Just a quick listen to Cynic would reveal that Paul Masvidal and company probably have pretty eclectic musical tastes. Given that the band dropped its third full-length, Kindly Bent To Free Us, last month, the guitarist/vocalist was kind enough to pass along a medley of recent (and fairly nostalgic) listens. As he explains, “Playlists have been updated on average a weekly to biweekly basis depending on how much listening I’m doing. The list below is in no particular hierarchy or intentional order other than [picks] two and three due to their relationship.” We’d also be remiss if we neglected to point out that the man also has a soft spot for Meshuggah.
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Johann Sebastian Bach–Fugue In B Minor BWV 951 (played by Glen Gould)
The Bach fugues have been on constant rotation in my house for about 10 days now. Each and every fugue is a masterpiece of composition. Bach cleans out and essentially resets my ears. I feel better listening to these works in ways I can’t describe, they’re just good for my health and my brain in particular. Of course Glen Gould is considerably one of the greatest interpreters of Bach on piano, which lifts the whole experience even further into cosmic transcendent beauty.
John Lennon–John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
John gives us his heart on this record. Beginning with the opening track “Mother”, which grabs hold and doesn’t let you go…arrestingly alive. Check out “Working Class Hero”, the brutally honest “Love” and then there’s the epic “Well Well Well” where we’re gifted with the classic primal-scream-therapy ending that evokes tremendous psychic pain. This is living sonic art.
Tame Impala–Lonerism (2012)
In line with the Lennon kick and directly influenced by the Beatles, here comes Tame Impala with some modern nostalgic psychedelic yumminess. I love the free spirit TI shares with its music. They have a relaxed quality to their songs that makes them feel like friends you want to hang out with. Good vibes all around. Vibe to “Apocalypse Dreams”, “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” and “Music To Walk Home By”.
The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir’s “Kalimankou Denkou” [The Evening Gathering]” (from 1975’s Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares [The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices])
I’ve been a big fan of this choir since 1988’s Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, volume II. The harmony is so unbelievably sophisticated and delivered from an ecstatic state. They morph into a singular complex voice whispering timeless truths into my ear; life is here to wake you up and to engage your heart. I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Blagodarya Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, blagodarya.
Atoms For Peace’s “Before Your Very Eyes…” (from 2013’s Amok)
The grooves on this record are across the board so damn hip. Loaded with sweet subdivisions falling in all the right spots. I love the deceptive elasticity of this approach to arrangement. It feels like Thom Yorke’s dropped down into his body and surrendered to the rhythm and his vibrant rhythm section. Massive soaring melodic motifs over repetitious syncopated grooves simply transport me. Delicious postmodern electronic rock.
Steve Reich–Music For 18 Musicians (written 1974-1976)
Organic acoustic synthesis with no dominant voice. The construction and deconstruction of rhythmic patterns. Gives me that Frippy feeling and a touch of King Crimson’s prog sensibilities. It’s the sound of life pulsating through my veins; sonic acupuncture, meridians, vibrating and cycling through the nervous system, healing the body. Pushes me into heightened mental states as if in a meditation practice where we arrive at an equilibrium. One hasn’t necessarily arrived anywhere, but a level of surrender and acceptance is present as if you let go enough to allow this space to arise. I’m hypnotized and transported into a new energy field where new life forms appear. Gravity is an illusion. Woah, here we go!
Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa–Domingo (1967)
One of my all time favorite Brazilian jazz records. The songs are raw, pure, elegant and honest. Makes me want to get cozy, take a deep breath and touch intimacy with my lips and finger tips. “Coração Vagabundo”, the opening track, says it all. The melodies are magic. Let yourself get lost in these short little heart-fueled lullabies.
Bob Dylan–Blonde On Blonde (1966)
My favorite Dylan record. The sound of letting go and letting life in. I trust in the integrity of this moment. I trust in life as it is. Thanks Bob. Check out “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands”.
*Order Kindly Bent To Free Us here.
**Past entries include:
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
East Of The Wall
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
God Is An Astronaut
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)