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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Types Of Elsewhere: Mark Fell's Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , October 9th, 2014 09:14

On the eve of his appearance at Semibreve, Portugal's annual celebration of "exploratory music and digital arts", Mark Fell guides us through his most beloved releases


Yello - Stella
When I first got invited to contribute to the Baker's Dozen series, I think my first thought was to consider the album as a kind of format. The collection of records here is not a list of my favourite music. It does not, for example, contain any Indian classical music, or things such as Satie's early piano works. These seem to be top of my iTunes list when sorted by play count. So there is something about the album as a form, where it seems like the album is more than just a collection of tracks. I'm not thinking of the 'concept album' cliché but something probably quite close to that, but without the progressive rock associations I have with it; not so much a journey, more like a manifesto statement. For me the album has a kind of cultural understanding - like feature film, the symphony, the novel and so on - it's a format we understand and have grown up with.

I hope that my first album choice demonstrates this point: Stella by Yello. I think I have probably played the slightly later greatest hits, 1980-1985: The New Mix In One Go much more, but for me Stella encapsulates something that the later collection does not. I think this is the specific combination of artwork, production style, and so on; like I said earlier, a kind of manifesto statement. At the time I was living in a small town in the north of England, and part of a kind of alternative community of misfits. Despite the slick, highly produced look and sound of this record, it kind of became the soundtrack to our activities. For me, this album's highlights are: 'Sometimes (Dr. Hirsch)' mainly for the amazing bassline, 'Desire', and the totally amazing 'Vicious Games'.