I was at dinner with GGP and Nancy Jo tonight, and we were talking about the Masterpieces class she gives over at AU. I brought up Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians as what I consider a seminal work, so wonderfully representative of everything that minimalist movement was going for. On the drive back to Balto, I got thinking about pieces or moments that instantly changed by idea about what music was or could be, and I came up with this list.


1. Mahler 2 I became slightly convinced that we were conjuring up some dark and scary stuff when we’d play the opening salvo. Seriously. I contemplated keeping holy water in my case. The first few moments of this piece are like a red commissioner phone straight to Satan.

2.  Pretty much all of Kid A, especially Everything in Its Right Place and the title track.

3. Ravel’s string quartet.

4. The sickness that is Eddie Van Halen’s guitar sound, especially on Unchained. I like, sprained my ankle doing air guitar to this song and then tried to play it off as a “practicing gymnastics” injury to my schoolmates.

5. Paul Banks’ voice. So, so, earnest.

6. Bjork’s “Post” album. I remember cutting myself on the jewel case in my haste to get it into my stereo.

7. Lever du Jour from Daphnis et Chloe. Yes I know Ravel gets 2 entries. Stop judging me!

8. Fixing a Hole from Sgt. Peppers. A perfect pop song.

9. STP’s Purple was the soundtrack to the end of high school. For about 2 years, it just hung around my ears.

10. Music for 18 Musicians. Is it a clarinet? A singer? Wait, when did the marimba turn into a shaker? What?


I’m getting there with some other new music, but hesitate to list my hipster-lite inclinations. Still, if you don’t like Washed Out and Little Dragon, you probably want to avoid riding in my car for a while. I can’t stop. And if you see me with a busted ankle, it was definitely not from an ipod dance party. Definitely. Definitely not.

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