The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Another Wardrobe In My Head: Karl Hyde’s Favourite Albums
Joe Clay , April 25th, 2013 09:07

Following the release of his first solo album, Edgeland, the Underworld singer picks out the jewels of his record collection

John_martyn_1366894682_resize_460x400

John Martyn – Inside Out
It may seem like a change of tack, but it’s not actually. This is his most processed album. This is what I’m a fan of John Martyn for and something I don’t think anyone else has ever done before. It’s that sort of processed acoustic guitar that features a lot on my solo record, where the guitars are so heavily processed. John did this brilliantly. I saw him tour this album – it was one of the first gigs I ever saw as a youngster. It was astonishing hearing him making these beautiful soundscapes on a battered old Martin guitar through a delay line and a fuzz box. Not only was he a master of the guitar, he was also a master of processed sound. He used the voice in the way, again, that was like a tone generator. The words were barely audible but they made tones, in the way that Miles Davis might play his horn. Sometimes he’d sing in a completely different key. It was all about where he positioned the sound and the timbre. I don’t think he ever released another record that explored the acoustic process in the way that he did here. I know people that worked with him and had his effects pedals – I tried to get hold of them for this project (Edgeland) but they were long gone. It was a reference point for me for this album. I wanted to take that concept on, and Inside Out was my jumping off point.

To me, Edgeland has folk music at its heart. And folk music has always been present in your work, even in Underworld, just not so overtly.

Sure, I love straight folk music, but there was something about Inside Out that was unlike any record he made. There was a recording that he made called ‘Anna’ that was a fusion of the music from (Martyn’s) ‘The Small Hours’ and a lyric by someone else that was put together for a film. He re-sang the melody and re-played ‘The Small Hours’, but with this other lyric. And he sent us it and we were toying with the idea of working together on this particular recording that was done in Australia. It’s the most beautiful piece of processed guitar playing that I’ve ever heard. It was an inspiration for ‘Cut Clouds’ on my album.

Did that recording of 'Anna' ever see the light of the day?

I think it might have done, on a compilation record [a version appears on the live album Live At The Bottom Line]. It was a very specific recording, very soon after he’d recorded it for the film. His delivery was breathtaking.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.