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Baker's Dozen

True Pairings: Tom Fleming's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Hewitt , September 25th, 2019 12:16

Former Wild Beast Tom Fleming, who's just released his excellent debut album as One True Pairing, picks the 13 records that shaped him, from Tool and Def Leppard to Scott Walker and Joanna Newsom


Xasthur – Nocturnal Poisoning

He’s an interesting artist: he’s from suburban California, not Norway or anywhere like that. One thing I love about this record is the titles. There’s a song called ‘A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors’, and that’s wonderful. It’s like anime, it’s magnificent. I always do the titles first – I love them, they’re my favourite thing to write. I’m like … ‘‘King of The Rats’, I’ll do something called that, definitely.’ ‘’Zero Summer’, yeah, brilliant, T.S. Eliot, nick it.’ And that becomes a guiding light for everything.

This record is really hypnotic. I think they called it depressive black metal: it’s full of dirty guitars and the lyrics, although they’re hard to make out, are about despair and depression and isolation. I admire the singular vision of it, and I think it’s a million miles above all the other Burzum-worshippers. It’s just incredibly complex and evocative, and it’s an album I’ll listen to for pleasure. It’s a harsh-sounding record, but it’s still a headphones-listen because it’s so deep and enveloping. He uses his voice as an instrument and the way he sings sounds like a dust cloud; to say it’s beautiful would be pushing it, but it is ethereal and part of a bigger whole. It was influential on the blackgaze thing which is still happening today, with bands like Liturgy and Deafhaven. He’s completely abandoned black metal and is making depressive folk music these days, touring with Ben Chasny and Six Organs of Admittance, which is cool.