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Baker's Dozen

Gorgeous: Graham Massey Of 808 State's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , March 4th, 2020 08:41

Graham Massey guides Julian Marszalek through 13 favourite albums, from Santana to Bowie, Gong, Magma, Miles Davis, and the time he went out for kebabs with Marshall Allen


David Bowie - Low
Bowie was so important when we were growing up in terms of the way he chose different directions and that that was an acceptable thing to be doing. You'd just be getting into one thing and then he'd turn into the Thin White Duke or something and he'd invite you to twist your head around that.

And when Low came out it was like, "Whoah!" because it was a complete head twister in terms of how the record sounded, and how Bowie removed himself from the music because there's hardly any upfront Bowie on it. I've always liked instrumental stuff – things like The Shadows and The Tornados' 'Telstar' and those kinds of things – and it's reflected in the music of 808 State, which draws from that kind of thing where melody is the central thing. But the instrumentals on Low almost sound like backing tracks and that's quite confusing. And it was beatless, and that took you to another place.

Plus, it was also the record when I first fell in love. There's that theory of your first love record, where it soundtracks your summer and Low is that record. That kind of music and that hormonal rush creates a kind of nostalgia that's deeper than other records.

The fact that Brian Eno is on it, when I first started making music, gave me a bit of elbow-room. With the musicians around now, there's a lot of technique, but technique isn't the key to everything. This idea of being a non-musician and using noise as your instrument defined me quite early on; the School of Eno was in me!

Even though it was recorded in 1976 and released in 1977, in some ways this is the first post-punk record. This certainly coalesces with PiL's first album, and it they both gave rise to the notion that not everything proggy should be thrown out with the bathwater.