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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


Laura Nyro – New York Tendaberry

Naively, when I first heard about minimalism, I thought that would literally be minimal music, but that wasn’t very accurate. A lot of those composers hate the term. A lot of ‘minimalist’ music still has a very dense sound, along with its limited harmonic vocabulary or strict rhythm, but I was always looking for music that was sparse. Music that was minimal in that sense. This, New York Tendaberry by Laura Nyro, is that kind of minimalism I was looking for. It’s an extremely dynamic album, probably the most dynamic album I can think of. It’s music that’s not afraid to be silent, in parts, but it does not forsake the bombast. I didn't actually like this album when I first listened to it, but it gets its hooks into you, it’s a brilliant album.

Nyro sings in a way almost painful, there’s moments of isolated voice where it sounds like she’s wretching out her throat. Her voice is so often at breaking point, and that’s such a powerful thing. Her lyrics are remarkable too, there’s as much slang as there is standard English, so it takes time for it to make sense. And the songs themselves are just bonkers. None of them end where they start, and there’s not many choruses. You get the sense that this is music made for no contrived purpose, it just follows trajectories that she’s imagined spontaneously. It’s such a singular album, individualistic music, and the playing is amazing too – there’s some really special moments when they get a bigger band in.