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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


Igor Stravinsky – The Firebird (1910 version, played by City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle)
I've picked this because I studied ballet from a young age, into adulthood. I was meant to turn out as a ballerina! Obviously that didn't happen. But doing ballet taught me discipline and the importance of movement, and it gave me access to classical music. I was very lucky that I never saw classical music as not being for me. It worries me that so many kids are presented with classical music as being something that's beyond them. It's really not. I mean, if you've got a child, play this to them – I've seen it having this amazing effect on kids who are really young. It's quite weird, abstract and fantastical, but you can really hear the story in those sounds. They absolutely understand that. The Firebird introduced me to the idea of narrative music. The way it begins with this low bassline – it sounds like a drunk swarm of bees approaching. You become absorbed in it, and then it grows. It's a proper rush. And the music's got such an obvious progression from beginning to end, it's hard to be still when you're listening to it. It's like this crazy loop effect, years before that was possibly through electronics. I mean, Skrillex reminds me of this! Let's call it my ultimate dance track. And The Rite Of Spring came after The Firebird – that's not bad work. But The Firebird – and it has to be this version – is the Stravinsky work for me.