Jim Thirwell

A Master of the psuedonym, Foetus big chief Jim Thirwell reveals the first and last records he bought and the disc he turns to in times of need


Jethro Tull
‘Thick As A Brick’
(Chrysalis, 1972)

The first record I remember buying with my own money was ‘Thick As A Brick’ by Jethro Tull. It had an elaborate sleeve that folded out into a faux newspaper, telling the story of child prodigy Gerald Bostock. The music is one long piece, which twists through many movements. I can see how this album resonated with me and became part of my musical DNA.


Colin Stetson
‘All This I Do For Glory’
(52Hz, 2017)

This hypnotic album feels like electronic music created acoustically. Stetson uses circular breathing to create repetition of a saxophone, with what sounds like the valve clicks of the instrument to create percussion and rhythm. He manages to vocalize at the same time, and the rich evolving timbres of the instrument make the compositions swell and vibrate. Mesmerising.


Steve Reich/Kronos Quartet
‘Different Trains’
(Nonesuch, 1989)

Reich’s early tape phasing experiments, where he loops a phrase which slowly goes out of time with itself and then returns to being in phase blew my mind. ‘Different Trains’, a meditation on World War Two, hauntingly combines train whistles and speech, transcribed for strings to create melodies and propulsive repetition in ways that are melancholic and then ecstatic.

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