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Baker's Dozen

Finding The Connection: Laetitia Sadier's Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , August 9th, 2017 08:04

Laetitia Sadier takes Ben Graham on a transformative journey via the power of music, with 13 records from Manchester to Rio De Janeiro, Toulouse to Chicago and beyond


Carmel- Carmel
What year was this made? 1982? I encountered this in the 80s but later on in the decade, probably 1989. I was an au pair in London and I knew I wanted a specific kind of music but I didn't know exactly where to find it. But I was looking for it and I came across this record. For me it was a realisation that I had a voice, through Carmel, because we need mirrors. Not that I sing like her, alas, but she pointed me in the direction of my own voice. I played this record recently and it still has its energy. There's not one wrinkle on it, it's absolutely raw, there on the turntable. Not all records can achieve that, or capture that amount of rawness. We're talking double bass, voice and maybe some percussion, so it's very stripped down. But it stands up really strongly, this record. And after that I think maybe there was a pressure or a desire to go more mainstream and to get more recognition in the music industry, and though I did buy all of her subsequent records, and I forced myself to like them, for me this was the one.

I saw her live at Ronnie Scott's and it was really weird what happened. She started singing and this amazing thing was just starting to come out, like a big snake. Wow, something started, but I saw it: she got scared of it. This is my interpretation: she got scared of something that was going to be tremendous and that was going to wash over us and transport us like crazy. It came out of the box and she got scared and went no, come here, and put it back in the box, and then played this really safe, boring gig. I was in tears! I was watching my hero and I saw how brilliant it could be and saw her go oh no, this is way too free, how are we going to be able to control this beast, and put it back in the box.

But this album really is of that post-punk era which I find really inspiring, actually, whereby you own what you do. You own your power and you manifest your power, and that I find is almost totally gone. Even the possibility of owning one's power is totally gone. I don't know, maybe it's not. I hope it's not, but I find in music, at this time you had to say fuck you to the man and do things on your own terms, and I don't see much of that nowadays. We're all kind of dictated to and crushed by trying to survive, basically. There was a real power in those years after punk. In France as well a lot of bands came out of that, and there were no apologies, there was no trying to water it down or trying to please. Some of this record reminds me of James Chance: there's that same raw energy there, and that groove, that dedication to grooving. What I find really appealing is that it feels as though it's all a matter of life and death. You really pour everything in there: all your soul, all your being is poured into what you do. And that is to be celebrated.

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