Monday, November 8, 2010

TVD Takeover Week | AM

There are those artists who at the very first listen reveal themselves as having exceptional taste—and exceptional record collections exhibiting that taste.

I mean, who would you rather get to know via a rummage through their records—say, Jack White or Jack Johnson? Joe Jackson or Joe Jonas?

Inventive artist AM falls squarely in the "we'll be up all night sipping wine, listening to gem after vinyl gem from his eclectic and expansive record collection" - category. His music is infused with a diverse set of influences and international styles which quite literally seem to be the byproduct of a number of those aforementioned evenings.

Thus, in the getting to know you category, we're spending the week with Mr. AM. And his record collection.

All week, it's AM's Vinyl District!

Paavoharju - Ya Hamaraa—I stumbled upon this band while discovering a couple of other Finnish bands I really like, Shogun Kunitoki and Aavikko. All three are very different from one another, but one thing I quickly learned about music coming out of Finland is that it is completely unique.

When I first heard "Paavoharju" I thought it was some early 70's rare horror soundtrack that was unearthed as a re-issue. I was shocked when I found out they are a current band. This is soundscapist "horror-delica" at it's best. I wouldn't ever put this on at night alone in my house. One of my favorite tracks is "Kuu Iohduttaa Huollestuneita."

Being a huge Brazilian music fan, and Jobim fan, I was shocked to find this gem on the discount rack at Amoeba in Hollywood. Black Orpheus is a beautiful film and you notice the music right away. "O Nosso Amor" is a magical track.

This summer I had the privilege of supporting AIR on their tour of France. While walking around Toulouse, France a day before the tour was to begin I began the hunt for some local record stores. I scored. Paul Emile Vinyls (pictured above) right in the heart of Toulouse. This is the kind of shop that was made for me. It's got a cozy brick and wood interior with vintage turntables scattered about and a modest, yet deep cut collection. There were so many gems in here I had to really hold myself back.

All of the records were in amazing shape (but not cheap). I bought a few albums and one was this copy of Ethiopian Soul and Groove. I was well familiar with the Ethiopiques collection so I knew this would be good. I spent a lot of time at Paul Emile Vinyls listening to so many amazing records (and on their vintage Technics turntable). I could hang out in that place all day.

This Simon and Garfunkel album has been in my parents collection forever. My folks didn't have a big collection, but a lot of what they had was classic. I snagged this one once I moved out of the house.

Over the years I really enjoyed seeing both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel acting in some of my favorites 70's films. And they were great! Simon in Annie Hall (where he classically references his friends "Jack and Angelica") and of course Garfunkel's performance with Jack in Carnal Knowledge. "Scarborough Fair" was also on the soundtrack to another one of my favorite films, The Graduate. Above all this is masterful folk.

I was driving around Los Angeles on an overcast night sometime back in 2006/07. I was listening to Miles Perlich do his thing on KJazz and I heard this groovy soundtrack-ish funk that I had to find. After the tune ended he mentioned it was Shawn Lee. Again, I'm thinking this is a lost vintage treasure. I get home and quickly find out that this guy is current.

I'm blown away. I finally said the hell with it and sent Shawn an email. He got back to me and we've been friends ever since. Music and Rhythm was the first thing I bought of Shawn's and I still love it. Much to my delight Shawn and I have started working on a record together. It's in the very beginning stages, but what we've got drummed up so far is funk/soul/psych/folk-tastic.

While in London a couple years back I went to Shawn Lee's studio in London. It wasn't long before we were talking about music and albums and he mentioned La Planete Sauvage. We pulled it up on youtube and started watching what is the most futuristic psychedelic cartoon I've ever seen. And the music!!! Dark, minimal orchestral magic...and groovy as hell. I bought a copy of this album as soon as I landed back in the U.S.

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