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Baker's Dozen

No Reconciliation Necessary: Doug McCombs' Favourite LPs
Nick Hutchings , July 16th, 2015 13:36

With the prolific bassist and guitarist and Tortoise and Brokeback founder about to release a new album, Works For Tomorrow, with Eleventh Dream Day, he gives Nick Hutchings a tour of his most seminal records


Earth - The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
I was peripherally aware of Earth in the 90s as garage minimalism or whatever people called them, you know, the precursor to Sunn O))), but they really came to my attention more recently when they came back with this melody-based music.

Coincidentally, I was playing in Rhys Chatham's Die Donnergötter band and one of the other guitar players said that the new Earth sounded like Brokeback. It was the Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method record and I could see parallels. I currently think of Brokeback as a slow surf band. It could be that a slow surf band and a slow metal band that dials back the distortion sound like the same thing.

The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull really impresses me. It surprises me when a band that I haven't paid much attention to does their best thing 20 years into it. Incredible. I get the idea that Dylan [Carlson] operates in a void and doesn't really care about much else. I could be wrong.

Bill Frisell plays on this album - tell us about him?

Bill Frisell is an interesting guitar player and a great choice to have play on an Earth record. He has a jazz background, but tends to weave lots of country, blues and folk phrasing into what he does. Not to get too academic about it. Taking a less academic tack, his playing is kind of ghostly.

The title of this album makes a biblical reference, while Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die also has a spiritual etymology - how spiritual are you?

I'm an atheist but I try not to be a cynic. My spirituality lies in a belief in nature. There's a Freakwater lyric that says: "There's nothing so pure as the kindness of an atheist."