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Baker's Dozen

Moulding Voices: Julia Holter's Favourite Albums
Gary Kaill , September 23rd, 2015 09:22

From a girl group compilation heard in childhood to more recently discovered singer-songwriters and jazz via a medieval mass, the LA composer talks Gary Kaill through some key albums in her record collection


Guillame de Machaut (Ensemble Organum & Marcel Pérès) - Messe De Notre-Dame
I went to music school and this piece is probably given to every music student as a main example of what medieval music is, so it's not obscure in that world. It's almost funny that I'm putting it in here but I do love Machaut. To me, he's probably more notable for having written these secular love songs, which was pretty cool for that period. But I chose this piece because it's so powerful in an obvious way, just sonically, and what's cool about this performance is that they have these inflections in the voices which they think, I guess, is authentic. But I think that's debatable. It might be true, I'm not really sure. The singers bend the notes: they sing in kind of straight tones and then they bend the notes in a way that you don't really hear in other performances of this piece. It just sounds incredible, authentic or not. There are revolutionary things about this piece and why it's important but I don't remember what they are. When I was writing my song 'Marienbad', I was into madrigals and that straight-tone singing with lots of different voices