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Music Made Me: Nicholas Ley



The Zombies “Odessey and Oracle” (1968)
I remember the night my best friend and lifelong band member, Colin Fleishacker, brought me this record. I was at a party and he burst in, dragged me out to his car and made me listen to the first four or five tracks. We were recording vocal tracks at the time and found these songs incredibly inspiring.  On a nostalgic note, my wife and I used “This Will Be Our Year” as our wedding exit music.

Kate Bush, “Hounds of Love” (1985)

Colourmusic’s British quarter, Nick Turner, first suggested “Hounds” to me, and my love was instant. Even with the cheesy ’80s sounds and production, Kate has something special in these songs: most obviously, the lack of cymbals. The result is an incredibly dynamic record that doesn’t rely on the overused exclamation point of a cymbal crash. Instead, she uses other instrumental textures and her amazing voice to heighten emotion.

Dr. John, the Night Tripper, “Gris-Gris” (1968)

I felt really special when I found this record a few years back, and I’ve only found a few people since who’ve heard of it. As authentically New Orleans as the Doctor’s debut sounds, it was actually recorded in California. Every time I put it on, it’s like the room fills with smoke and a subtle feeling of danger. Maybe it’s the psychedelic sounds mixed with African rhythms and his voodooinfluenced lyrics, or maybe a spirit actually resides within those 33 minutes. Who knows?

Brightblack Morning Light, “Brightblack Morning Light” (2006, pictured)

This is a great record to wake up to. That’s actually how I heard it first. We were crashing on our friend Kevin Hamm’s floor in Dallas after a show. I awoke to “All We Have Broken Shines” and asked him what was playing. He described the record as the musical equivalent to “an eagle drinking from a crystal-clear stream.” Made sense at the time.

Aphex Twin, “Selected Ambient Works 85-92” (1992)
I got this from Scott Booker around 2007. I picked it up because [Colourmusic’s] Ryan Hendrix mentioned that it was one of the first records that he and Turner bonded over. So I gave it a shot and for nearly a year, the CD played on repeat in a stereo I kept in my kitchen. Subsequently, it’s now my go-to cooking record. I also associate it with a bright red wok that my mom gave me. Buy it. Cook to it.

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