Sometimes it’s okay to be hungover, enveloped in a blissful daze, positive memories bubbling gently to the surface. Sometimes it’s not okay to be hungover, as you stumble about engulfed in rotten anguish. It was during a bad hangover that I first heard Ben Lukas Boysen’s ‘Golden Times 1’, and it just absolutely floored me. Ominous as all hell and drenched in melancholia, it spooked me, soothed me and eventually quashed all booze demons. I thought only codeine could do that. Hungover or not, take a listen.
This week sees not only the release of his exceptional album Spells via Erased Tapes, but also a really special event at Dalston’s Brilliant Corners on Tuesday June 14th where you can listen to the album as well as interviews and a Q&A. Ahead of that, we spoke to the Berlin-based composer, producer and sound designer about five tracks that have influenced and inspired him, and found a typically considered and striking selection.
JS Bach – ‘Ich Ruf’ Zu Dir Herr Jesu Christ’
An all time favorite of mine. There’s no album where Bach’s compositional style did not inspire me in one way or the other. He’s one of the most challenging composers to me because musically there are very few you could learn more from, but I’m having issues with their context and world views. This makes his music more interesting, because it conquers and questions many things…first and foremost though, it’s just one of the most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard.
Seefeel – ‘Fracture’
Another track I know and love deeply since the day it came out in 1994, and therefore has an overall influence on the things I do and create. A shining and raw example of how you can create contrast and atmosphere. I remember ordering the CD from an actual small, printed mail order and waiting for a few weeks until it arrived (times were obviously a bit different when I was thirteen years old) but this made having this CD even more special and I still have it today.
Bohren & The Club Of Gore – ‘Fahr Zur Hölle’
There is an element of ultimate reduction and modesty to the music of Bohren & The Club Of Gore that lays the foundation of a strong narrative and the atmospheric images that form before my inner eye whenever I listen to them. Quite often it’s like being in the world’s biggest, most smoked up, most dull and at the same time very noble jazz club. Not even late at night, but with a strong drink nevertheless, exchanging ambiguous jokes and tragic stories…not in an end-of-the-road sense, much more like a trip to this little bleak island that one might need every now and then.
Nina Simone – ‘I Wish I Knew How’
It’s hard to find the right words for how much this great woman, her message and her work matters. I’m trying to learn a lot from what she did and could pick so many great examples from her discography. I remember this song reverberating through my childhood home every now and then, filling the rooms with its meaningful drive. A precious memory that keeps fueling inspiration until today.
Hans Otte – ‘Aquarian Music, Part 1’
I confess to have a great weakness for harp pieces…especially this one and the complete composition it’s a part of. The serenity and concentration on the instrument and its harmonic variations are incredibly satisfying, while at the same time being wonderfully optimistic, pretty, clear and modest. This, and a few other compositions that have a similar approach, had a great impact on how I think, conceptualise and tackle my own songs – especially when it comes to how an instrument should and can behave.