The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Serious Vibe: Dave Okumu Of The Invisible's Favourite Albums
Danny Riley , March 10th, 2016 10:59

Before he plays Convergence festival, the prolific singer and guitarist speaks to Danny Riley about the albums that have shaped his musical life, including D'Angelo, Aphex Twin and "diminutive funk goblin" Prince


D'Angelo – Voodoo
Oh, shit! Save that till the end. I love that record, flipping hell. I was at university when that came out. I failed at university, I was barely there, I was just playing music all the time. It came out and it blew my mind, and I think I listened to it a couple of times every day for about two years. I got really obsessed with that record and went on a crazy journey of trying to understand it. I suppose it just felt so deeply steeped in a heritage of music that is just so good. I could feel Prince, Sly & The Family Stone, Al Green, all this stuff, and I could feel the Dilla thing. All these things coalescing in something that felt totally timeless but also so earthy and swampy and raw. There's that sense you get with a record when it feels like a classic, it feels like a real benchmark record. I was really most obsessed with the feel of it and what was going on in relation to the beat, and how time was being stretched and pulled. I really became obsessed with that; I guess it's something which you find in Dilla's production where you get this elastic feeling with time. It's the opposite of the "grid" in music software. It feels very human to me. I became really obsessed with the bass playing on that record, realising this connection that Pino [Palladino] and D'Angelo have.

Around that time was when I met Pino in the studio and started doing a bit of writing and recording. Again, just an invaluable lesson for me, watching someone like that work and how they approached things in the studio. He had this incredible musicality, always shifting in the most subtle ways, and that's a quality that's there all through Voodoo. Things that feel like loops, but there are these performative, subtle shifts that are happening all the time that give the music so much depth. I learned a lot from that record, I really identify with the aesthetic, and it feels like there's a respect for the ancestry of that music. It feels very studied but in a liberating way, and I feel like it's one of those records that people will look to in years and years to come.