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Baker's Dozen

Funk Soul Brother: Alexis Taylor Of Hot Chip's Favourite Albums
Dom Smith , July 17th, 2014 12:58

With his second solo album Await Barbarians released last month and a run of summer festival sets upcoming, the Hot Chip and About Group man gives Dom Smith his favourite album rundown


Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo (The Gospel According To St. Matthew) soundtrack
It's a film that my parents introduced me to when I was younger that's by a director called Pasolini. It's a black and white film about the life and times of Jesus Christ. The only words on screen are words from the Bible. So it's a quite direct representation of that particular gospel story, according to Matthew, but it's a really inventive film. The director may have taken the story direct from the Bible, but what he does with the music and editing, as well as the use of non-actors in the film, it's just a really original and moving film. It features scenes where at points you're hearing a gospel song by Odetta, and she's singing a song called, 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child' which is this amazing gospel tune. She's singing that to accompany scenes of the children being killed by Herod. The music in the film is very raw. It'll use a song that's going to spell something out literally. I don't know how Pasolini chose all these songs for the film or who was in charge of the music selection. You've got Blind Willie Johnson - the old blues artist - accompanying some of the miracle scenes where people are getting their sight back.

It's an exercise in juxtaposing very disparate elements that actually really enhance each other. You have to second guess it though, because of the way it's edited, a scene will suddenly just be chopped really harshly, and the film will move on to something else. All of these things are very powerful - and unusual - devices in film-making. In a way, if it's not too pretentious to say it, some of that harsh editing and juxtaposing with disparate elements on screen with music is something that I feel inspired by in terms of making a record. Things don't always have to fit together neatly, or as you'd expect them to. If you think about it in terms of the Alex Chilton record I mentioned earlier, that album is kind of a guide through rock & roll, country and soul music or Americana if you like, and this one is a guide to raw, blues and gospel as well as a classical take on the gospel. It's a very eclectic soundtrack with music that definitely enhances what's going on on the screen. It's very powerful music in its own right.