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Baker's Dozen

Free, Open Spaces: Brian Eno's Favourite Records
William Doyle , April 13th, 2016 10:00

Before he releases his new album The Ship, the composer, producer and artist gives William Doyle a tour of some of his favourite records and tracks, reflecting on how they've shaped his own approach to music


Me'Shell NdegéOcello – Plantation Lullabies
I used to have a studio in Brondesbury Villas up in Kilburn and there was a little book shop that I used to go to and one day they were playing this record. I think she is one of the great musicians alive at the moment; she plays bass but she plays it with such ferocity. She's a very interesting person to work with because she doesn't think at all in terms of chords or anything. You just play a track to her and she just starts to do something. She comes up with the most amazing riffs that are just completely unlike anything anyone would think of doing.

The go-go scene she came out of was a particular approach to rhythm, and it's very contained. It's not at all splashy. It's all about really intricate, tight and accurate rhythm. I was in Montreux in 1995, I was working with David [Bowie] on that album, Outside, and the festival was on. I heard this music coming from the festival place and I thought, "Wow, what is that?", and it was her with her seven-piece band, who were the meanest looking people you've ever seen. This giant on the drums, two guitar players with these kind of slitty shades playing the meanest funk guitar. It was the probably the best show I ever saw. I was shivering with excitement.

It's so harmonically dangerous. It's so strange what the instruments are playing. If you heard them in the abstract you'd think you could never put these together into a song. They're off on their own trips and somehow they just cohere together.