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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


Weather Report - Mysterious Traveller
I'm loyal to Weather Report's vision. I can understand how some people come in through the wrong door with them. This album is from a point where they're coming out of this improvisational period. Their first few albums were really exploratory and you had to be quite committed to them; they weren't instant records. But they had plenty of acclaim and backing from their record label. It's amazing that there was a point in time when record labels backed that kind of music.

But this was the point when they were playing a lot of colleges and they added a more funky span to what they were doing. So the bass guitar started to get more prominent. It was Alphonso Johnson playing bass here and not Jaco Pastorious, and people forget that Alphonso Johnson did a lot of the groundbreaking stuff for the fretless bass.

There's a painterly quality about this album and the orchestration gets more densely textured. You've got tracks like 'Jungle Book', that closes the album, and it's a beautiful track that could be put together by coloured pencils. It's a very pastel-y track where they've taken an improvisation and drawn round and over the top of it. Tracks like that are really funky.

We didn't have "world music" back then, but this was the beginnings of that idea; of something beyond the horizon of our culture and something that was kind of hidden. It wasn't about doing an authentic version of ethno-musicology, but taking different elements; it was all about colours.