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Baker's Dozen

Amorphous Choices: Mira Calix' Favourite Music
Jude Rogers , May 8th, 2019 12:42

Jude Rogers quizzes sound sculptor Mira Calix about her favourite albums, from MBV to Britten, Stravinsky to Laura Cannell, and PJ Harvey to the bountiful joys of the Warp back catalogue


Nina Simone – Wild Is The Wind
Another perfect record, with a title track that's one of my favourites. I've picked this so I can basically soak up Nina Simone and David Bowie on my list. Both are artists that have such a clear vision, and they're absolutely uncompromising – that means a lot to me. And my dad loved jazz when I was small, so that's how I got to know Nina.   I knew from very early on that she was an outspoken woman, and a strong activist. That was so apparent in her music alone, without me knowing anything about her – that's  one of many things I really love about her. I also think of her as the original remixer. She'd take songs by other people – like 'Wild Is The Wind', this old film theme tune sung by Johnny Mathis – and give them very different orchestrations. That's remixing before remixing. She made everything her own.   I love David Bowie's version too. Nina's is mournful and a bit fucked-up, while his is hyperactive and romantic. I love it that they met in the 1970s [in 1974, when Bowie was in LA, a year before he recorded his version]. I can't believe that I haven't picked one of Bowie's records for this list, to be honest, because of all artists, Bowie is the ultimate for me. Constantly morphing and reinventing himself, recording, making art, dancing, collecting…he made me realise I didn't have to be one kind of artist, both in terms of sound and image and movement. So this choice is a tribute to that song, and that kind of individual, more than anything. Oh, and Cat Power's version is fantastic too. [laughs]  I know I can't squeeze any more in!