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Baker's Dozen

Experimentalism Wrapped Around Pop: Barry Adamson's Favourite LPs
Julian Marszalek , April 19th, 2017 10:12

Post punk polymath Barry Adamson guides Julian Marszalek around his favourite albums, from Baker's Staples like Iggy Pop and can to the Wu-Tang Clan, Ornette Coleman and Micachu. Photo by Jone Reed

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John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
I think that the thing with A Love Supreme is that you build into it. You grasp the outside ideas and themes and then when it goes off into the improvisation, then it's all a bit, 'woo! What's going on here?'

For me, the cover says it all. You've got John Coltrane at his most studious and at his most serious but it's that seriousness that's amazing. And I love what's going on between the four of them here. You've got Jimmy Garrison on bass, McCoy Tyner on piano and Elvin Jones on drums and Coltrane as the leader and it's as if they're hanging on to his every word and his every phrase.

I think that after I got used to it I started to hear inside the thing. I think that it's a mammoth fucking task that he took on to record four pieces that really go in terms of spiritual depth beyond what's imaginable. And that also includes the band's level of playing too. There's a great live performance that I've seen of this in Newport or France or wherever it is, and the great thing about it is the way that the lighting is pitched and they're all playing away like fuck. The lights are so hot and they're all playing so hard that they've got this weird aura around them. But then you realise that it's the heat coming off of them. It took me a while to get into it but then the mind starts to make sense of it.

I remember that I bought an upright bass and I rang up the girl I was going out with at the time and said, 'do you want to come round and see it?' So she came round and I put on A Love Supreme waiting for her mind to be blown and then instantly fall in love with me, and she just, 'you can't really tap your feet to this, can you?' And that was it: game over.

It's a seminal work and it's something that'll be around forever. It's like going inside of yourself and dragging it all out and if Coltrane is prepared to do that then so are the other three. That's what I think is majestic about the whole thing; there's a nobility about it that is unmoveable and unshakeable.


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