Weird Dreams re-emerged from the pop wilderness mists, four years after we’d last heard from them, with ‘The Ladder’, a single that remains one of the most rewarding of the year. An antidote to the trashy frivolity of much of 2016/life, it swims deep in mournful smarts, nourishing your soul when you need it most. The album that followed, Luxury Alone, continued that trajectory; creating a beautifully composed distant environment, a rumination on personal tumult that feels as if you’re outside looking in, and the opposite, simultaneously.
Ahead of their show at The Lexington on Wednesday 14th (tonight!) we asked Doran Edwards to talk us through some music that has permeated the Weird Dreams world, and were gifted to five tracks we knew zero about but have been been constantly soaking-up ever since
Pharoah Sanders – ‘The Creator Has a Master Plan’ from Karma
Last year I went slightly mad and found myself in a Buddhist cult. Fortunately still stable enough to see the values contradicting Buddhist principles, group meditation with a teacher to reduce the ego whilst there is a photograph of the leader (a white European man apparently given benediction by the 17th Tibetan Lama to bring Buddhism to Europe…) and statements denying the ethnicity of the original Buddha, a Tibetan man. A small amount of online investigation revealed the pages and pages of controversial behaviour of a blissed out bigot.
Somehow, in that weird time, I found the rare and wonderful gem that is Pharoah Sanders’ album Karma. From the first skronking blast of saxophone to the end, this album is honest jubilation, free of any cynicism and just utter joy. Even the totally ridiculous artwork of him meditating in front of a sunset with the ‘exotic’ typeface gets my vote, because the music serves its purpose and intention. There are no ornaments. And from a secular / atheist position, the chant “The creator has a master plan, peace and happiness for every man” has the kind of kitchness that just makes me love Pharoah Sanders even more.
Ryuichi Sakamoto – ‘Rain’ from 1996
Deep in my never fading Body Memory, the notes of this song play over and over, and since I was a teenager I have lay in it like a warm bath that never shifts from the perfect temperature. Thank you Mr. Sakamoto for as close to perfection as I will ever experience.
Yasuaki Shimizu – ‘Ricoh 1’ from Music for Commercials
This entire album is out of control. Between sound design and the efficacy of creating pieces within the framework of 1980s advertising, this release of Shimizu’s work for TV, Film and computer games feels like a relay of perfectly melodic transient sound bites that briefly immerse you in entire unknown worlds. I have no idea what advert ‘Ricoh 1’ was the music for, but for me, it is like a mysterious luxury, and somehow, reminds me of Erik Satie’s Lounge music pieces in its repetition.
Cindy Lee – Power and Possession
The singer of Cindy Lee was the singer for one of my favourite bands in 2010, Women. I remember seeing something for a band he did since then called Androgynous Mind and didn’t think about him again… until I heard ‘Power and Possession’ from Cindy Lee’s incredible noise pop album Act of Tenderness. Weirdly it reminds me of Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel in the way that the choral voices spill out to every corner of the room. It has the sound of superhuman sorrow, and the kind of cadences you might expect to hear from a naive version of Wagner. I listened to it on repeat, and continue to do so whenever I think of it.
Real Fish – Yoru no tokkibutsu
I can’t remember where I heard of Real Fish. Maybe on a blog with Yasuaki Shimizu’s project Mariah. This was described as having a b-side that was overly “schmaltzy”. If that is the case then I am happy to admit to be a lover of the schmaltz! There’s such a wonderful computer game like idealism to this song, something you can really immerse yourself in, but it keeps redefining the mood throughout, coming in with a bizarre Latin beat and guitar line, but retaining the melody. Then tongue in cheek romantic violin, followed by a return to the earlier atmosphere to finish on what sounds like the end of ‘November Rain’… which I would never usually tolerate.