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Baker's Dozen

Really Heavy Things: Devin Townsend's Favourite Albums
Toby Cook , December 18th, 2012 13:18

…well, apart from Enya. The Strapping Young Lad man offers up his top albums


Ravi Shankar – Chants Of India
As a musician the idea of how the Indian musical/theoretical world moves is just so far beyond where I’m at, or where most of the people I interact with are at – how it’s documented, the timing – but the connection to improvisation is a huge thing for me because a lot of what I do, even when it comes to composition, is based on improvisation, I like the first thought being the most pertinent one. And even though a lot of what I do is refined and massaged and all that, it’s almost entirely – certainly recently – based on impulse and reacting to your situations. I remember seeing Ravi Shankar – I think there’s a YouTube clip of it, of his first U.S. performance – and his connection to his instrument and his control over the theoretical elements of his technique is astounding, it’s not just in a mathematical way, it’s really connected to what music is supposed to be. Of course he’s not the only one but he was one of the first I found who really played into it.

As a kid I loved new age music – y’know, Emerald Web and all that sort of stuff – flute music, the real native stuff – I loved it. And the improv elements of it I loved it too. But this Ravi Shankar record is the one that he did with George Harrison (the production of it is really good) and the reason I put this as one of my favourites is not the record in general, although there are a lot of great songs on there, it’s one song in particular that I think is the best song ever written by anybody, and it’s a song called ‘Prabhujee’, it’s just… I don’t know, I thinks it’s pretty the pinnacle of human expression through music – it’s astoundingly beautiful. I remember one of the first times I was high I got a bunch of Ravi Shankar records and was like "this is fucking awesome!" but it’s been five or six years now since I smoked weed and the fact that I still like it probably says something.