Tomorrow, Italian-born singer-songwriter Porcelain Raft releases his third full-length album, Microclimate, with a special, limited edition run of two hundred and fifty colored vinyls. Porcelain Raft displays his eclectic tastes in today’s playlist, with inspiring, lesser-known picks from artists like Elizabeth Cotten, contrapuntal vocal music from the Aka people and much more. Enjoy!
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager
Elizabeth Cotten – “Freight Train”
Elizabeth Cotten was self-taught and left-handed. As a kid she worked for a family in North Carolina earning $1 per day. She brought money home and saved some when she could.
At the age of eleven she bought her own guitar. No Kickstarter needed.
Music of the Aka Pygmies – “Dikodoba Some”
In my twenties, I was obsessed with classical music; one of my favorite composers for a while was Béla Bartók. Bartók was one of the first classical musicians to use the folk melodies of Hungary in his compositions. He was probably the founder of ethnomusicology. That stimulated me to investigate ancient folk music from around the world, looking for inspiration… Pygmies’ contrapuntal vocal music really made an impression on me. This song is one of the the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.
For a while in the ’90s there were CD rental shops. At the time, it seemed like a revolution; you could rent and copy as many CDs as you wanted for a very small rental price. So I went crazy once and rented many experimental, unknown and exotic-sounding releases.
One of these CD was the soundtrack of Step Across the Border, about Fred Frith. This CD honestly changed my perspective on music completely.
Here’s a musician who travels the world in order to improvise with other like-minded musicians, no need for real touring, no need for catchy tunes or spotlights. And, especially, no need to explain anything. The music is stunning; Fred Frith managed to create a sort of manifesto for “border music.” It’s hard to describe in words what I mean by that…maybe just listen to this track, and, if you manage to find it, the entire album is a must.
Roy Montgomery – “If and Only If”
I discovered Roy Montgomery’s music years ago and thought it was so different from everything else. The slide guitar kills me every time.
Bang on a Can/Julia Wolfe – “Big Beautiful Dark and Scary”
Julia Wolfe is actually my favorite American composer at the moment, especially her works for strings.
I always loved simple piano lines, ones that are tragic and romantic at the same time. My mind tells me, “Come on, don’t fall for it, it’s a trick!”… but my heart falls for it all the time.
Art of Noise – “Moments in Love”
Probably one of the first bands to use a sampler. This track is so simple and to this day it sounds like no other. Trevor Horn is a pioneer and a legend to me.
This music makes me feel so peaceful. I often listen to it in the morning while sipping a cup of coffee.
Robbie Basho – “Cathedrals et Fleur de Lis”
Robbie Basho brings you back to a world where people wouldn’t laugh at words like “spiritual” and “mystery.” His music comes from a place where those two words have profound meanings.
Coil – “Going Up”
In my world, Throbbing Gristle is regarded as highly as the Beatles, the opposite side of the same coin. Peter Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge are like Lennon and McCartney.
Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter are gothic George Harrisons. Anything the four of them did after TG is so inspiring, powerful and original. Impossible to put in a box. The sound of angels lost in dark matter.