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Baker's Dozen

Psychedelic Meditation: Kurt Vile's Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , November 11th, 2015 13:13

As he starts the UK leg of touring b'lieve i'm goin down…, the Philadelphian singer-songwriter goes from live free jazz to dry-humoured piano sketches in picking 13 albums that steered the sound of his sixth album


Pharoah Sanders - Karma
Again, Jesse turned me onto that record, years ago. We revisited that when we were in the desert at Rancho De La Luna, we were playing lots of good stuff on YouTube through the mixing board. The house was so cool. David Catching, who lives there, he was out on tour - great guy, but we had the whole house to ourselves. Just that record - throw it on in the daytime and then the sun starts coming and you're in this chill house and you're just cranking this record and then eventually when the sun starts going down, that's just super psychedelic. It was a good companion piece. That record has Leon Thomas singing "the creator has a master plan" over and over again. Never thought about this at the time, but repeating lines in a spiritual way - there's a title track to b'lieve i'm goin down…, which isn't on the album, which is just the same line over and over again - something about that spiritual vibe. Eventually Leon Thomas just does this spiritual yodelling!

The record's so melodic. Pharoah Sanders does this cool thing - it's like pop, but it's like spiritual pop, mixed with jazz, where it's a relatively simple line, just a couple of chords, usually. It just puts you in this zone, it's so beautiful. It's simple, but not at all; nobody could touch it. Pharoah Sanders comes in eventually and plays the sweetest emotional sax and eventually it turns into insanity, noise, skronking and screeching. Honestly, he's known for that, but it's my least favourite part of him. I understand why he does it, because it reaches this climax and then all of a sudden, you come out and go back to this thing and it just goes all the way to the limit; it's just like life, it goes from zero to 60 and then you come back out of it. That's the beauty of him.

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