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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful Colours Everywhere: Dan Snaith Of Caribou's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , October 30th, 2014 12:08

Deep in the middle of a worldwide tour to promote his new album Our Love, Dan Snaith takes some time to pore over his favourite albums and tells Joe Clay about "the music that I grew up with"


Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity
I came to this record through the Encyclopaedia Of Jazz. As a teenager I played a lot of jazz piano, but more like learning how to play bop or more traditional types of jazz. And I was getting to the point where I was starting to find out about Sun Ra and some of the weirder stuff that was out there, and I was working through the encyclopaedia and I crossed every record off the list if I thought it would be far out and interesting. We had a scam going at the time. HMV in Toronto was pretty relaxed and you could return things for cash value immediately. So I'd go in and buy a stack of ten CDs and I'd just got a CD burner - this was like 1997 - so I'd take them home and burn them all and then take them straight back. And they'd be like, "You've got the entire recorded work of The Beatles here - you didn't find anything that you liked on there?" And I'd be like, "No these are all rubbish, sorry." And I did the same with John Coltrane.

Then I can remember getting to the Albert Ayler page of the encyclopaedia and you know how there's that snooty canonisation thing with jazz music where somebody like Wynton Marsalis or one of those conservative types would be like, "This guy lost the plot. He went off the deep end." But this record blew me away. I got this and Interstellar Space, the John Coltrane album, and they both have long periods of free-form wildness on them. But the thing I loved about Albert Ayler is the melodies on the songs - again, a lot of them sound the same, but they feel so elemental to me. It's another record where I feel like those melodies have been there since the beginning of time and it just took him to play them. The sound of his saxophone is so amazing. It's super far-out and forward-looking. If that's too out there for you, there's this album by him called New Grass, where he hired a rock band, and it's like some A&R man had tried to make him have a hit record. There's a song on it called 'Heart Love' - it's less far-out but it has his crazy saxophone playing on it, but with a beautiful melody and this free-soul singing on it.