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Broken Record #53
Norwegian composer and musician John Erik Kaada has had a varied and prolific career, working in the realms of classical, rock, avant-garde and soundtracks. You may have heard him last collaborating with Mike Patton on 2016's superb Bacteria Cult LP. He's about to release a new collection called Closing Statements, a concept album of sorts, centring around the theme of obituaries and last words. Fans of Kaada's previous work will not be disappointed. Here though, in #53 of our Broken Record series, Kaada talks us through a few of the albums from his eclectic collection.
Kaada explains: "I have picked out five albums that are worth mentioning. It’s not favourite albums, or anything. As we all know, to pick out top five albums is like picking out your favourite plug-ins. Some of them are good at a certain setting, or a certain atmosphere, or at a certain whatever. Luckily for me, I can still notice that my tastes are constantly changing. Which means that I am not stagnating too much. I love to dig into my collection, and see what old goodies are there. I am sort of worried about the monotone and streamlined music that we hear on the radio these days, and many people seem totally hung up on the latest trends, forgetting that we humans have been making music for centuries, and that there are millions of albums already out with fantastic music. My taste spans from hardcore contemporary music to smooth pop, and my album collection reflects that. It’s a total mess with music in every genre."
I have been seduced by the 10th Mahler symphony lately. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Simon Rattle stands out as one of the best, and I have it on vinyl, which makes it even better to listen to. I had this fantastic evening the other day here, when my family was away, and I opened a bottle of good old whisky and rigged myself up in a good chair in front of my speakers. And turned off the phone. It was one of those evenings where I got totally drawn into the music. If you are to enjoy a Mahler symphony, or something like that, you need to be totally focused and let everything else go. Or else, it will just be stressful, at least that’s how I have to do it.
An artist which I ought to listen to more, is Frank Zappa. I more or less grew up with his stuff. The Yellow Shark was an eye opener, and was one of my gateways into the crossover landscapes between orchestral music and more rhythmical rock pop stuff. There’s so much going on in these pieces. It’s a perfect match between beautiful clarity and total madness.
My first encounter with Led Zeppelin was the album called “Led Zeppelin II”. I think all their albums are great, but this one has sticked with me. There was all this weird psychedelic stuff going on, that totally blew me away the first time I heard it. It was en eye opener, and possibly the album that led me into the Zappa world.
In Norway we have this fantastic virtuoso band called Farmers Market. They were my heroes, and still are, but through them, I got into different sorts of Balkan Gypsy Folk Music, like for example the Taraf De Haidouks – Band Of Gypsies. In these times where too much music is programmed on computers, I find it refreshing to dig up these albums once in a while. Makes me believe in humanity again.
The last album I’d like to mention, would be Mr. Bungle “California”. I dug it out from my record collection here, and it brought back so many good memories. I am especially impressed by the way they orchestrated the songs, and the timbres and instrumentation. I’ve learned so much from my cooperation with Patton, and he and Ipecac Recordings has opened my ears to so much fresh stuff throughout the years. They constantly seek out mind-blowing music! I am trying to do the same.