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Baker's Dozen

Psychedelic Thread: Gaz Coombes' Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , April 23rd, 2015 10:36

With an upcoming UK tour and an appearance at Field Day coming in the wake of his second album Matador, the former Supergrass man gives Julian Marszalek a tour of his top 13 LPs


Jorge Ben - África Brasil
I was reading a David Byrne interview and he was talking about Jorge Ben and this album and he talked about this track, 'Hermes Trismegisto Escreveu', and he loved the groove of it. I think it was about the time he was working with Brian Eno on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts and there's a track called 'Regiment', for which he admitted he took the groove from that Jorge Ben track. And I loved My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts so I then tracked down África Brasil, explored it and loved it.

It's weird - I want to give it more credit than it being just a party album or a dinner party album or a tour bus aftershow album, because it is more than that, but that's how I've always listened to it. It's a real go-to record for any kind of little party that I might have but musically it's not in any kind of box. It makes me feel good and I think that combination of South American and African music makes you realise that there's more to it. It has a real gravitas and weight behind it. There's a real importance about this record.

Have I explored these rhythms? It's a tricky one. Supergrass did a few times. Something like 'Kiss Of Life' explored a kind of Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club/Jorge Ben vibe but you have to be careful as well; music shouldn't have any boundaries, but you have to be aware of what school you're from. You know, I don't think I'd make a particularly good rap album but I fucking love listening to it. But it's totally different listening to it. I have this view that, just because it feels great and it's fun to play, it doesn't mean that anybody wants to hear you play that. There has to be a point when you have a look at what you're good at and how the music can speak in the right way. It's a real fine line between being yourself and satisfying your pleasures but being aware that not everybody will want to hear that.

But I'll tell you what - while I wasn't necessarily going for those kinds of beats from Jorge Ben and records like that, it was more the sounds and the approach and the rhythmic ideas that I was playing around with in the studio and looping a lot of stuff. I was sampling stuff from around the studio and playing beats on weird objects and then looping it. 'Oscillate' on Matador came from this little loop box that I've got and a lot of that was inspired by the vibe of African percussion and sounds and you can hear the room and the air around it. I can't be proficient in that world but I can take different elements from it that I appreciate sonically.