My Record Collection - March 12, 2021

My Record Collection by Will Stratton
by Tash
Tash
by Tash hmv London, Bio Marmite...always love!

My Record Collection by Will Stratton

In My Record Collection, we dig down to the bottom of musicians' souls to find out what the most treasured parts of their record collection are. This week, it's the turn of American singer-songwriter and composer Will Stratton. Let's see what he goes for...

 

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

I think it might have been a Toots and the Maytals greatest hits compilation. I was really into reggae and first wave ska when I was in middle school and early in high school and I used to go to the mall and spend my allowance on CDs based on where in the store they were located and how the covers looked. “Pressure Drop,” “Time Tough,” “Funky Kingston,” “54-46 That’s My Number”…they had a lot of great singles. Their rendition of “Take Me Home Country Roads” is still probably my favorite version of that song.

 


The record that made me want to be in a band was…

I was in a lot of bands in middle school and high school, but I think the first record that made me feel like it was a true representation of what being in a band feels like, and made me want to chase that feeling for a while, was Big Star’s “#1 Record.” There’s a sense on that album of being cooped up in a recording studio late at night, joking around with your friends. And the version I had was the compilation with Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers, as it was then called, and you got a real sense of a band falling apart and going to a dark, strange, and kind of thrilling place.

 


The record I've played more than any other is…

It’s got to either be Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon,” which I listened to a ton in high school, or Stars of the Lid’s “And Their Refinement of the Decline,” which has been more or less a constant presence in my life for the last decade. Very different records musically but I think there’s some sort of spiritual kinship there.

The record that always makes me feel good is…

Gilberto Gil has two self-titled albums that came out in 1968 and 1969 that are unimpeachable, I think, and are so full of creativity and joy. If I had to pick between the two, I’d choose the 1969 record, because it has “Aquele Abraço” on it, which might be the most joyful song I’ve ever heard. Gilberto Gil was under house arrest after being released from a military prison when he wrote it, and you can hear his love for the people of Rio de Janeiro and for being out in the world again.

 


The record I turn to when I'm feeling down is…

It depends. Sometimes I’ll want to listen to Stravinsky or Shostakovich, maybe one of the neoclassical ballets like Orpheus or Apollo, or maybe I’d want to listen to the Joni Mitchell record Hejira. That one’s not as sad as some of her other records, but something about that period of her work always stood out for me, and there’s something kind of mournful about Jaco Pastorius’s bass playing on it.

 


The record I think is the most underrated of all time is…

I wouldn’t presume to say the most underrated of *all time,* but I think “The Expanding Universe” by Laurie Spiegel deserves to be heard by many more people. It’s already regarded as a classic, but I think it’s up there with anything by Kraftwerk in terms of its significance in the development of electronic music, and it’s also extremely beautiful.

 

The record with my favourite cover art is…

I think the Fripp & Eno record “Evening Star” is maybe the most perfectly matched between its cover art and the music. That’s something that I find is quite hard to do when figuring out album cover art.

 

 


The record with my favourite title is…

“Kiln House,” by Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac. Such a mysterious title, and album cover for that matter. Is the house full of kilns? Just one kiln? Who knows?

 

The last record I bought was…

“Force Majeure,” by Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger, on the International Anthem label. A great, laid back album of bass-harp duets recorded in a Harlem living room during the pandemic.

 


The record I'm most looking forward to hearing in 2021 is…

It came out recently: The Weather Station’s album Ignorance, which lived up to my expectations—it’s just brilliant. Tamara keeps changing things up in the most interesting ways.

 


The greatest record of all time is…

I don’t have a real answer to that question, but today I’m going to say it’s the Mandé Variations, by Toumani Diabaté. I think it has as good a claim to that title as anything else. Masterful kora playing that just transports me into another word whenever I hear it.

 

 

Will Stratton's new album The Changing Wilderness is out 7 May, pre-order on CD & vinyl here

Photo by Josh Goleman

The Changing Wilderness
The Changing Wilderness Will Stratton