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Beyond Tape: Album Of The Week (Part A)

In 2020 I started a new one-year project:
The idea is to concentrate on albums that I always wanted to hear (in-depth). Albums that, for example, have been recommended to me by friends, that I discovered by chance or that you just need to listen to but for unknown reasons never found the time to do so.

My plan is to focus on albums that are new and undiscovered to me, those albums that are inspiring and encouraging to listen to more of the music of the artist or the genre. Exactly one album per week the whole year 2020.

Follow our Twitter account or browse through all the albums in our now 10th playlist Beyond Tape: Album Of The Week to get a weekly update.

Week 10

John Aloysius Fahey (February 28, 1939 — February 22, 2001) was an American fingerstyle guitarist and composer who played the steel-string acoustic guitar as a solo instrument. His style has been enormously influential and has been described as the foundation of American Primitive Guitar, a term borrowed from painting and referring mainly to the self-taught nature of the music and its minimalist style.

Blind Joe Death is his first album. There are three different versions of the album, and the original self-released edition of fewer than 100 copies is extremely rare.
The recording of steel-string acoustic guitar solos was “incredibly avant-garde” in 1959. It was released on Takoma Records, Fahey’s own label. It was not marketed and made no impression on the American record-buying public.

John Fahey performing Red Pony in 1969
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 09

On my mission to find music where normally separate genres joyfully merge, I found this smooth album by hidden champion and now 88-year-old Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin.
Ranglin has worked with Theophilus Beckford, Jimmy Cliff, Monty Alexander, Prince Buster, the Skatalites or Bob Marley and was a key figure in shaping the sounds of ska — influenced by New Orleans jazz and R&B — in Jamaica in the late 1950s.

So let’s mix ska/reggae with jazz/blues and you get these super free-flowing musical riddims that just drift and glide along.

See him still playing at NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert:

Ernest Ranglin: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Full album on Youtube
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 08

I think I know almost all of the songs on this album, but I never completely and solely listened to the third studio album Green River by CCR, which was released in August 1969. It was the second of three albums they released in that year.
Their unique mixture of country, blues, swamp rock, soul and rockabilly has always intrigued me.

I hear hurricanes a-blowin’
I know the end is comin’ soon
I fear rivers overflowin’
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Fun Fact: The last line of the chorus from Bad Moon Rising, “there’s a bad moon on the rise”, is sometimes misheard as “there’s a bathroom on the right”. Fogerty occasionally sings the misheard lyric in concert.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 07

I don’t know why it is that I constantly run into Icelandic artists and bands, in the last month alone there were three of them: Hildur Guðnadóttir (great soundscapes and film music), Kaleo (finest blues rock) and Víkingur Ólafsson.
The latter was with me the whole week with his award-winning album with works by Johann Sebastian Bach, I look forward seeing him live soon in Berlin.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 06

The Stooges are unmistakably one of the later representatives of garage rock and pioneers of hard rock. Their aggressive style has strongly influenced punk rock and established Iggy Pop’s reputation as the godfather of punk.

This is their wonderful debut album and hopefully my first baby steps into the world of punk rock. My current favorite track is the hypnotic and psychedelically haunting song We Will Fail.
But also I Wanna Be Your Dog and No Fun are superb.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 05

I recently stumbled over this superb classic album of hip hop’s “golden age” and i just couldn’t stop listening.
Fun Fact: Out of Space and Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy used sampling material from this album and of course Ultramagnetic MCs heavily sampled from different Soul & Funk songs.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 04

Remain in Light is the fourth studio album by my favorite band Talking Heads, released on October 8, 1980.
This album has somehow slipped through completely over the years, which I can’t understand at all because it’s really amazing: The record uniquely blends funk and punk rock or new wave music.

Here is a great recording of the song Crosseyed and Painless from their 1984 American concert film Stop Making Sense:

Talking Heads Crosseyed And Painless 1980 live in Dortmund
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 03

This week it’s a classic blues-rock album, At Fillmore East is the first live album by the Allman Brothers Band.

There is a nice BBC review which sums it up:

…what they really represented at this point was a melting pot of styles welded together to produce something incredibly sophisticated while retaining the requisite ‘jamming’ looseness needed to entertain the free-thinking audiences of the time.

My favorite long-player track You Don’t Love Me actually starts as a classic blues song, moves to jazz, turns into hard rock and finally somehow touches soul and funk, but listen for yourself:

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 02

I think I heard a song by Jimmy Smith for the first time on a cassette called Acid Jazz, which I bought on the streets of London when I was 18.

I still remember being extremely inspired by his Hammond organ skills. In fact, he helped popularise the instrument to such an extent that he brought forth the genre of soul jazz. In combination with Kenny Burrell on the guitar, this album has a tremendous fascination on me.
I think I’ll continue listening to this album this week to get more into the groove. Read more reviews at BBC or It’s Psychedelic Baby.

There will definitely be more albums from the incredible Blue Note label.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 01

Let’s start with an ambient and progressive rock album by a band that I didn’t know before but really appreciate since listening to their 1974 album Phaedra.
The band Tangerine Dream are one of the pioneers of electronic music. “Phaedra” was their fifth studio album and is generally quoted as one of their best albums.

The whole album feels like a long journey through space and sound, I like the ambient sounds, they just fit perfectly to the wintery atmosphere. Especially the sequencer driven sounds and the futuristic Moog and VCS3 synthesizer as well as the Mellotron give it a very unique touch.

Read more about how this album was a Game Changer and a major shift in their musical direction.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Enjoy listening, share this one or our other articles with your music friends. Of course, you can also write your personal inspiration in the comments section if you like. Stay curious!

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Don Lu

(yet another) berlin-based freelance UI/UX-designer, exploring music and sounds