The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Convulsions: Geordie Greep's Favourite Albums
Cal Cashin , July 20th, 2022 13:19

Black Midi frontman Geordie Greep takes Cal Cashin through the thirteen albums that have gripped him the most, from the majesty of Bach to the mania of Léo Ferré


Walter Hawkins – Love Alive

When I was younger, I’d play gospel music in churches, but it was very different to this. We’d play music that was much more modern than this, an RnB sound that was far more fusionny. This stuff is the classics, and it gives you the sense of what the atmosphere is like in an electric gospel church.

Walter Hawkins is a pastor, but I can’t say I know anything else about the guy. He’s joined by a female singer, his wife, and she’s a really emotional, powerful performer. I first heard it five years ago, and it has stuck with me since. The last track ‘Goin’ Up Yonder’ is the best example of this. It's a standard jaunty number for the first five minutes of its runtime – which is, y’know, fine – before it swings into this beautiful finale that becomes incredibly moving very quickly. There’s one point where she sings something like “until I see Jesus”, it’s one of these music moments that’s just undeniable and emotionally stirring. The church band are truly amazing musicians, they’re all on fire! It’s straight to your soul, your heart. You feel Love Alive straight away.

I’m not particularly religious, but to me, using religion as source material is often a shortcut to making something genuine. If you’re creating music just to inspire praise in God, you’re not doing it for any kind of cynical, ostentatious or monetary reason, you’re trying to make music to convey the power of something that’s otherworldly. It brings out this undeniable passion which is so rare in other things. In churches you see the best and the worst of humanity, but at its best you see this unbridled passion that doesn’t come out too much anywhere else.

I think one of the very best ways to create something original, is when people attempt something they simply cannot do. Often they end up creating something original, and powerful, in the process. For example, Clint Eastwood based his whole persona on Marilyn Munroe. Obviously he could never sound like Munroe, or really nail her demeanour, but in failing to emulate that, he came up with an original style of action hero. In trying to convey the infinity and majesty of God, with music that absolutely exists in the world, you’re not going to be able to quite do the justice you want to the source material. But in failing to create that, you’ll come up with something original. You should always aim beyond your means. Why not? A lot of people say limitations make good creativity. That’s true. But instead of limiting what you do, set your goal even higher. Set your goal to something you’ll never be able to do, be that due to practical or intellectual restrictions, and in your failure to achieve that absolutely, you’ll create something new.