Saturday, 26 March 2011

The songs that inspired the Memory Band's new album

Stephen Cracknell, the leader of the Memory Band, presents his playlist of the music that sums up the sound of their third album, Oh My Days

Arthur Russell:  I Couldn't Say It To Your Face
Arthur Russell's work has probably had the biggest lyrical influence on the Memory Band, especially in the way he combines mantra like chants and unflinching first person narratives such as this. I really like the way this song leads me to question who exactly are the I and You in the song, and what really happened in the story, rather than simply taking me to an emotional place with which I am supposed to empathise.

Gabor Szabo: The Three King Fishers
One of the biggest influences on my guitar style has always been Gabor Szabo. I love the tone of his playing anda lot of our third album, Oh My Days, involved putting an acoustic guitar with a pickup through an amplifier in the way Gabor does.

King Creosote: Curtain Craft
I've been fortunate to get to know many of the Fence Collective. You can't help but get excited by the breadth and quality of music produced in and around Anstruther. The arrangement on this song blows me away: the combination of horns and accordion is wonderful and the timing in the middle section sublime.

Stevio Cipriani: La Polizia Sta A Guardere
I'm a big soundtrack listener, and like many people I'm probably drawn to them because of the diversity of moods and sounds . With the Memory Band I like to try to get the breadth that you get with a score ? perhaps that's why I like to work with different combinations of voices. This is classic Italian fare from a master composer built around an amazing harpsichord loop.

Son House: Grinnin' In Your Face
I don't always like a lot of blues, but that which I do I love very much and on I've found more and more blues influences creeping into what I do. Whether electric or acoustic, my favourite blues recordings have such an immense sense of space and are wonderfully direct.

Steeleye Span: When I Was On Horseback
Just an incredible arrangement, although on our new album the influence of traditional music is perhaps less obvious than on the previous albums, it's an endless source of inspiration: songs washed smooth by time and tides still resonate today.

Nancy Elizabeth: Feet Of Courage
Nancy is an incredible artist on the ever-interesting Leaf Label. I saw her perform this album solo just after it came out and it left a big impression upon me. She's so resourceful and her deftness of touch is stunning.

S�bastien Tellier: La Ritournelle
Those drums with those strings are just about as good as it gets. We did this live at The Green Man festival last year as part of a new project called the Balearic Folk Orchestra, which I've started in conjunction with video director Kieran Evans. It has that uplifting, euphoric element that keeps drawing me back.

Ellen McIlwaine: Can't Find My Way Home
From an amazing album called Honky Tonk Angel, this cover is my favourite version of a great song. With this album I've introduced more singers ? such as Hannah Caughlin, Jess Roberts and Liam Bailey ? who have a propensity to improvise around notes allowing a line to trip the light fantastic and really soar in similar ways to Ellen.

Brian Eno: St Elmo's Fire
Two albums I listened to a lot while making the new record were John Cale's Paris 1919 and Brian Eno's Another Green World. I found myself responding very strongly to they way they both sing on these records and their unique ways with production and arrangements. I'm not really sure how that manifests itself on Oh My Days but I know it's there somewhere.

Orange Juice: A Sad Lament
Towards the end of making the record I started work producing a young artist Pete Greenwood, and one of the first things we did was a cover of this song. It gave me a great excuse to go back and listen to a lot of Edwyn Collins's material ? he was a big influence on my early forays into music. I listen to a lot of different music from various places and spaces and perhaps the one thing that runs through my taste is that I like a lot of idiosyncratic stuff, and Edwyn's music is certainly that.

Rocketnumbernine: Matthew & Toby (Four Tet mix)
Throughout the making of the record a few other band members and I could often be found on the dancefloor at Kieran Hebden's residency at Plastic People, my favourite club in London. I'd often go straight there from mixing in the studio and I always coming away brimming with enthusiasm and excitement about music and particularly about rhythm, a huge factor in Oh My Days. Tom Page, who along with his brother Ben makes up Rocketnumbernine, also plays drums on most of our album. Although I don't make electronic music it has a profound impact on the everything the Memory Band does.

Hear the full playlist on Spotify: © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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