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Baker's Dozen

Blissful Resonance: Brian DeGraw Of Gang Gang Dance's Favourite Albums
Tristan Bath , January 14th, 2014 06:16

With Brian DeGraw's debut solo album as bEEdEEgEE released last month, the Gang Gang Dance founder member speaks to Tristan Bath about thirteen of his favourite albums, from Scott Walker and Pharaoh Sanders to Burial and Public Enemy


Ludus - The Seduction

Ludus have always been an important group to me. I was first introduced to them through Morrissey, who always had a knack for turning his audience onto the personal favourites in the back catalogue of his heart. As a 15 year old I would militantly track down every artist that he would namedrop in interviews. Some were reasonably obscure unsung heroes, people like Hurricane Smith or Mary Margaret O'Hara, some were legendary yet fairly "unsuccessful" like Klaus Nomi, and others were hugely recognised - Marc Bolan, Sparks, Timi Yuro. The one that always stood out the most, stuck with me the longest and resonated with me the deepest was Ludus. While I was rapidly educating myself on plenty of the Manchester post-punk type stuff, using Buzzcocks and Magazine as my starting point, Ludus initially stuck out like a beautifully sore thumb amongst that scene.  I had read that their albums were recorded on leftover Buzzcocks studio time and the singer performed wearing a dress made of raw meat whilst sporting a giant prosthetic strap-on… things Gaga could only have dreamt of as an egg in her mother's womb.

After the initial waves of sensational excitement these stories aroused in me I spent a large percentage of my days searching out the recorded material to no avail, until finally my friend Jim Loman managed to procure a cassette tape of The Seduction which had been transferred from a vinyl copy far, far away. When I first started DJing in 1998 I would always be sure to bring along a portable dictaphone-type tape player so I could mix this tenth generation cassette into my sets. I had been pretty immersed in free jazz stuff for a few years preceding '98, and I was also listening to all the standard New York new and no wave bands like Mars, DNA, James Chance, and stuff like that. So Ludus was the absolute perfect morph of all my favourites at the time. Any given Ludus song could seamlessly flow from a jagged funk groove to a total free jazz freakout, with Yoko-esque vocal wailing to dissonant pop or disco. It was a sound whose lack of musical boundaries created a genreless voice all its own. Clever, political, scary, beautiful, emotional, academic, non-academic, danceable, un-danceable, feral, subconcious consciousness at its best. This one has lived closely with me since the day I heard it.