In celebration of 9/9/17, I have compiled a list of songs from from my favorite albums. The kicker? Each selection is over 9 minutes long and designated for every minute up to 17 minutes, which comes out to 9 songs! 9 entries + over 9 minutes + up to 17 minutes = 9/9/17! Let’s party!
Time: 9 minutes, 38 seconds
Song: After The Flood
Artist: Talk Talk
Album: Laughing Stock
From 1985 to 1991, Talk Talk recorded some of the most unique and boundary-stretching pop music of the 21st century. “After The Flood” showcases Mark Hollis’ songcraft wizardry by chopping hooks into irregular meter and tucking in a soul-sizzling saxophone solo à la Zorn.
Time: 10 minutes, 3 seconds
Song: I Am
Artist: Matana Roberts
Album: Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres
There is a depth of jazz music that can only be understood from the African-American perspective. The turmoil of Chapter One peaks at “I Am”. Roberts speaks in tongues, sings of sorrow, and chants for her ancestors. This is what jazz is all about.
Time: 11 minutes, 30 seconds
Song: Monkey Chant
Artist: Glenn Kotche
Glenn Kotche is the drummer of Wilco and lesser known as one of the more innovative composers of this generation. “Monkey Chant” is a piece that leaves you breathless from the very first hit. He uses nature as foundation for his piece, but uses various drum set techniques to tell a story. Turn it on and join the safari!
Time: 12 minutes, 21 seconds
Artist: Graham Moncur III
Free jazz began as a movement amongst jazz musicians and it successfully liberated them from the confines of others’ music. Evolution shares the style, but withholds a different proclamation. Rather than celebrating, the music remains shackled. In the title track, the players restrain themselves and only let loose to gasp for air. It shares the avant-garde abstraction of free jazz, but it inches its way into minimalist territory with sparsity and deliberation. This was recorded in 1963, which makes it into a harbinger of Miles Davis’ post-bop reinventions.
Time: 13 minutes, 6 seconds
Song: Opt Out
Artist: Yellow Swans
Album: Going Places
Going Places is Yellow Swans’ last record. It makes you feel like they are just getting started, which makes it a bittersweet swan (lol) song to their seven year run. “Opt Out” draws me closer to Going Places than their preceding records because they effortlessly fill in the cracks of negative space with music. It is much harder the other way around.
Time: 14 minutes, 45 seconds
Artist: Arditti Quartet / Composer: Iannis Xenakis
Album: Xenakis – Chamber Music, 1955-90
Xenakis began his career as a scientist who fetishized the inner workings of sound. He wrote theorems on manuscript paper and built a laboratory solely for composing his music. “Tetras”, beautifully performed by Arditti Quartet, demonstrates the twists and turns of a calculated mind.
Time: 15 minutes, 29 seconds
Song: Strung Out Deeper than the Night
Artist: Les Rallizes Denudes
Album: Heavier Than A Death In The Family
I heard about Les Rallizes Denudes by the many references from noise rock legends, such as Keiji Haino and The Boredoms. I bought Heavier Than A Death In The Family and I was hooked. Lo-fidelity acid madness ensues once that bass line crawls into the opening track “Strung Out Deeper than the Night”.
Time: 16 minutes, 30 seconds
Song: Oh, Perispomenon!
Artist: Coin Locker Kid
I was introduced to Coin Locker Kid, who now goes by C’est La Key, by a mutual friend about ten years ago. I was impressed with his departure from conventional hip hop and kept an ear open. Over time, I listened to an outsider’s progression down the rabbit hole. “Oh, Perispomenon!” is an interlude involving the exchange between two voices. In the middle of the exchange, the female utters, “You are always hospitalized”. This statement highlights a few tropes of CLK’s music. Self-inflicted emotional harm and faulty narrative come to mind.
Time: 17 minutes, 43 seconds
Artist: Lituya Bay
Album: Deep Tone / Perseus
This particular project of David Shapiro holds a special place in my heart. I returned to Massachusetts after a few years living in North Carolina and building a relationship with noise. I drove a few hours out to Easthampton to catch my first glimpse into the music scene, only to find myself cross-legged and enveloped with Lituya Bay’s warmth. I remember the overall uncertainty of my life at the time, yet feeling like things will be right.