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Baker's Dozen

13 Reasons Why I Can't Pick My 13 Favourite Records, By Drew Daniel
The Quietus , September 25th, 2014 06:41

When we asked Drew Daniel of Matmos and The Soft Pink Truth for his Baker's Dozen, he refused - and with good reasons. Thirteen of them, to be precise. Here Daniel presents them in an essay titled A Rant Against The Quantification Of Aesthetics. All photographs courtesy of Drew Daniel


Reason Seven: People's Favourite Records Can Be Really Boring. On Purpose.
Can something be your favourite if you don't think it's all that amazing? The honest answer is yes. Like most workers who sit at desks and stare at screens all day and all night, I have spent hours of my life deliberately listening to music that doesn't ask much of me, keenly aware that its very emptiness and lack of noticeable qualities (sudden or rapid key or arrangement changes, striking voices, big dynamic shifts, loud solos) was the point: it offered me enough activity so that I didn't have a maddening silence, but never intruded. I have a select canon of mind-focussing recordings that help me write, and I'm immensely grateful for their existence. But it seems to me to misrepresent how I use them to call them "favourites" in that I really don't grant them attention for their own sake, but condemn them to purr along at low volume while I work. Nestling in the hum of the deliberately simple and yes maybe kinda ignorable, this type of un-listening is a practice of self-care that clearly partakes of "favouritism" insofar as some recordings can serve that purpose better than others. But it's a favouritism for things we ignore. And so these recordings tends to get passed over when people are put on the spot about their taste, because people making lists want to pack them with things that sound exciting. Which leads to further dishonesty and posturing as they sheepishly conceal the drab functionality of modern living.