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Baker's Dozen

Augmenting Reality: Devendra Banhart's Favourite Albums
Tara Joshi , September 28th, 2016 09:34

Following the release of his ninth album, Ape In Pink Marble, the LA-based singer-songwriter and artist opts against a theme of lobster-based smut (read on) and talks Tara Joshi through his 13 all-time favourite records


Maki Asakawa – Maki Asakawa's World
I think Maki might have been a find by Andy Cabic of Vetiver – it's kind of Andy Cabic, Zach Cowie and Josiah Steinbrick, Kevin Parker, too – they're these super record heads. So much of my musical discovery and education comes from our friendship, where we're all switching records and going record hunting together. This is prior to online music, even online music retail; this is something that began decades ago for us. Andy found Maki's record in a record bin in San Francisco. We put it on and we couldn't believe it – the first song to me always reminds me of my favourite television song. I just fell in love with her and started to find the rest of her records. She's this very mysterious kind of Japanese Nico. She really embodies something that I've always been attracted to and appreciated – it's a particular aesthetic or philosophy or musical ethos that I've always tried to subscribe to as well, which is to play with different genres. She goes from these really subdued jazz pieces to really rollicking, frolicking kind of New Orleans-style big-band stuff, to very Eastern – as in India Eastern – stuff; ragas, basically. Then she goes into folky stuff, she has techno-y, more electro-pop-y songs, too, so she really runs the gamut and it's all very Maki. That's something I love to hear.

I was going to meet her – it had been arranged that I was going to meet her while we were playing in Australia; the next day we were off to Japan and she passed away. She passed away a day before I was supposed to meet her, which was so sad – I would have loved to meet her, and she passed away at a relatively young age. She's a legend, and a very mysterious figure – there's really not that much information about her, and she's not that well known in the West. That's starting to change now and actually a best of has just been reissued, but I still think she is yet to be really shared in the right way or heard in the right way. I think she's set for a revival, but she's still not as well known as she should be. So hopefully this can help people check her out. This is also a daily, drive-around-LA listen.