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Baker's Dozen

Parallel Worlds: Peter Strickland's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , June 3rd, 2014 13:03

On the occasion of the Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga director releasing Wasp Boutique, a collaboration between Art-Errorist and Zsolt Sőrés, on his record label, and with a new feature film on the way, he sits down with Colm McAuliffe to talk 13 formative favourites


Folke Rabe - What??
It's one 25-minute drone piece and the other track is the same piece, only at half-speed lasting 50 minutes. Actually, the original vinyl version of the album (known as Was??) had a B-side called 'Proteinimperialism', but this reissue on Jim O'Rourke's Dexter's Cigar label is better. I first heard this when Steven Stapleton put me up in a caravan in the middle of the wilds of Ireland in 2001. We drank a huge amount of unpasteurized milk from the local mountain goats and he gave me that album to go to sleep to. I was already familiar with drone pieces by John Cale, Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, Phill Niblock and Charlemagne Palestine, but this was a very different portal. It's an incredibly concentrated piece with a tone that develops into a hypnotic oscillation. For a drone piece to work, it has to have an atmosphere and this has it in spades. It does sound as if it's beamed in from the spheres. You can't imagine the intervention of human hands. If there are hands or machines involved, they're probably acting merely as a conduit. I remember staring out the window of the caravan for the whole duration feeling thoroughly immersed. It was a clear sky and with no artificial light in the area, the stars were brilliantly luminous. The hills and low mountains looked as if they were part of a Lotte Reiniger silhouette backdrop. You knew those hills were teeming with goats, but you couldn't see anything. It was all still. It was an ideal environment for listening to that album. Had I heard it on the bus in Reading after work, it probably wouldn't be on this list. A good drone record has the power to transform one's state of mind. The older one gets, the harder it is to find that free hour to completely immerse yourself. I used to get pretty frustrated over the years with all the rejected film applications, but in hindsight, it was an invaluable time to listen without distraction.