new stuff from artists like Andrew Bird, Alt-J, Deep Sea Diver, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, The Antlers, Strand of Oaks, Phantogram, etc.

If anybody cares to share their list, please do so.

8 comments:

Dave Bush said...

My list, which also includes Gone to Earth.

The Monkees
Alice Cooper - Love it to Death
Ramones
Talking Heads - 77
XTC - Drums and Wires
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
Zoviet France - Garista
Brian Eno - On Land
David Sylvian - Gone to Earth
Elvis Costello - Get Happy
John Foxx - Metamatic
Kraftwerk - The Man Machine
Peter Tosh - Equal Rights
Autechre - Incunabula
REM - Murmur
Jon Anderson - Olias of Sunhillow

Dave Michuda said...

Excellent list, Dave. Thanks for posting. I think I have 11 of those 16 albums. I almost put in Talking Heads '77 or Drums & Wires in place of the Police album on my list as they both were part of the same shift in my musical tastes at that time. I ended up going with the Police album because I heard that one first. But long term I listen to the other two more often.

David Quartet said...

Here are my 16, whittled down from around 30 or so...

1967 The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
1970 King Crimson - Lizard
1971 Alice Cooper - Love It To Death
1971 Yes - Fragile
1972 Roxy Music - Roxy Music
1973 Fripp & Eno - (No Pussyfooting)
1974 Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
1975 Neu! - Neu! 75
1975 Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
1977 David Bowie - Low
1980 Joy Division - Closer
1981 The Cure - Faith
1982 Brian Eno - On Land
1983 The Blue Nile - A Walk Across The Rooftops
1994 Rheostatics - Introducing Happiness
2005 The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity

Dave Michuda said...

David, awesome selections! I see so much of my own musical history in those albums. I am familiar with The Bad Plus but haven't heard that album. I'm firing it up on Spotify as i type this. I've never heard of Rheostatics but I'll give that a spin right after The Bad Plus.

David Quartet said...

Hi Dave - as you can see there's not been much in the way of life-changing music over the last 20 years! Mind you that's partially because there were so may in the 1970's and early 80's that I couldn't NOT include - and, of course I had to limit the Eno input - "Evening Star" should really be in there too with, perhaps, "Let the Power Fall" by Robert Fripp too...

Great to have stumbled across your blog thanks to your mixes on Mixcloud...

Cheers from Scotland!

Charles Glaspole said...

After a lot of sifting here's my list. This music takes me to my happy place or immerses me in fond memories.

The Necks - Aquatic (or many others)
Sun Araw - Beach Head
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
Forest Swords - Dagger Paths
Beach House - Bloom
Casino Vs Japan - Night On Tape
The Clientele - Suburban Light
Christoph El Truento - What We Used To Know
Joni Mitchell 'Coyote' (from Shadows And Light)
Daniel Lanois - Acadie
krill.minima's DJ sets
Syli Authentique 'Andree' (from "Dans l'arène")
Tetsu Inoue - Inland
Opitope - either of their first albums
Loscil - First Narrows
Balla Et Ses Balladins - Objectif Perfection

nikos said...

Hi dave, i am Nikos, i like very much your list, here it's mine:
1) Eloy - Ocean
2) Jethro Tull - Aqualung
3) Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
4) Pink Floyd - Meddle
5) The Who - Tommy
6) Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
7) Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
8) Brian Eno - Ambient 4 On Land
9) Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air
10) David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
11) Manuel Gottsching - Inventions For Electric Guitar
12) Can - Tago Mago
13) Steve Reich - Six Marimbas
14) Savage Republic - Tragic Figures
15) Killing Joke - Killing Joke
16) Massive Attack - Mezzanine

Thalmina Cam said...

Sorry that's the right list

1) Eloy - Ocean
2) Jethro Tull - Aqualung
3) Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
4) Pink Floyd - Meddle
5) The Who - Tommy
6) Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
7) Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
8) Brian Eno - Ambient 4 On Land
9) Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air
10) David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
11) Manuel Gottsching - Inventions For Electric Guitar
12) Can - Tago Mago
13) The Doors - The Doors
14) Savage Republic - Tragic Figures
15) Killing Joke - Killing Joke
16) Nirvana - Smells Like teen Spirit