What classical and experimental records are extreme enough for Finland’s extreme accordionist?

 

 

Arvo Pärt
Alina

 

Vladimir Spivakov v; Sergev Bezrodny p; Alexander Malter p; Dietmar Schwalke vc
ECM 1591

This is my favourite Pärt album and maybe my favourite classical music recording of all time. Estonia is neighbour and relative to Finland, of course, so it is not difficult for me to feel his music on many levels. This is music to which I return time and time again.

 

David

 

WeinsteinPerfume

Avant AVAN 020

David is an American composer and I have used this album as opening music for my concerts for many years. It is “electronic” but does not really sound electronic, as it is comprised of sound effects reproduced and arranged in the form of abstract but melodic compositions. Somehow it transcends electronic music and creates a world like no other album I have ever heard. Immediate and throughout, it feels like another universe. This music is truly unique and captivating.

 

 

Sussan Deyhim, Shirin NeshatTurbulent

Eyestorm

This is an amazing conceptual collaboration between Persian singer/composer/performance artist Sussan Deyhim and Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat. This is music for an audio-visual installation featuring vocals from Sussan Deyhim and various singers from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt with electronics and effects. The result is one of the most psychedelic experiences I have ever had! The intensity and tension created by the fusions, compositions and arrangements do not let up for a second. It is a one-hour trip into new emotional territory.

 

Hukwe Zawose
Chibite

Real World CDRW 57

Tanzanian musician Hukwe Zawose (1938-2003) was a major influence on my music. I studied with him in the 1990s in Tanzania and this experience was a critical factor in my musical development. My favourite album of his is Chibite, featuring Hukwe and Charles Zawose on thumb piano, Tanzanian violins, bells, flutes and vocals. Mostly his own compositions, Hukwe’s music can be considered the heart of Tanzania and its people. It continues to inspire me today.

The Shaggs
Philosophy of the World

RCA 09026 63371 2

What can be said about a record that leaves the listener breathless and speechless over and over again for years on end? One of the most stunning albums of all time: naïve and brilliant in its simplicity while simultaneously complex and brain-twisting. These sisters made the most influential garage/home recording of all time. To quote Frank Zappa: “Better than The Beatles – even today.” I cannot imagine life and music without The Shaggs.

Kronos Quartet
Black Angels

Nonesuch 7559 79242-2

Kronos has so many varied and excellent albums it is a bit difficult to pick a favourite. This one in particular stands out for me because it is so dark and powerful. The piece Doom. A Sigh by the brilliant Hungarian composer István Márta is especially intense.

Miharu Koshi

Autoportrait

TACT 1013/4

Miharu Koshi is one of the great and unknown geniuses of our time. The Japanese singer, composer, conceptualist and accordionist creates music like no other, anywhere. Often singing in French, her songs are simultaneously melodic, abstract, unconventional, humourous and brilliant. Partner with Haruomi Hosono with whom collaborates and / or produces, she plunges the listener into a musical world of her own invention. She has about fifteen Japanese released albums, near-impossible to find even in Japan. This is a compilation album which has also been a favourite of my two daughters.

 

 

Graeme RevellInsect Musicians

 BRUT 1 CD

Australians and international cultists know him from the group SPK (whose album Zamia Lehmanni is another favourite) and from his many soundtracks. This unique album slipped between the cracks. Revell sampled and manipulated a variety of insect sounds from around the world and created an orchestra, composing and arranging a ten-part work that defies description. It’s like a safari through an electro-acoustic jungle. Cicadas, wasps, grasshoppers, hawkmoths, bees, crickets, beetles and more, they’re all here but sound nothing like you have ever heard. Sheer genius!

Mike Patton
Adult Themes for Voice

Tzadik TZ7015

First solo album from the famous singer and one of the most intense albums I have ever heard. Solo voice recorded in hotel rooms on a portable recorder, using the microphone as an effects processor to manipulate his voice into scary and unearthly sounds. THE most radical vocal album of all time, it features about 30 short tracks, all skull-ripping burst of absolute mayhem. Song titles like I Killed Him Like a Dog – and He Still LaughedScreams of the Asteroid and Porno Holocaust give you an idea what you’re in for. Not for the faint-hearted.

Iva Bittova, Pavel Fajt
Pustit Musis

Rachot R 0007

Iva is a brilliant, distinctive and imaginative violinist, vocalist, composer and performer from Czech Republic. Her roots are in classical, folk music and avant-garde musics and she has released about 20 albums. Normally she performs solo and her show is unique and captivating, sounding like a screeching weasel (in a good way!) and looking like a mad fiddler being attacked by ants.

Pavel is an unconventional and creative drummer, a percussionist who has worked with Iva for many years. Pustit Musis is their one-off electric band (three guitarists, bass, two drummers, Iva on vocals) that takes them into more amplified and energetic territory. Think a rockier Henry Cow or Fred Frith with added melodic structure. This is a very powerful and engaging album and never fails to get brain and body pulsing.