I’m up at 12 if you are interested. Should be fun!
“I’m an insatiable explorer. I’ll find music via any route I can, but vinyl is my favourite medium for its wonderful tactility. I’ve been collecting records since I was about 14. My pocket money didn’t stretch to buying CDs regularly, so I turned to second-hand LPs because I could buy speculatively and get a rush of novelty for R2 or R5 a pop. Every great record holds a slice of adventure – as it spins, thin air is transformed by sound into a tangible place you inhabit. You can take listeners anywhere your imagination and collection will stretch, and I think this can really expand your capacity for empathy.”
Read it in The Lake, and listen below.
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love/The Ninth Wave (EMI, 1985)
Choosing only six records to feature here was an ordeal because the span of what has shaped me is just so wide. I decided to restrict contenders to female artists, who are often under-represented in these kinds of list. I got down to about 20 possibilities but then had to shuffle and pick randomly with my eyes closed. So, for starters, what’s there to say that hasn’t already been said about the brilliance of Kate Bush? This album is a perennial go-to for me on grey, melancholy-drenched days – the second side, beginning with “And Dream of Sheep”, in particular. It’s also something of a litmus test. I’ve realised over the years that if someone new I meet loves this record deeply, it’s almost a given that we’re going to click alchemically.
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue (Bethlehem, 1958)
This was Nina Simone’s first album, recorded when she was just 25. Despite her youth, her mastery of expression is already consummate here. I often listen to music medicinally, and this is one of those records I turn to when I’m really over the world in general. Nina’s voice and piano carry all the bittersweet weight of living. “All you can ever count on are the raindrops…” The notes spill out exquisitely, painting cathedrals where my spirit can shelter, smoky bars where my soul can dance. Any morning I’m struggling to pull myself together, if I drop the needle on “Good Bait”, by the time it’s resolutely swinging, two minutes in, the kettle will be on the boil and I’ll be thinking of what to wear.
Sathima Bea Benjamin – Windsong (Ekapa, 1985)
Windsong was recorded in New York in June 1985 and released on Ekapa RPM, the label launched by Sathima in 1979 to publish her own music and that of her then-husband Abdullah Ibrahim. A meditation on exile, displacement and yearning, the album opens with a haunting rendition of “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child”, alongside Sathima’s own compositions. Windsong is dedicated to “the resilient, remarkable, and courageous mothers and daughters of the struggle for peace and liberation in my homeland, South Africa, to the heroines both sung and unsung”. My copy is extra precious to me because Sathima signed it for me just a couple of weeks before she passed away in 2013.
Forces Favourites – Eleven Songs by South Africans Supporting the End Conscription Campaign (Shifty Records/Rounder Records, 1986)
This compilation was released by legendary South African label Shifty Records in support of the movement for conscientious objectors against compulsory military service in the apartheid army. Jennifer Ferguson’s chillingly honest exploration of white privilege and paranoia, “Suburban Hum”, still feels relevant right now. It’s a highlight on this record for me, along with “Shot Down” by James Phillips’s Cherry-Faced Lurchers and the Kalahari Surfers’ “Don’t Dance”. I’ve owned the South African release for a long time, but last year, while living in a small university town in Sweden for a semester, I also picked up a US pressing with a different cover. While there, I was also privileged to meet Jennifer herself. She happens to live in the very same town, and is doing inspiring creative work with refugees.
Julia Holter – Ekstasis (Rvng Intl., 2012)
Los Angeles-based composer Julia Holter makes music which is conceptually dense, yet spacious and eminently listenable – hummable even. I saw her give a phenomenal performance last year in Stockholm. I already had three of her albums on mp3, including Ekstasis, so that night I grabbed this, which the merch guy told me was one of the last copies of the out-of-print 12” 45rpm double vinyl release. By drawing on archetypes from Greek tragedy, this album simultaneously abstracts personal narrative and renders the emotional content conveyed universal. It’s a clever conceit, but one you don’t need to be aware of in order to appreciate the music. An obvious comparison to draw would be with the work of Laurie Anderson (whose ground-breaking 1982 debut, Big Science, was also on my shortlist for this article).
The Raincoats – Odyshape (Rough Trade, 1981)
I read somewhere that following the release of their eponymous first album in 1979, the Raincoats were one of the first bands to be called “post-punk”. John Lydon said they were the best band in the world. Kurt Cobain wrote the liner notes for their first album’s 1993 re-release. None of this hype really prepares one for the shambolic assemblage of punk, folk and lo-fi that is the Raincoats’ second album, Odyshape, though. A wildly experimental departure into unmapped territory, the melodies float loosely over an assortment of unusually textured percussive instruments, including kalimba and balafon. This record still sounds extraordinary 35 years on: intimate and vulnerable, uncompromisingly feminine. I can definitely hear its influence on later artists such as Micachu and the Shapes, and Tune-Yards.
This profile was published HERE.
On Thursday I was sent a folder of photographs by Alex Hayn from a time when I didn’t have a camera for several years and so up until now have had no visual record… These are some of them, of an evening at home in Tamboerskloof with my housemate, Meg Wright.
This is a live set I played on the Pan African Space Station in September 2010 – some dark, psychedelic stuff. The sound quality of the recording is not the best in places but there are some great tunes.
Diarise it if you will be in Cape Town on 23 April 2014. More info HERE.
a conversation between cherry bomb and aryan kaganof
On Nov 20, 2007 10:14 PM, Rosemary Lombard wrote:
came across this while reading around transcendence/immanence
a fascinating philosophical article
on god and human freedom
comes at christian scripture, existentialism, marxism
from an ENTIRELY different angle to the traditional church
yet still from a christ-focused perspective
thought you’d also find it interesting
esp how it might relate to your youniverse
“ama et fac quod vis”
(love, and do what you will)
– st augustine
[although the he-personification of god
and use of ‘man’ to mean generic ‘human’ irks me a bit,
i see the publication’s date was 1970, so it’s alright ;]
Nov 21, 2007
poem for rose, paradoxically
Filed under: kagapoems, poetry, paradoxism — ABRAXAS @ 10:24 am
i stumbled upon
myself stumbling upon
the difference between transcendence and immanence
my stumbling was the means by which i knew
there was an i to stumble
upon that which was there to be stumbled upon
immanence implied that i was everything that i stumbled upon
and everything i stumbled upon was me
transcendence granted me existence outside of what i stumbled upon
and that my being might exist outside of knowing
what was unknowable was how to unstumble
and thus in my unstumbling upon
i became unme
now immanence implied that everything unme
could be unstumbled upon and that everything that could be unstumbled upon is in unme
whereas transcendence seemed to be saying that unme is also outside of unstumbling
and therefore could not be unstumbled upon
here i found a contradiction
because if it is only possible to stumble upon something outside of me
then surely it is impossible to unstumble upon something inside of unme
unless of course my stumbling upon
myself stumbling upon
was in fact inside of me
meaning that there is no difference between transcendence and immanence
hence god’s indifference
to the problem
On Nov 21, 2007 11:59 PM, Rosemary Lombard wrote:
this is our business
does the ground worry
if a seed is growing or withering away?
or how often a wayfarer stumbles?
the substrate whereby
within with without
our embrace of existence lies in union
love is the yes to life
love is the blossom of anti-entropy