Former Engineers songwriter MARK PETERS reveals some of the inspirational records that have proved seminal in his musical education, and especially during the making of his new solo LP, Innerland.
Harold Budd/Brian Eno
A Stream With Bright Fish
This slapped me around the face when I first heard it. It’s the perfect representation of 4am in mid-summer. The simulated crickets obviously help with this, but there’s something deeper in the interplay between Budd’s piano and Eno’s effects that is really riveting. It annoys me when people criticise music like this for its passive qualities; I think it’s akin to impressionistic painting – not a literal depiction of a place and time, but a very accurate reading of the feeling you had in that place or time.
The Durutti Column
This was the first track I heard by them and it’s still one of my favourites. I love that you can hear the origins of loads of other music from the North West in it. I saw Vini Reilly play in York a few years ago and it made me rethink my music making. That expressive northwestern feeling in his playing made me realise that I should stop ignoring that aspect of myself – it’s a rich seam that has produced some of the world’s best popular music, and the best music is the most honest.
Amazing as it is, it’s not all about Marquee Moon for me. I wish Tom Verlaine had made more music like this. Like Vini Reilly or Richard Thompson, it’s like he has the voice of ancient man in his fingertips. I wonder sometimes if he’s almost debating with an imaginary opponent when he’s soloing and dismissing their opinions with the overwhelming truth of the resolving moments. That, among other reasons, is why people like this are far superior to your typical guitar ego wanker. Not even the remotest hint of the ‘sexiness’ that shows most indie guitar heroes as the charlatans they are, in my opinion.
25 Dec. 1983
This is perfectly named and I don’t know why. It’s not for festive reasons either. It’s just emotion expressed in a very pure way – not even one emotion – from chord to chord comes elation and reflection to reminiscence and back again. A time, place and event captured very elegantly. He’s an unsung genius to me, a little unfairly disregarded in favour of Ryuichi Sakamoto. His music is less western overall, though, and it has that pure Japanese folk voice that is very calming on a philosophical as well as spiritual level.