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Baker's Dozen

Beloved Transmissions: Mary Anne Hobbs' Favourite Albums
Daniel Dylan Wray , May 22nd, 2017 08:14

Ahead of her curation at the Manchester International Festival, Mary Anne Hobbs guides Daniel Dylan Wray on an inspiring trip through 13 records that shaped her life


David Bowie - Low
I remember sitting on my bedroom floor, playing Low over and over again. It was one particular track that really resonated with me, which was 'Subterraneans'. My love of space and texture probably established itself in that moment. As a kid I remember thinking to myself, 'I wonder what he's trying to tell me in these lyrics?' in that extraordinary language that he created for this piece. I honestly believed that if I could decode the lyrics that I would get the keys to the gate. I interviewed him a couple of times and I did have the opportunity to talk to him about the lyrics to 'Subterraneans' but I decided not to, actively so. I didn't want a straight answer. I love the idea of being lost inside that mystery and having to solve it personally and I'm still trying to do that, I return to it over and over again. One of Bowie's favourite artists was Francis Bacon and his greatest quote was, "it's the job of the artist to deepen the mystery" and it was just something that Bowie excelled at, no matter how much he gave, which was so much of himself in every dimension. The element of mystery still superseded everything. I think texturally, definitely, that was the seed for me. That beautiful atmosphere that Eno creates as that track rolls out. At that age, I hadn't experienced anything like that in my life, so it touched me very, very profoundly. For me one of the primary reasons to buy an album has always been the artwork and I remember seeing his face, that beautiful image of him, his head and shoulders sideways facing on and the orange glow all around him. I thought, 'I need to know who this man is'