Miles Davis – “He Loved Him Madly” (1974)
Don’t miss this one. This is deep, intense listening, and it won’t grab you if you don’t have the attention (and about half an hour) to devote. But I promise, it rewards the effort. This is beyond the cosmic-exploration of the Germans we love; this is an exploration of the infinite spirit, the depths of mourning, the heights of love. It is minimal, subtle, undulating, meditative, careful, above all beautiful. Anyone who questioned Davis’ motives for “abandoning jazz” and going fusion couldn’t have maintained that incredulity if their ears were open to the sheer expressiveness of this music. This wasn’t booty-funk, this wasn’t stoner-rock, though its elements are guitar, flute, drum kit, keyboards, electric bass, and echo effects: this is simply, utterly human music. Give it the time, give it your ears, and it will build itself slowly through you. [The glory of “Judas” Miles Davis is featured here, here and here at Musicophilia.]
Björk – “Domestica” (2001)
Björk has had innumerable boxes and re-packagings and CD2s, but she’s yet to do the most obvious and essential thing: a b-sides compendium. Which is a shame, because she’s got at least one very strong album’s worth of non-remix b-sides. This is a personal favorite, an ode to the “mundane,” simple things in life, unabashedly celebratory, with some of her warmest production for fans of fuzzy electronics. [Björk is featured here with a lullaby, here with an instrumental percussion piece mixed with Vivaldi, and here with Robert Wyatt in a duet with Indonesian Kecak at Musicophilia.]
La Düsseldorf – “La Düsseldorf” (1976)
I can’t think of a better way to capture the feeling of a launch into new territory than with a motorik rocket from Klaus Dinger’s post-Neu! project, La Düsseldorf. All three of their albums have recently been reissued by Water, and are thus quite affordable again. Which means, as always–please, if you like it, buy it from a local-owned shop.
Our Daughter’s Wedding – “Buildings” (1982)
Another celebratory track, this is joyous singalong ramshackle synth-pop from the white-kids-who-dig-Bernie-Worrell-and-Prince school. The lyrics are basically “Someone’s out there building tonight | Everybody’s Having Fun | Yeah!” I loved it from the moment I first heard it, and wished it’d been released in 1981. ODW were recently given the compendium treatment on CD (‘Nightlife: The Collection’), and it’s well worth seeking out.
UPDATE: Backup stream: