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Baker's Dozen

A Tower Of Songs: Sylvie Simmons' Favourite Music
Manu Ekanayake , August 13th, 2020 09:48

Like a gamekeeper turned poacher, rock journalist Sylvie Simmons has a new album of her own music out. Here she guides Manu Ekanayake through 13 lifelong inspirations, from Leonard Cohen to Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and Black Sabbath


Miles Davis – Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud
This keeps turning up in my life at different times. It's one of those albums that most people I don't think know about. It's strange, because a lot of it I haven't played for probably six months, so since lockdown, but I remember that a lot of things in there seem to be snippets that were kind of cut off short. Usually when you think of atmospheric moody jazz it's something that slinks along for a long time and you get into this dream world. I get into that straight away here but there's something about this album and that's that I always hear something different in it, like I do with Leonard Cohen. And I keep getting drawn back to it. Now jazz is something from my past; I mean my dad was a huge fan of Dixieland jazz, so I grew up with Dizzy Gillespie and things like that. I remember talking to Howe Gelb from Giant Sand, who produced both of my albums and who is as instrumental as Leonard Cohen is in me ever making music in the first place. He had said at one point that he had gone to live in the desert. This I think was in the 80s, and he took three albums with him for a company: one of them was Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits, one was this flamenco album and the other one was Lift To The Gallows. He spent months in the desert just listening to this and I feel like I'm spending months in some sort of desert when I listened to it too.