Monday, 18 April 2011

"I looked in the sky where an elephant's eye was looking at me from a bubblegum tree ..."

It's been a very bookish blog these last couple of months so I felt it was time to talk music again. Here at the Passengers in Time offices there's a fairly constant soundtrack going on. Musical tastes here are very eclectic but I thought you might like to sample a typical selection. We’re very keen on the shuffle facility which makes for a bewildering variety of sounds. For example, one minute, it's American singer-songwriter and one-time Throwing Muse Kristin Hersh, the next it’s Breton hip-hop band Manau. While French pop music is rarely successful there’s something about hip-hop in the French language that works surprisingly well, especially when it’s fused with Breton folk music.

Former Aztec Camera front-man Roddy Frame is next up and the pared-down sound of his 2006 Western Skies has all of Aztec Camera’s lyrical ingenuity and joyous guitar without the over-production of 1980s pop. That said, 1983’s High land, hard rain remains one of my all-time favourites albums, along with the next
selection, Jackson Browne’s 1974 Late for the Sky.

You can't go wrong with a bit of Echo and the Bunnymen followed by Regina Spektor (no relation to record producer Phil Spector but rather an anti-folk Russian-American singer-songwriter and pianist, of course). A Perfect Circle’s 2003 album Thirteenth Step introduces complex drum patterns and an unnerving sense of menace in the lyrics. To lighten the mood after that you can't beat Philadelphia soul group The Delfonics, featuring spot-on harmonies against a lush orchestral backdrop and a bit of electric sitar, no less. Speaking of sitars, more fun it is to be had with Traffic’s 1967 hit Hole in my Shoe. It's a wonder we get any work done here at all!

1 comment:

  1. Brother Tone, I'm with you as far as Jackson Browne and Aztec Camera are concerned, but I'm thinking my tastes in music (wide though they are) were never quite as broad as yours. You have a heck of a broad taste. In fact, you put the heck in hecklectic .
    Meanwhile, Carol and I are slowly discovering the delights of Regina Spektor thanks to her contribution to the soundtrack of the Chronicles of Narnia film soundtrack. A beautiful track which doesn't seem to be on any of her albums. Best wishes, Phil.


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Tony Gillam is Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, a freelance writer, trainer and musician. He is the author of 'Reflections on Community Psychiatric Nursing' (2002) and 'Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice' (2018).