Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. Marcus SchmicklerPalace of Marvels [queered pitch]

There’s a lot of the Shepard tone going on in this album. I can’t give you a technical breakdown of what it means, [but] the way I see it is the sonic equivalent of those red and white barber shop poles that are continually ascending. It’s something where you can’t really hear where it begins or ends, it’s just continually spiraling upwards. I think it’s just like a certain algorithm for sine waves that give that affect. That album does a lot of that.

That’s not why I got into it though, I just put it underneath a kick drum for a radio mix and it sounded good and that’s my Luddite way of appreciating it. The intensity of it; I actually tried to go to sleep to it. Because I get up quite early and work on music during the day, if I get up at four in the morning I get really tired around two in the afternoon and I test myself by listening to really intense music as I fall asleep. Music to see how tired I am, and I couldn’t actually sleep to that record. I just had my laptop on my bed and I was like, fuck, this is too intense and I got up, had a coffee and just carried on working. It’s definitely not a Grouper-style ambient album. I thought, I’m really gonna have weird dreams if I fall asleep listening to this, but I didn’t get into that sleepy stage, it was too intense. I was listening to it on laptop speakers and it’s just all midrange. Maybe with the Shephard tone you’re just continually peaking and that wakes you up. It’s sort of enjoyable.

There’s something really funny – to me it’s quite a comical album. I don’t know if it’s intentional. I don’t mean that in a derogative way – I think you can have humour in music and it can still be moving. I don’t buy this thing that music’s got to be serious. You can have tracks that are humorous and are tragic as well. You can have multiple layers of emotions in music, and that’s what I get off some of the Mingus as well, it’s clunky, it feels like a broken toyshop in some ways. There’s a childish naivety to Palace Of Marvels that does make it a bit comical, but doesn’t detract from its integrity or its melancholy. It adds to it in my mind, it makes it more of an engulfing human statement – I wouldn’t say it’s melancholy, but it puts strong visuals in my head. It’s quite trippy. Visuals of squids!

PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today