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Baker's Dozen

Burn Again: Lawrence English's Favourite Albums
Kate Hennessy , November 19th, 2015 10:52

After celebrating Room40's 15th birthday, the label head and ambient composer pauses in his hometown of Brisbane to go from Swans to Japanese court music in taking Kate Hennessy through his 13 "foundational" records


Ornette Coleman - Dancing In Your Head
The first time I heard Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz I was confused in the most beautiful way. It was direct, tactile and physical but entirely abstract and confusing. Nothing was as it should be, or everything was as it shouldn't be… a perfect counterpoint to expectation.

Dancing In Your Head is one of Coleman's lesser-known records. The final track, 'Midnight Sunrise', is why I chose this album. On this recording, Coleman is performing alongside the Master Musicians Of Jajouka in one of the great unions of the 20th century. The elegant and angular harmonic worlds of these two masters are a perfect match. I also like the story that accompanies the record. In short, a vast amount of material was recorded and lost in a warehouse fire. The only tapes remaining were carried back by Coleman after the session and that's what is heard on 'Midnight Sunrise'.

This particular piece is so full and rich. The drums echo, as though they're reflecting off some distant mountain and Coleman emerges and decays inside a massive wall of ghaitas - it is so evocative and transcendent. I've always wanted to go to the Rites Of Pan festival; hopefully that will happen some day.