Melody Maker

Rebellious Jukebox

Björk talks about the records that changed her life

1. Igor Stravinsky : "Three Japanese Poems"

"I went to music, where I played flute. They started playing us Stravinsky when we were about 10. I think that things written before this century are really irrelevant, but Stravinsky is brilliant. He was a musical pioneer, misunderstood in his time. It’s taken a whole century for Western culture to finally grab him in a commercial way. nowadays, kids can listen to Stravinsky and really get into it. I like the first Japanese poem because it’s like a pop song, except it was written at the beginning of the century. it’s very direct. No fluffy bits. Just voice, organ and brass."

2. ABBA : "Dancing Queen"

"This is very pure. Very honest. When you hear it in a club, it makes you feel all heroic. The Sugarcubes wanted ABBA to produce our second album but they didn’t want to and we were very upset."

3. Sparks : "Kimono My House"

"You know the one ? ’This House Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us !’ They were my cheesy fantasies when I was eight. they were exotic, I guess. My parents were into heavy hippy Hendrix music at the time and I thought that wasvery boring and repetitive. Sparks were the most refreshing thing in my life."

4. Chet Baker : "I Fall In Love Too Easily"

"It’s beautiful. The lyrics are over-passionate and romantic but the mood is very cool. It’s Fifties or Sixties jazz and quite typical for the period. My grandparents listened to a of jazz and I might have heard it there first. Recently, I saw the Bruce Weber documentary on him and I was smitten again."

5. Everything by Public Enemy

"I was sick from 86 to 88 - if I couldn’t get to hear Public Enemy every day, I’d go sick. They’re so creative and brave and misunderstood. I mean, everyone takes them for their politics, which is brilliant, but they all forget about the music. They were so influential musically. They changed many things. They take what they are living with every day and make a song out of it."

6. Organ music by Olivier Messaien

"It’s very mystical and, like, no rules, follow your senses. It’s the most atmospheric stuff I’ve ever heard. When you’re listening, you begin to believe that all the relationships and conversations we have all day long are just the surface and there’s so much happening underneath. It’s subconscious music."

7. A piece by Rimsky-Korsakov

"I got it when I was little and I lost the sleeve so I can’t remember its name. It’s about Scheherazade and it’s from ’One Thousand and One Nights’. It’s very picturesque. It’s about a ship that drowns and you can hear it and the storm and the people. It’s very expressive."

8. Peter Baumann : "Romance ’76" / "Trans Harmonic Nights" / "Repeat Repeat"

"First, Baumann was in Tangerine Dream [early Seventies ambient pioneers - Prog Rock Ed] and then he made these brilliant solo albums. I found one in my uncle’s house when I was 14 and I thought it sounded incredible. it’s just like the ambient pieces that the kids do today. He was an original. Before his time."

9. Anything by Sun Ra

"I like him because he was so definitely run by instinct as opposed to brains. His music sounds so positive because he found so many things exciting. I think he did something like 120 albums. He had this own little world. I’d have love to see him nut I was always in the wrong city."

10 Anything by Swans before 1985

"They were so underrated but they got a bit too clever for my tastes after 1985. I like them when they were just energy and instinct. I have to listen to them at least once a day. I’d be absent-minded and not be able to have a conversation if I didn’t."

11. Tracey Thorn : "A Distant Shore" and anything by Yma Sumac

"This Tracey Thorn album is brilliant. Just her wonderful voice and an acoustic guitar. i’m not into the band she got into [Everything But The Girl], though. Yma Sumac had an incredible voice, so natural. The myth was that she was found singing in some woods in South America than she was taken to Hollywood and given a big band. I love the exotic Fifties-people like Les Baxter and Martin Denny. It’s very funny thinking about a white man in a nylon suite deciding to become exotic."

12. Roland Kirk : "The Inflatable Tear"

"I prefer his early stuff. I didn’t like it when he got into fusion. Fusion is horrible. ’The Inflatable Tear’ is about how he got an eye disease when he was two and one day the nurse who was treating him put the wrong medicine in his eye and he went blind. He can remember the last minute he could see and the first minute he couldn’t. The music is very primitive and instinctive. Like, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense because your head doesn’t, does it ?"

publié dans Melody Maker - 10.07.1993

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