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Baker's Dozen

Too Good To Be True: Tom Robinson's Favourite Albums
Lisa Jenkins , August 7th, 2013 07:52

The erstwhile punk frontman and now radio presenter and all-round man of music distils his sprawling record collection down to his 13 finest albums


Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land
I saw him being interviewed in Sound On Sound. What he’d talk about was philosophy. Why you make music, or what music is for, and things that went way beyond what the interviewer was trying to ask him about. It was clear that he was trying to pioneer a form of music that wasn’t designed to be listened to, but to be heard. That was the really fascinating thing about what he was doing with that Ambient series of albums. He was reaching towards it with Music For Airports and Music For Films. He hit his stride with On Land, where there are longer pieces. It’s since been copied so much that it doesn’t sound at all original to modern ears.

I think it’s an extraordinary soundscape, one that has musical notes in it and yet you can’t pick out a melody or a chord sequence. Yet it isn’t noise either - it was unlike any music I’d heard before then. I think I bought it on an album, but then immediately transferred it to a cassette so I could hear it in the car and on my Walkman. I listened to it mainly on cassette and it’s just the most incredible mood music. I still listen to it today. I mean, not constantly, because you don’t want to wear it out, but it’s like his Oblique Strategies at the same time. It’s all part of that deep philosophy that he had.