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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


Miles Davis - Live Evil
My whole thing has gone playlist now, so I'll have this on my headphones now as I walk around because sitting down to listen to two sides of vinyl is less frequent in my life. But certainly when I bought Live Evil, it was the only record that I played for months! And quite deeply so.

A friend had lent me an album on CBS, which had an inner sleeve and on this inner sleeve would be descriptions of other records. And on one of them was a journalist wordily describing this as something like, "… an exploration of a sonic journey", and that really set my imagination off. And the cover of Live Evil is fantastic. It just looked like a fascinating object, and it was a double album as well. It was a high-risk purchase.

But playing this record, it was like, "Wow! What is this amazing, glowing world?" And it had these Hermeto Pacoal tracks on it that are really ambient – 'Nem Un Talvez' is one and 'Little Church' is the other – and those tracks really got me. Back then there was no particular place to start listening with what would become ambient music. There were pieces that were beatless but these were deeply coloured and were way before Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze records, which we didn't have much patience for.

But there's so much bursting out of this record. Most of it is recorded live and the fact that John McLaughlin was on it really makes it for me, and he's just an amazing artist and guitarist. On this record, he's free as a bird and it's just mental. He just lights up this record. [Keyboardist] Keith Jarrett's on it, and he's a particularly complicated improviser.

I jumped into that world and the ripples from diving into that pond, I just follow them. All the people that played on that record came out of Miles Davis' world.