James McKeown, aka Hawksmoor

James McKeown, aka Hawksmoor, on the first and last albums he bought, and an all-time favourite

FIRST

Syd Barrett
‘Barrett’
(Harvest, 1970)

“When I got a CD player in the early 90s, this was the first album I bought. Though more evident on ‘The Madcap Laughs’, there is undeniably a voyeuristic quality throughout of listening to a mind starting to unravel. The songs are surreal, laconic, eerie, subtly lysergic, very English, and the arrangements have a wonderful off-kilter detachment due to the fragmented nature of the recording process.”


LAST

Holy Tongue
‘Deliverance And Spiritual Warfare’
(Amidah, 2023)

“I recently heard an interview with Valentina Magaletti and bought this album on spec, without immediately streaming any samples, as I wanted to experience it fresh. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a hypnotic blend of diverse influences ranging from organic percussion mixed with drones to subtle electronica, post-punk, jazz and elements of experimental, heavyweight dub sound systems straight from the Black Ark. It also features the legendary improviser Steve Beresford on prepared piano.”


ALWAYS

Michael Rother
‘Katzenmusik’
(Sky, 1979)

“The simplicity of this album – and the initial trilogy of Rother solo albums – is the key to its longevity. A suite of songs based on an evolving melody, Rother uses a simple palette of elegant guitars playing minimal motifs, combined with subtle electronic instrumentation and paced by Can’s Jaki Liebezeit – the ‘human metronome’. It was recorded and produced by Conny Plank. It’s ‘cat music‘ – cerebral and heady cat music.”

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