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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


David Toop - Black Chamber
There's a place in my mind that sounds like David Toop's records and every so often I find those sounds seeping into my consciousness. It's often the music I imagine for my dreams, the ones where sense doesn't need to pervade and there's a free-floating notion of time, space and everything else.

David's music is so very much his own, and I love this. Equal parts drama, dream and after-dusk haziness, he creates these intensely evocative and uneasy spaces in which you populate the music with your own memories: real or invented, it doesn't matter. Black Chamber is still a revelation to me. Every time I listen, I am taken somewhere else. Often it's Japan, a country David and I share an interest in. Other times it's to places I can't recognise from memories so I'm not really sure they're mine.

I owe David a huge amount - as a friend, musician and writer. He creates the crevices through which I have slipped into entire underworlds of interests from music to visual art to cooking. It's increasingly rare to find artists like him who synthesise vast swathes of cultural archives, taking fragments and weaving them into complex new narratives and ideas. I admire that desire, to reframe through a personal lens, all of these interests and concerns, especially when a great many of them have little or no relation to music.

I think what David Toop taught me is that music isn't just a singular cultural manifestation. It's embedded, it's part of a fabric and when we start to position it as such, the true richness of the art form comes to light.