As the eyes of the world dart across the various nations facing turmoil, largely unnoticed lies the bubbling undercurrent of musical and creative growth, converting the tribulations of societal upheaval into blimps of expression. Leading the pack is the diesel-edged “drone ‘n’ roll” of Mechanimal, stirring the dreary-eyed of Athens from their nests and propping them up on supports made of deep electronic rumbles. We asked Giannis Papaioannou to tell us about five tracks that provide similar support for the group on their travels.
Brian Eno – Here He Comes
There’s some special movement in this song that I believe touches each one of us in a very special way. I think it’s the structure of the song, the way it’s been made. It slides inside your mind like a perfect pop melody, but not as a real pop song. Just like our broken songs do.
I believe Eno’s biggest achievement with this brilliant piece (and album) was to bring his fellow musicians and collaborators to a united force, feeding his “sound-over-sense” approach. Yes, he’s the master of this, making sound and harmony passages spinning in all possible directions but in this particular song I’ve found a perfect companion for many beautiful trips. This is what defines a classic for me, and this is why it’s always there in my road music playlist.
Roedelius – Staunen Im Fjord
This sounds great on tape! I still have that old cassette where I discovered Roedelius’ music in Sweden, back in the early Eighties. Since then, his music is always near me when I travel. I guess any track from the first two “Selbstportrait” albums easily gets a place in my essential driving music list.
But, this particular track is something else. It’s like a big diary of my many riding memories; both in winter and summer landscapes. And then, I think that it’s just a tiny fragment of the composer’s life, recorded on a Revox tape machine in his living room. A musical sketch, so timelessly beautiful. Something that deeply influenced me on how I work or sketch my own ideas. Apart from this, it’s perfect background dreamy-music if anyone wants to take a nap.
Boards of Canada – Aquarius
I believe that every functional culture should teach its children to grow into love. Or at least they should try. The truest path to maturity starts by remembering what you wanted most as a child, so I strongly believe what the title of this album says. It’s one of my top ten of the ’90s.
This tune reminds me how the education system in contemporary Greece is a field in constant motion. Continuous and dramatic changes in society, technology and economy altering data constantly, and when education must precede and guide developments, nothing seems to be working. In musical education, developments and changes are equally important. But nothing’s happening and this is sad.
Anyway, Boards Of Canada is where we all meet: in a sweet nostalgia mixed with urban beats so perfectly tuned with the natural world around when driving out of town. Plain beauty.
Laika – Breather
Some dream pop is always welcome for the road, but this is so pure, so indie-electronic (perfect for all of us), and so much loved on road-tripping. “Sound Of The Satellites” is beyond any description, it’s just another one of my top ten favorite albums of the 1990’s.
I love the way the loops melt with the live drumming, I love the trippy analogue synth lines and I certainly love Margaret’s voice. Every time I listen to this and I’m in a car my imagination is being well fed, so I guess this will help us all dream of what it might be where we’re going or when we’re heading back home.
Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Day Breaks, Night Heals
This comes from the more commercial side of the album but it is an undeniable gem. Still sounds like a very rough listen if you compare it to the polished masters of today, but it’s good to remember that this was released in the late Seventies on the one and only Industrial Records.
It’s a great collaboration album that gained momentum by telling the stories of two very talented musicians who skilfully navigate through the electronic instruments of some glorious “analogue” past. I love how the sequencer runs throughout the song, I admire the way their solos are played and how sounds rise and blend in the mix, some may say clumsily by today’s standards, but I say real and warm, despite the mechanical coldness of the overall production.