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Baker's Dozen

Embedded In The Skull: Colin Stetson's Favourite LPs
Cian Traynor , March 9th, 2017 10:27

As the experimental multi-instrumentalist prepares to release an envelope-pushing solo album and play the Quietus-partnered Big Ears Festival in Tennessee, he takes us through 13 LPs that have shaped the journey so far.


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – The Day, the Night, the Dawn, the Dusk
In my first year at music school, I was very fortunate to be part of a new, unconventional approach to music theory at the University of Michigan. My friends and I were in a class where our TA [teaching assistant] brought in different types of world music, along with a lot of American music we'd never been exposed to. Notable in there was Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Bulgarian clarinetist Ivo Papazov, who is still the champ in my eyes.

I don't think this particular Nusrat record is very well known, although he is world renowned and one of the most famous musicians from Pakistan ever. But it was the first that I heard of his and it remains my favourite. I can't divorce my affection for it from that time. It's an important point for everybody in forming real emotional bonds with music, with reading and just with life. Everything is just exploding at that stage of your development – even more so for musicians at music school. You're coming from your small pond and being thrust into a new world where everybody is the same as you: completely immersed in music, its history and the pursuit of making it. So there's a certain mindset of madness that we all got into, just devouring whatever we could.

It would be impossible to quantify how often I've listened to this throughout a whole array of mental states. I become pretty single-minded when I get inspired by something, listening to it over and over until it's fully absorbed. This record is deeply ingrained in me.