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Baker's Dozen

Sonic DNA: Natasha Khan Of Bat For Lashes’ Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , May 7th, 2013 08:50

As part of our series of articles previewing this year's Field Day Festival, Natasha Khan roots through her record collection to pick out her 13 top LPs


Cat Power - The Covers Record
I chose that because it made its biggest impact on me, because it was the first one I heard [of all of Cat Power's albums]. I remember hearing 'I Found A Reason', which was her Velvet Underground cover, on John Peel late at night when I was driving around and having a cigarette when I shouldn't have been. And I heard John Peel saying "listen to this amazing release by Cat Power, 'I Found A Reason'". I just remember hearing it and being like this is a woman I can love forever. I went to see her promote The Covers Record at this tiny gig at Bush Hall. She went on stage in front of maybe 100 people and then totally freaked out, then she was fine and she played some amazing songs and me and my boyfriend sat right at the front. We got to meet her and she just cuddled us: "You sent such good vibes throughout the whole show, I was looking at you the whole time because was everybody else was so scary", and I was just like "I love you!"

So it was just interesting; the other reason I chose The Covers Record is because her interpretations of 'Wild Is The Wind' or 'Satisfaction', 'Sea Of Love', it's like picking out classic songs, like The Langley Schools Music Project, and turning them on their head. For me, in 'Wild Is The Wind', that song could be David Bowie's version, it's sad, it's quite mellow, but she's just distilled it down to one particular aspect, which is really heartbreaking, dark chords, really so minimal. I love doing covers myself. I love changing your whole take on them and exploring a completely different side and changing the arrangements, and the chords even, and changing the lyrics sometimes, it almost becomes a poem that you're putting to something different. I think she's a connoisseur at that and probably because she doesn't play amazing piano and guitar, she does really simple backing, but it becomes almost like this spoken word poem.

When she performs, she pushes herself to the edge. The fact that she finds it so hard, you're living with her on the edge when you go to see her and sometimes it's frustrating and you get fed up with her, sometimes you're just willing her the whole way through and in love. I think it's really interesting, the emotions it brings up in the audience, how they deal with that - some people get really fucking angry and some people cry. I think it's like a really interesting psychological public experiment at some of her shows I've been to - I've been to maybe twenty of her shows, and sometimes it's a very uncomfortable, strange process, but it's like Andy Kaufman and stand-up comedians or public artists that just stage these really bizarre events and people's reactions to those. With most people, you go along, and they're there to put on a show and be competent and be amazing, and that's what people think they're paying for these days. We've said about the Langley Schools thing, she never grew out of that childlike weirdness; there's something about all of it that's unapologetic and being you, and if that presses people's buttons because they want you to be something else, they want you to carry them through, then I find that really interesting as well, what it does to the listener. What do you want from an album or a musician? What I want is to be taken to their rawest place. If that's uncomfortable sometimes, then that's cool. You just have to be with people and accept them.