The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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

I__1583253382_resize_460x400

Santana - Welcome
I ended up with this record because it was at that point in my teenage years when I was swapping records with my mates at school. We were all a long-haired, Afghan coat-wearing gang into Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and all those classic rock guitar bands.

And Santana were almost amongst that; even when you go to albums like Abraxas and the early albums, they have a quite exotic kind of quality about them, so when Welcome came out, it was really rejected by the gang. It was like, "Whoah! They've gone too far! What is this nonsense? We don't understand it!"

I got someone else's copy of it and I really started to sink into it. There are so many signposts in this record to the jazz world that has sustained me through the years. The first time I heard the words "John Coltrane" was through this record. Alice Coltrane is on the first track, which is this version of Dvořák's 'Going Home', which is adapted from his New World Symphony. It's like a classical piece played on a Mellotron. It's very dramatic and it's got nothing to do with rock music and more to do with that spiritual jazz that Alice Coltrane was knocking about. At that point, you couldn't give Alice Coltrane records away, and it's interesting that they didn't really gain currency until the late 90s.

And then you've got people like Leon Thomas on the record, the guy who did the yodeling on Pharoah Sanders' records, which would lead you to his records. And John McLaughlin is on there, which would then lead you to The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Back then, you'd find these names on records and then when you were in the record shop, you'd find these names again and it all connected up like dot-to-dots.

The concept of "fusion" throws up so many bad images because there's a load of shit there, but there's also so much good stuff as well. With this album, I opened the door expecting that rock guitar thing, but the sound of this record is fascinating: it has so much air in it and you can hear the sound of the room being pushed around. To me, this record is like audio sunshine and it transports me to some transcendental place.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.