Wire’s 100 Records that set the world on fire while no one was listening. 36 – 40

Oh you’re in for a treat here. Just don’t ever say I never do anything for you!

The section of five on at 36-40 on this remarkable list are some of my deadliest favorites in the collection. The five albums below may have set the world on fire, but there is no doubt they did that to me the first time I heard them. Each album in this list has made it into my collection and each has impressed me so much I am steadily collecting anything else by the artists.  There’s a slight groove train to be rode on the selection, a move forward into the funky seventies unafraid to leave the sixties behind. It’s not just that this section will get your groove on. It will teach you how to listen. From Miles’ jazz supervision, through Annette’s distorted voice to Pierre’s throaty trill you’ll be as swept away by this music as I was.

For sure.


This post is part of a series.  You can see the previous post here.

Miles Davis

On the Corner

Forget what anyone tells you about this radical departure from the establishment. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, and Miles was the man to do it. He claimed that On The Corner was the product of listening to Sly Stone, Bach, James Brown and Stockhausen.   He also claimed it was part of a bid to recliam black youth. Despised in its day – and still rarely counted as one of the defining moments of davis’ career, let alone jazz, ON The Corner still suffers for its inability to be grouped into a category for comfort. But hly wow – take a listen. Its wild and alive, dense with rhythm and rich with conceptual noise. the trumpet is a kind of journeyman heralding a new Jerusalem. Those walls will come daown as the shrieks and minimalist patterns ride heavy into your grove box.  Heard today – especially in the Bill Laswell remixes on Panthalassa – we hear that Davis was laying the foundations for drum ‘n’ bass, TripHop, Jungle, and all the other musics of repetition to come.  Grab this with both hands and thrust it into your disc collection!

Hugh Hopper


As far as I’m concerned anything involving Lol Cochill is destined for greatness.

Inspired by the atmosphere of George Orwell’s novel (with ten times the cool) and originally released in 1973, 1984 was bassist Hopper’s first solo title. Hopper’s work with Soft Machine had already revealed him as a strong and inventive writer. With his solo projects, Hopper was finally able to bring together his various musical interests–to stunning effect. This album includes pieces constructed with tape loops. There are moments here recalling James Brown (i can get it) and then it just gets filled with funky.  Players on hand include the cream of the British avant-rock world at the time: drummer John Marshall (who replaced Robert Wyatt in Soft Machine), saxophonists Gary Windo and Lol Coxhill, guitarist Pye Hastings (Caravan), and trombonists Nick Evans and Malcolm Griffiths.

The Wire has a great write-up on this album. Check it out:

Recorded in 1972, 1984 may have been intended as a safety valve for Hopper’s more experimental ideas while Soft Machine slid towards the anonymous fusion it espoused after Seven. Whatever, he left a few weeks later. Before Soft Machine, Hopper, Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers often visited Gong’s David Allen in Paris experiment with tape loops and musique concrete. Some tracks on 1984 use techniques learned from Allen, though derived from Terry Riley. The compositions, named after the Ministries of Oceania, range from 15 minute abstract pieces like the hallucinatory “Miniplenty” to brief bluesy emsembles involving Gary Windo, Lol Coxhill and associates from the short-lived ‘big band’ edition of Soft Machine. If 1984 seems less startling and alien now than in 1973 it is because, over the last 15 years, a thousand musicians rediscovered the same territory.

The Modern Lovers

The Modern Lovers

“If you won’t sleep with me, I’ll still be with you. I’ll meet you on the Astral Plane.”

And so rings out the refrain of the incredibly cool Velvet Underground fan, Jonathan Richman.  I’m not great on musical history, but even I can tell this band and its stripped back sound combined with the dark depths of suburban garage angst were a huge influence from the 1970’s on wards. Its great music this – great fun – wild, raw and in a certain “sinusey” way, hypnotic.

The Modern Lovers is the first album recorded by the Boston-based band The Modern Lovers. It was released on Beserkley Records in 1976, although the original nine tracks had been recorded in 1972 (or 1971 in the case of “Hospital”). Six of the original tracks were produced by John Cale.

Annette Peacock

I’m the One

Fessin’ time!

I ADORE this album.

I adore this album so much, I even have her subsequent, much lesser than this, albums and love them simply on behalf of this. Ok – it’s not the happiest of albums, but it has to be one of the hippest. She’s taken Psych and free jazz  and experiments she and Paul Bley carried out with a prototype Moog, fed into her rock albums. It’s the electronic alteration of her voice combined with these deep dark lyrics that gives these songs tendrils that bleed internally. This is an album you’ll feel.   1968’s Revenge was not released until 1971, when she cut I’m the One, and these albums prompted David Bowie to ask her to play on Aladdin Sane. She signed on at Juilliard instead, but her influence on Bowie and Eno, not to mention Laurie Anderson, is not hard to trace. The spine-tingling “Love Me Tender” is probably the best Elvis cover ever, piping even John Cale’s “Heartbreak Hotel”.  But just take a listen to “Pony” above!  See what I mean?

Pierre Akendengué


SO many incredible albums in this list, and then this section of five are some of the best, and then there is this absolutely incredible thing of beauty. I can’t say all that needs to be said about this better than The Wire, so get a load of this:

Composer, guitarist, dramatist, poet and singer, Pierre Akendengue’s influence in his home, Gabon, is huge; in the francophone world, he’s made a dent; everywhere else he’s barely a footnote. Graduated from universities in France (in literature, psychology and more), Akendengue went blind sometime in his twenties — which may have turned his remaining senses toward the sound of language, the way musical parts fit together, and the contrasts in songs from different countries. Nandipo, his first album, becomes a play — each song a dramatic act made of miniature scenes. Complementary voices (tight harmonic choruses, Akendengue’s own thrilling tenor and emphatic reading voice) arc above a collection of individual instruments, each running their own rhythmic line. The album is accented by soft acoustic guitar, shakers in stereo effect, slicing flexitone, berimbau and cuica, deep cello. With the assistance of Brazil’s Nana Vasconcelos, Akendengue seamlessly incorporated the French popular melodic vocal style, brisk Amazonian percussion, and solid, soulful African themes, words and energy: a ‘Fourth World’ styling several years early.