Multiple Furgasms: Daniel O'Sullivan's Favourite Albums
, August 14th, 2014 12:19
With Grumbling Fur's new album Preternaturals out this week as the Quietus Phonographic Corporation's second release, Daniel O'Sullivan, one half of the magickal duo and prolific multi-instrumentalist, sits down to pen us his Baker's Dozen
I'm not quite sure when I first saw Daniel O'Sullivan play music. I might not have been able to recognise him, for he could have been under a robe as an occasional live member of Sunn O))), or under a silver cape as part of Chrome Hoof at Tapestry Festival, or when Mothlite brought something sleek and gothic to a desperately muddy walled garden at Green Man. It could have been when he was a member of Miasma & The Carousel Of Headless Horses, whose gigs I would attend purely because of their name. I'm fairly sure it wasn't the time when I first saw Grumbling Fur, making drones and noise far removed from his and Alexander Tucker's current transcendent pop incarnation, in an ancient church in Stoke Newington (read Alexander's Baker's Dozen here). Ones I've missed might include collaborations with film-maker Serena Korda featuring a 70-piece children's choir in Bristol performing a "psychedelic raga", Eternelle Idole, another Stephen O'Malley collaboration (this time at an ice rink in Switzerland), and a soundtrack for an episode in the BBC's Storyville strand. In addition to the above, I remember a brilliant, tempestuous concert with Æthenor at Cafe Oto, a night with Ulver in Oslo, and the two wonderful post-Glynnaestra Grumbling Fur concerts that led to the Quietus releasing Preternaturals this week.
O'Sullivan's many musical roads travelled reflect his upbringing in Manchester in a family where music was to the fore. His father was a DJ at the Hacienda and went to school with various members of The Fall, and his mother and her brothers were avid record collectors and played in bands - she in Automation, who shared stages with Joy Division and Dead Or Alive, while uncle Damien was in a band called Pan, who apparently sounded like The Doors.
"I would just rifle through records and figure what cover represented which sound, really early on," O'Sullivan says now. "I was obsessed with Diamond Dogs - not particularly the music, it doesn't resonate that much with me, it was the artwork, and seeing that Bowie wasn't the same from record to record, he was a chameleonic entity."
As well as this shape-shifting in music, O'Sullivan's strong aesthetic sense stems from his youth, as he explains: "My uncle Paul had PiL's Metal Box, and one of his friends was a film-maker so there were a lot of film cans around, so I thought it was a film, not a record. That made me think about how records can be presented."
For his Baker's Dozen, the words for which O'Sullivan wrote himself, he explains thus: "There's a chronology to it, so it starts with Muddy Waters and the first time I had a trance experience with music, right up until now. I tried to choose records that somehow stuck, and still resonate. I'd never pinch a melody or a phrase knowingly, though I have worked with people who would. That's such a cynical approach to music, blind revisionism and removing yourself from the equation. Music is good because it comes from the unconscious realm, so all these records have filtered into to my automatic process of understanding and creating music."
Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Daniel's choices. Preternaturals is out now via the Quietus Phonographic Corporation. Get hold of it on vinyl, CD or digitally via Rough Trade and digitally via iTunes. Grumbling Fur are playing the upcoming live dates:
Sat 23 - Doune The Rabbit Hole at Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Fri 5 - Oslo Psych Fest, Oslo, Norway
Sat 6 - Festival Number 6, Portmeirion, Wales
Fri 26-Sat 27 - Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia at Camp & Furnace and Blade Factory, Liverpool