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Baker's Dozen

Reinventions Of The Near Future: James Dean Bradfield's Favourite LPs
Emily Mackay , September 23rd, 2014 08:25

With their Holy Bible shows just announced, the Manic Street Preachers frontman talks Emily Mackay through his all-time favourite albums


The Gentle Good - Y Bardd Anfarwol
I'd gotten into The Gentle Good after hearing his previous record, which was called Tethered For The Storm, which was lent to me by one of my neighbours back in Cardiff. That's how I switched onto him. I still love the accidental way you sometimes just get into music. He made this record when he took a trip to China because he'd become obsessed with the story of a Chinese poet called Li Bai. So Y Bardd Anfarwol is the immortal poet, basically; he has that west Walian edge to his music. He is a folk musician, even if I don't know if he'd like to be described as such, and this album has lots of Chinese musicians on it and it really is dealing with the myth and reality of this poet, and when he becomes a hermit. There's songs on there which are absolutely lovely. I like it when someone buys into a record; they jump into it, and they travel to another country, and they think: "I have to do this. I have to follow the path of this record." I'm not a great lover of world music - I'm not a great authority on it - but this was sometimes I could buy into; it was a smash-up which was enchanting. I love the fact he went from The Gathering Storm to this; it was a lovely seamless step that he made, and it's that kind of thing where I'm so entranced with this album, and it is a record that relaxes me, which is rare for me. I'm intrigued to see where he goes next, and that's lovely - it's the feeling you had when you're 15, and you go out and buy a third album from an artist and as soon as you finish digesting it you think, "God, I wonder what they're gonna do next." I kind of have that feeling with this guy.