Shane Jesse Christmass is a Melbourne based writer, musician and digital artist (see above). A renaissance man if you will. Whilst he has contributed numerous short stories to publications as diverse as The Newer York and Metazen, more recently he published his bizarre hallucinogenic, dare we say experimental novel ‘Acid Shottas’ (The Ledatape Organisation, 2014). Musically, he’s been a member of the noisy musique concrete outfit Mattress Grave, and is currently participating in the curiously monikered Snake Milker. He firmly believes that the future of the word, and the novel, will be in synthetic telepathy. Most of his writing/artwork/music is archived here.
“These albums have been playing for the past day. The red marrow hasn’ diminished from when I first heard them. The music stands clear in my mind, spectacular auditory sensations, specific synchronies to memory, quite simply, good tunes.”
L.L. Cool J – Radio (Def Jam)
This list could’ve been my favourite hip hop, or favourite Jamaican albums, but in order to get the initial weighty list down to reasonable ten or so albums, I had to cull something. One order of business was to reduce the amount of hip hop albums down to one. Produced (or reduced as the credits state) by Rick Rubin, this album smashes back against the dehumanising rhetoric of Reagan’ America. Dangerous, disease-carrying descriptions of the inner city backed by radio and ghettoblaster. I lapped up Def Jam’ output in the mid-80s and have been a fan ever since. A minimal musical style punctuated by blasts of turntable scratch and unsettling noise samples. See also – L.L. Cool J’ second album Bigger and Deffer. In a world where Public Enemy, The Beasties Boys and Run DMC were New York hip hop’ surge into the consciousness of teenagers worldwide, L.L. Cool J often gets overlooked. This is the real deal. Pistol-like in its political power.
The Sabres of Paradise – Haunted Dancehall (Warp)
Bubbling dub is always going to be my stable pony. The miseries of Otto Luening clustered in the eardrum, manifesting, then reanimating in unsealed physical and liquid properties. Liner notes that detail an all-nighter between tow trucks and council estates and Jamaican dancehall. Liner notes that state they’re excerpts from a published novel. I searched for said novel. Turns out the novel was a fake, never existed. Dub music with the snub end of a bayonet; my lower ventricles have never been the same. Music like this is the ingestion of the universal good. It’s also the ingestion of some heavy weed.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Vertigo)
There was always going to be a Sabbath album in this list. Either this, or Vol. 4 or Master of Reality. And while Master of Reality is the doom masterpiece, and Vol. 4 is more melodic and accomplished in terms of broadness, cohesiveness and experimenting, this, their first album, is their heaviest, their darkest, their most brutal, and swings as abrasive as anything that Elvin Jones ever put down. A great album to reject psychic attacks from backbiters or enemies. A showpiece of haunting images and unearthly phenomena. An album that peered over the edge of the Neptunian unknown and said “hello’.
New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (Factory)
Acid-tinged dance music filtered through the lense of miserable grot, Romanticism and their previous band’ legacy. Occasional melodica interspersing between loose and clumsy disco slow-motion. Klaus Dinger dropped a few German beers and declared how to make a perfect pop-monument via Manchester. On the opening night of an art exhibit in Cologne, artist Gerhard Richter spray-painted on a wall POWER, CORRUPTION, AND LIES. The album takes its rightful cues from this incident. A masterpiece.
Public Image Ltd – Second Edition (Virgin)
A communications company they told us. One which would make movies, soundtracks, other odds and sods. Interviews formulated on Situationist ideas about breaking down barriers between audience and band members and other intellectual tosh. Probably one of the most challenging albums of the post-punk era. I couldn’ abide by it for ages, precisely because of the challenges in listening to it. I hadn’ yet formulated the musical references or tipping points that are contained within. These days, much like any extreme music, I find it blissful, a serene experience. Dub stripped bare by synthesizers that owe more to the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, than to any music that preceded it. An alienating concept of music, rather than of actual music. The best album on this list.
The Jesus & Mary Chain – Barbed Wire Kisses : B-Sides and More (Blanco y Negro)
Thousands would tell you that Psychocandy is a fair superior record, but this was the first JAMC album I purchased (on cassette mind you), after hearing Sidewalking and their Surfin’ USA cover on the radio around 1989. It is the perfect summation of the history of rock and roll, albeit from a bicameral mind point of view. There’ three tracks in particular, tracks two to four on Side One that do it for me. Head, Rider and Hit. A triumvirate of Kenneth Anger-type authority. Highly influential. Highly educational and highly adored.
Karlheinz Stockhausen / Pierre Boulez – New Directions in Music (Ã‰l)
The most recent album on this list. Classical music always seemed quite odd and avant-garde to me anyway, even the more mainstream and conventional aspects of it, because it’s a completely different world to the one I inhabit. This album is a perplexing bricollage of avant garde/otherwordly sounds. I really like it. This is going to sound really base, but upon hearing it, I re-focussed my belief about the greatness of electronic music from the dark-half of the late 20th century and early 21st century. Lots of people do this, but it’s not uncommon for me to drop this type of sound into a DJ set, mainly because it fits perfectly. Huge influence of my own band – Mattress Grave. I also liked that Stockhausen had a composition called Punkte, which I thought was German for “punk’. It’s not thought – it’s German for “points’, and a reference to punctual orchestral music. See also – Luigi Russolo who I also regard as essential.
Spacemen 3 – For All the Fucked-Up Children of This World (Sympathy For The Record Industry)
Demos from 1984. Again much like JAMC, probably not the Spacemen Three album that most would have as their favourite. But I have listened to this inside-out, sideways and back again for it not to make this list. More blues-orientated than psychedelic-orientated, a real swampy, dense concoction. Originally released as a cassette (only a few hundred were made) and sold for a pound at their local record shop. It drones, but in a primitive and different way than what would become Sounds of Confusion. An experimental trial. An induction to the sound of bedroom boredom, a classic epitome of Thatcher’ non-arousing, neutral stimuli.
Richard H. Kirk – The Number of Magic (Wax Trax!)
Huge fan of Cabaret Voltaire and this is Kirk’ second solo album for Sheffield’ Warp Records. Locusts and whispers loiter around the speakers when this plays. I use to put this on to go to sleep (do people still do this), so my listening experience was always akin to a Brion Gysin cut-up experiment, or something burning or guttural like Henri Chopin. I’d fall asleep to minimanl waves of thought and pleasant sound, only to be blasted awake by something that suggested sexual incineration. Cabaret Voltaire were established in an outsider ethos, this album, whilst “electronica’ – is someone’ thumbnail sketch of that genre made for dangerous punks of all types. If you want a soundstripe for labour degradation and electronic surveillance, drop this over your celluloid.
Autechre – Tri Repetae (Warp)
Similar to the above, but more reliant on the infrasound of surface noise. Mechanical percussion over mechanical percussions ghosting against distorted shell games of music. The word “cacophony’ describes this album, but it doesn’ do it justice. The definition fits, but it doesn’. Because there’ melody, rampant destructural and restructured melody, as well as shapes and strengths that destroy egos, weaknesses and coagulate blood. Modern weaponry needs modern movie music. But that’s also a misrepresentation. I have no real understanding of this album; however I understand its muscle-bound matter, its total cranial ooze, its automated entanglements. It contravenes the cathartic stupor of dull things. Interchangeable plastic sound-systems filtering through the head of Jonty Harrison.