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Baker's Dozen

Arcane Lore: Alasdair Roberts' Favourite Albums
Neil Macdonald , April 2nd, 2013 07:59

The Scottish folk artist picks out his top LPs, going from Bach to Kraftwerk by way of Bahamian field recordings and 14th-century French polyphonic classical music


The Incredible String Band - The Big Huge
I listened a lot to that band, and it's hard to choose a particular album. I think I first heard this album when I was in my early teens, or my mid-teens. It was probably my father that first mentioned them to me, it was his kind of generation. I think Robin Williamson and Mike Heron are both really amazing songwriters, and I like a lot of their songs. It's hard to choose one album that doesn't have some of that 'wackiness' that doesn't appeal to me as much as some of their other stuff. The thing about Robin Williamson that appeals to me is what he's doing now, the real bardic stuff, the real immersion in Welsh and Irish and Scottish mythology. He's really exploring it and taking it very seriously. I feel like I've probably got some similar interests - the idea of the Celtic, and Celtic mythology comes into my work sometimes - but probably not as mystical as the String Band at that period. And without so much influence of psychedelic drugs! Rowan Williamson said that the Incredible String Band was the true spiritual music of the sixties. There's that spiritual and metaphysical inquiry to it, and that appeals to me.