Cyclic Selects – Donny Benet

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Prince – Prince
Probably one of my most favourite albums – everything from the photo of the naked Prince riding a horse and his playing of all the instruments on all songs makes this album great. It has inspired me to make sure I play all of the instruments on my recordings and his musicality has set the bar for me to aspire to. His use of synthesisers shows how effective they can be as colour in a song. As a writer and recording musician I am deeply influenced by this record.

Songs such as ‘Sexy Dancer’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ are the standouts for me. The extended jam on ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ is basically the backing tracks minus vocals and its presence in the back end of the song is such a tease for the listener. Getting Chaka Khan to cover ‘I Feel for You’ inspires me to hopefully get another artist to cover some of my songs some day. This album is also a favourite of the Benét family to listen to when we’re making sauce on our annual tomato sauce day.

John Maus – Love is Real
Maus is a genius. I would love to see John Maus play at an Italian wedding one day. I would love invite him over to Donnyland studios for a special collaboration and some of my mother’s lasagne. We can only dream.

When I first heard Love is Real I was totally blown away by how subtle the songs were, especially the instrumentation and production. ‘Heaven is Real’ and ‘The Silent Chorus’ are the standouts for me. All of the songs are really great but these are the ones for me. The “sound” of Heaven is Real, especially the bass, is amazing for my ears. His use of synthesisers is just masterful, the degree of subtlety is something to aspire to. ‘The Silent Chorus’ makes me conjure up images of an elated and sad Vangelis recording music in his studio the night after handing over his daughter to his future son-in-law. Very powerful. Keep pushing on John.

Alan Vega – Saturn Strip
‘Every 1’s A Winner’. This is the one song that motivates me more than listening to any of Tony Robbins’ motivational tapes. I think it’s great how he views self-development and improvement.

Laurenz Pike of PVT layed this on me when we were driving north to do a gig at a smallgoods function. It totally blew my mind. We could both visualise Alan dressed in a tracksuit that he’d been wearing for 3 days punching the air while recording this song. Definitely done in one take. Kirin J Callinan introduced me to Suicide amongst many other things. For that I am deeply indebted to him.

Tonetta777 – 777
Tonetta was a beautiful accidental discovery for me. I think I read an article about him in The Vine while having my morning espresso. One hour later and 30+ YouTube clips I was hooked on his genius. The clips alone are so confronting! I love how most of the songs have an identical drum beat and guitar/bass pattern. His lyrics are masterful and he is a man in full control of his emotions. It’s so hard for me to pick a favourite track – ‘My Bro’, ‘Red White and Blue’, ‘God Treats You Right’, ‘You Got Too Much’ and ‘Believe Me People’ are standout tracks for me. The rest are just as amazing.

It would be so fantastic for Tonetta to one day record a Donny Benét song, a real dream.

Prince – Dirty Mind/1999/Controversy
These albums seldom leave the CD player. As shown in my love for Prince, I’m a huge fan of his music. Dirty Mind is so raucous and sexy, as a listener I can’t turn away whenever this is on. My father and I fight over this album – he thinks it crosses the line lyrically and whenever we play it doing our workout sessions he has to leave the room. I guess there’s only so much a 1950s Italian man can take! Personal favourites from this album are ‘Uptown’ and ‘Do It All Night’.

1999 is an incredible album from a production point of view. This album influenced my decision to buy the Sequential Circuits DrumTraks drum computer. The use of synthesisers in this album blows me away. My dad is a huge fan of this album also. We’re working on re-recording it at the moment as a karaoke tape for my mother’s 60th birthday party.

Controversy is also a huge favourite amongst the Benét family. I just love the attitude of the songs, not to mention the excellence in production. ‘Private Joy’ is the one for me.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
Whenever things get too hectic in life, ‘One More Night’s gets played straight away. I’m soon blissing out upon the song touching my ears. It’s like taking a walk on the beach but without being there.

Phil Collins is an inspiration as he’s proof that a man with a thinning head of hair can make it in this tough business.

‘Sussudio’ is such a classic. I’d love to cover this song in the future. As a singer, ‘Don’t Lose My Number’ has a punch that is well appreciated in my family. This is one of my Nonno’s favourite songs, although he sings it as “You dona lose my number”.

Giorgio Moroder – Scarface soundtrack
This album is a favourite of mine as it was one of the first recording sessions my father did for Giorgio Moroder. They’d been friends since childhood but this was after Giorgio stopped playing the Italian club circuits in the early 70s. Dad was really excited as he got to meet Al Pacino during the test screenings. Dad took him fishing a few times and taught him how to make the perfect espresso. As kids, whenever dad had a bit too much to drink he’d play this album with his headphones on and sob quietly in his den.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -“ Before Today
Fantastic album, Dave Miller and Laurenz Pike of PVT layed this on me. We also went to the Sydney gig together, it was really good. If Ariel Pink is ever considered mainstream pop music then the world will be an even more amazing place! The songs, production and individual performances from the musicians blow me away ever time I listen to it. ‘Reminiscences’ is the dark horse for me on this album. Even though I’m totally wrong, I can just visualise the old 1970s studio musicians recording this song for some kind of infomercial about tropical gardening products. I’d love to get Ariel to re-record one of my dad’s early songs that never quite made it. I think his warmth and musicality would reinvigorate the song. What an artist!

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