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Baker's Dozen

God's Own Medicine: Wayne Hussey's Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , October 10th, 2013 08:06

We put in a long-distance call to Brazil to ask The Mission frontman and former Sister Of Mercy about the gems in his record collection


Can - Tago Mago
This is probably a bit of a strange one for me. When I moved to Liverpool at the end of ‘77 this was very popular among the cool musicians of the town. So I was kind of introduced to it at roughly the same time as I was introduced to drugs and LSD, I suppose. So I always associate this album with Liverpool and tripping. Even now when I listen to it I have an acid flashback, in a way. It’s space music, but it’s very European rather than British. I’d never heard anything like it, to be honest. It was just something quite alien to me. There’s a fantastic use of delay on this record, and a lot of the grooves sound like what bands were doing with loops in the late eighties and early nineties. There are bits of it that really sound like the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays to me, and Primal Scream; it’s had a big influence on a lot of musicians. It’s a very groovy record, it’s got great use of dub-like delays, and it sounds like they had fun playing it as well, which is always a bonus! Obviously they meant what they were doing, but there’s nothing really earnest about this record. It’s just fun and funky, and it’s another one where I would hazard a guess that there were drugs involved.

Another thing about this record is that the vocals aren’t really demanding of your attention in the way that most vocals are; it’s almost like they’re another instrument in the overall soundscape. For me it reminds me of a time when I was feeling my way in the world I suppose, and there’s a lot of innocence in my memory for this record. But it’s also an album that I’ve maybe grown to appreciate a bit more as I’ve grown older, because you recognise that what the musicians are doing, they’re not that bothered about reaching a huge audience or getting on the radio or any of those considerations; it doesn’t seem like it to me anyway, they’re just enjoying the playing. And that’s something that, as a musician, when you hear that you recognise it and it’s something you applaud. Whether or not you like the music is beside the point; you applaud the fact that that’s what they’re doing.

Again, it’s all about the band playing together and getting in a groove. There are moments in that record where - as a musician, you play together with people, there are moments where - and this is usually live - there are moments where it becomes transcendental. You’re elevated above where you are, and it’s usually only a fleeting thing that lasts for seconds, but it happens, and when it happens it’s quite amazing. And it feels to me when you listen to this record that that happens, quite a few times, that they’re just playing and they’ve reached this state of communion with each other that’s elevating them. It’s such a simple record in many respects, but it’s deep.