Friday, February 11, 2011

R is for...

- Steve Reich
- Hans Joachim Roedelius
- Roxy Music
- Michael Rother
- Max Richter
- Steve Roach
- Terry Riley
- Lou Reed
- Radiohead

Rock & roll. Lots of good Rs. Steve Reich tops the list. Watching a televised performance of Music for 18 Musicians at the Roundhouse in 1977 was one of those epiphanal moments, and I could happily take any of his 70s output to a desert island. Less keen on 80s-&-after stuff although they have their moments too. In a similar vein, I'd have to have Terry Riley in there. And Max Richter who seems to be developing a nice career in soundtracks these days.

Roedelius is right up there with Reich. Particularly keen on the first two albums, Durch die Wuste ('78) and Jardin au Fou ('79) but there are plenty of other nuggets in a long and continually evolving career. Michael Rother also qualifies, again for late 70s albums, Flammende Herzen, Sterntaler and Katzenmusik, which still get regular airings in the Elliott household. It's true they're easy-on-the-ear, but in an interesting way.

Talking of which, it was a toss up between Steve Roach and Robert Rich. In the end Roach edges it with Desert Solitaire (with Kevin Braheny & Michael Stearns, '89) which had a profound influence on me while reading Edward Abbey's novel of the same name. Those big, dry, wide open spaces of Utah & Arizona...

Staying in the States and moving into R&R, I'd have to include Lou Reed, if only for the fabulous Transformer and maybe Berlin when I'm in the mood (but not Metal Machine Music). And REM for their first few albums. Roxy Music would definitely qualify, although oddly enough not really for the first two albums with Eno. I actually prefer Stranded (as does Eno aparently), which was one of the first dozen albums I ever bought, and Manifesto, Flesh & Blood and Avalon are semi-guilty pleasures. Oh, and Radiohead scrape in.

But there are so many more... Reload (one of Global Communication's many alter egos) should really be in there - on the strength of just one album, Selected Short Stories. Some great 70s Rs: Achim Reichel, Wolfgang Riechmann, Todd Rundgren, Jonathan Richman, Ramones, The Runaways, The Raincoats, The Rezillos...

Most of the rest span the last 30 years, so here goes: Eric Random, Recoil, Regular Music, Michel Redolfi, Blaine Reininger, The Residents, Martin Rev, Boyd Rice, Diana Rogerson, Mikel Rouse, Rachel's, Redshift, Red Snapper, Reprazent, Cheikha Rimitti, RNRM, Rovo, The Ruins, Royksopp, Alex Reece, Ruby, Rage Against the Machine, Renegade Soundwave, The Red Crayola, Henry Rollins (in small doses), The Redskins, Rain Tree Crow (aka Japan), and, er, The Rubettes (Sugar Baby Love is the guiltiest of pleasures)... Oh, and I liked Rush for about a day when I should have know better.

By now you will be wondering what happened to the Rolling Stones... OK, a few great 60s & 70s moments, but surely the most overrated band in history?


  1. For me the big 3 are Reich, Roedelius & Robert Rich. The premier league if you like.
    Rother, Redshift, Regular Music, Raintree Crow are in the first division.
    And Remember Remember (from Glasgow, & who I saw live on Monday night) are a joy!

  2. I'd go along wth that. I played a few Rs this morning while assembling IKEA shelves. Song stuff for once. "Stranded" was as good as I remembered. But I forgot Remember Remember. Oh and J is for Rain Tree Crow.

  3. Let's not forget:
    Jonathan Richman
    Kevin Rowland (for all his beauty)
    and hey white boy:
    Messers Smokey Robinson & Otis Redding

  4. Actually, thinking about it, how can I have forgotten Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos! Two fantastic albums. And Rothko have done some good stuff.