Big | Brave blew us away a couple of years ago with their second album Au De La, so we were very excited when news of a new album reached us. Ardor is released on September 15th through Southern Lord and it is another exceptional piece of work.
Ahead of that release, we asked Robin, Mathieu & Louis to pick the three albums that inspired them to make such densely fascinating music.
Gillian Welch (and David Rawlings) – Time (The Revelator) (2001)
It is an unhurried, heavy hearted, raw, acoustic, elegant album. Upon the first listen of the first song of the first guitar phrase I was struck. Then Gillian Welch came in with her thick, raw, undervalued vocals and with the first line she sang, I was brought to a place only very few pieces of music has ever shifted me to. I was in pieces and it hurt. I was engrossed. I was captivated and in love.
The album in its entirety is journey in of itself. Though every song can stand alone, it is better appreciated nestled in its resting place within the album. You’re brought in and out of something private, of something eternal, transcendent and honest. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings musical sensitivity is astonishing. Welch’s stories and word play are brilliant. Rawlings’ harmonies and instrument work are careful and thoughtful. Together they write stunning work.
I’ve been listening to this album over the last sixteen years and with every genuine listen, it still hits hard, it still remains timeless. I still fall to pieces. It still strikes my core. This album has me.
A true piece of art.
Tony Conrad and Faust – Outside The Dream Syndicate (1972)
Minimalistic, layered and repetitive, this record is also perfect mélange of drone and rhythm. As contemporary drone records are commonly void of discernable rhythmic patterns, this collaboration is a great illustration as to how both elements may coexist quiet harmoniously.
Unlike most of Conrad’s recordings, his beautiful yet dissonant violin drones are here backed quite thoughtfully by Faust’s measured rhythm section. The ever so simplistic drum and bass pattern rides steadily as Conrad’s drone breaths in and out of dissonant glory. As none of the involved players on this record are hurried, the main two parts on this record evolve and shift ever so slowly. If glanced at only briefly, I can see how this listen may seem like an endurance test but when listened to in its entirety, it can be a most rewarding and transcendental experience. Some patience, something that we could all work on, is indeed a must when listening to this one.
For a record that it is pretty out there, it is also a great example of how pretty basic “band” elements can be used in creating great experimental music. Pre conceived notion of basic “rock” structures and technics are not completely thrown out the window but rather re-imagined, deconstructed.
Everything I try to accomplish musically is on this record.
Shipping News – Very Soon, and in Pleasant Company (2001)
Louisville, Kentucky must carry something very special in the water or maybe it’s just a coincidence there were lots of remarkably talented people in the same city at the same period of time. What I understand is that something really inspiring came out of its musical scene through generations.
I got acquainted to the music of Shipping News in my early twenties and I got instantly hooked. The band’s 2001 album Very Soon, and in Pleasant Company is what I consider a perfect album. Precise, touching, fragile and gracious are the first words that come to mind when I think of it.
In fact, every single time I listen to songs like “Contents Of A Landfill” or “How to Draw Horses”, it feels like falling in love, deeply. It is so beautiful and honest, it gives shivers. It’s definitely an LP I could listen on loop over and over and over again.