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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.


Super Onze – Super 11
In 2010, I had the chance to visit Mali with The Sway Machinery, which is the band of Jeremiah Lockwood – an incredible blues guitarist as well as a completely unique musical presence. Jeremiah is the confluence between North American blues and Jewish cantorial singing, because he comes from a long line of cantors. There's a strong Malian vibe to the way he plays and so we were invited to perform at the Festival in the Desert, just outside Timbuktu, as the first Jewish music to play there.

On the first night, we saw this band Super Onze and were completely slack-jawed in awe. Sometimes you hear music that's new to you but you can still imagine it in the context of the wider musical world and its history. This not only sounded new to us but felt like it couldn't exist. It was completely foreign to a point where it seemed both ancient and futuristic.

It's a very minimalist, cyclical music and the way it's encapsulated on record is a beautiful glimpse into that world. But normally the musicians come through a village, set up and play a non-stop jam for days. People will come and go to get some sleep but the music just keeps going.

That night at the festival, I immediately asked if we could meet them, which led to us sharing a tent the next day and putting on an impromptu concert with both bands improvising for a couple of hours. It was insane. Just to have those memories in my skull is crazy. They've been a huge influence on me ever since.