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Baker's Dozen

Future Islands Discs: Samuel T. Herring's Favourite Albums
Patrick Clarke , October 14th, 2020 08:40

From teenage years spent amassing an arsenal of underground hip hop CDs to his first forays into jazz, post-rock and indie, Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring picks thirteen records that soundtracked his coming of age


Prince Paul - Psychoanalysis: What Is It?

There’s a different version on Spotify right now but the original version was put out by Wordsound Recordings, and that’s the version that I found in the pawn shop in Morehead City when I was 15. I was obsessed with De La Soul, they were the first hip hop group I loved, and Prince Paul was and is my favourite hip hop producer of all time. Open Mike Eagle, who’s also a friend and someone I’ve collaborated with recently started a podcast with Prince Paul called What Had Happened Was, and they’re going through his discography talking about certain albums, and I’m waiting to see if they’ll do Psychoanalysis. He talks about it really briefly when they do 3 Feet High And Rising, and he’s like ‘That record is not good’.

But for me, that record is basically a record of broken ideas, most of them weird, some extremely beautiful, lots of strange vocal samples that he’s pieced together into sound collage beats. The running line is it begins with this Sigmund Freud type character, and this character speaks every once in a while throughout the album. For me when I was 15 until 16 and a half I used to go to sleep to that record, in the hopes that it would actually affect my dreams and I could somehow go deeper into something. I was really into the power of dreams unlocking something deeper, so Psychoanalysis became a tool I used to put me to sleep.

I have my own theories about what the record means, but I’ve probably overthought it because I’ve listened to it 700 times from going to sleep to it so many times. I played it for girlfriends in years past and I’ve had like ‘That is the worst record I’ve ever heard’. I’ve also had ‘That’s a sexist chauvinist piece of crap’. It is a very crude and crass album, but at the same time I believe it to be this crazy deep dive into a brain of someone trying to figure out their own brain. But then again I heard Prince Paul say ‘That record’s garbage’ so I don’t know! But I believe there’s something in there that’s really special and deep.