Jack’s choices:

Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks

I didn’t always love Dylan. I just admit it to me a while to grow a love for him. It was actually the New York Sessions version of this record that never got an official release that I fell in love with. Apparently he cut the New York Sessions version as the final cut, but the label hit back and said that he needed to add to the arrangements. To me this is the rawest Dylan got with his subject matter, writing purely out of heartbreak. I love the record for this reason, and I’ve been learning ever since hearing it to wear my heart on my sleeve as a writer and write from real experience. I love the line, “I’m going out of my mind / With a pain that stops and starts / like a corkscrew to my heart / ever since we’ve been apart.” A tune that perfectly sums up the feeling of heartbreak and the way he sings it makes you believe it.

Joni Mitchell - Blue

Firstly, I want to talk about the cover of this record. I love the blue haze of Joni’s face and her so prevalent cheek bones, it’s as intimate as the songs spread across the record. This is my ideal Californian driving record, cue the windows down and the summer air blowing crisp around your face. Joni’s voice could pierce through any sadness. I’ve always loved how colloquial Joni’s lyrics were, just like she was having a conversation with you. Highlights: ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’, ‘Case of You’, & ‘Carey’.

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left

The mystery of Nick Drake is one of the reasons I’ve formed such a deep love for his music. To me he is the most interest folk vagabond. With his elusive character, hidden behind his long hair, his obscure guitar findings, and loosely knit fold songs. He is the perfect time piece for 70’s British Folk music. As an early teenager I spent a lot of evenings writing lyrics on my bed to this album and it never fails to bring me back to that moment. ‘Cello Song’ is a real fave, Nick’s voice likes honey sliding in between the cello and percussion. So much of my writing is influenced by the way Nick writes, he sings so simply and with an eloquent voice of reason. “Strange face, with your eyes so pale and sincere / Underneath you know well you have nothing to fear / For the dreams that came to you when so young / Told a life where spring is sprung.” I have always been drawn to lyrics that offer you some kind of comfort, a comfort I always found in Nicks songs.

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Alex’s choices:

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

This is easily one of my favourite hip hop albums of all time. Earl’s super lazy flow is unbelievable; he sits so far back on the beat which gives the whole album a relaxed lethargic feel which is really refreshing. His approach to rapping reminds me of how jazz soloists might push and pull with the time and Earl is just the king of it. The beats are all really interesting and lo-fi and he has also brought on a bunch of awesome features for his debut album.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II

The only way to describe this album is vibe. It’s just instant vibe from beginning to end. The production is so iconic and sets such a great mood. Besides ‘So Good At Being in Trouble’ being an absolute bop of a song, there are heaps of super catchy songs on here. Catchy, quirky, vibey, this album is a huge favourite.

Bon Iver - Blood Bank

Picking you favourite song of all time is hard, but if I had to choose I would say ‘Woods’ by Bon Iver. It’s one of the 4 songs on this record, which is why I picked it out today. The whole EP is awesome but ‘Woods’ in particular is such an amazingly sculpted piece of music. Having just the one idea repeated and grown across the 4 or so minutes takes such guts and talent. It’s the perfect bend of raw vocals and electronic production that I don’t feel like it will ever age, at least for me.

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Lach’s choices:

Jamie xx - In Colour

I could talk about this record for days. So much of this record influences my production style choices. He has mastered the art of using samples to pastiche styles that don’t just borrow nostalgia wholesale, but instead blend together to make something identifiably new. I spent so much of my time going through WhoSampled finding out where Jamie had taken all his inspiration and samples from to make this album. It gave me the confidence to look outside the box and find obscure sounds to incorporate into Mansionair music. That led me to find some of the strings sounds that make up our song ‘Violet City’.
  Stand out tracks for me are ‘Sleep Sound’, ‘Girl’, ‘The Rest Is Noise’ and ‘Gosh’.

Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint

Steve Reich wrote this essay called ‘Music as a Gradual Process’, which talks about music composition as an evolving process rather than a completely organised and structured piece. This body of work is that theory put into practice with Pat Metheny playing guitar. You can hear the music unfolding and developing, sending you into these trance meditations. You follow along as each guitar layer is introduced but slowly become lost in a world of swirling counterpoint rhythms and melodic lines. It’s amazingly calming and explores so many things I love about music; ever evolving lush chords and beautiful guitar tones.

Colleen - A Flame My Love, A Frequency

This record is just stunning. It’s by this French artist, Colleen, who used to be an English teacher before someone gave her some music production software. She makes all these delicate, arpeggiated pieces that are all based around these synths made by this company called Critter and Guitari. You dive into this underwater world that is similar to Steve Reich’s work in that it’s somewhat “process music” but it’s narrated by her beautiful voice.

Stand out tracks: ‘The Stars vs Creatures’, ‘Separating’, ‘One Warm Spark’.