33 musicians on their favorite albums of the last 25 years


The track “Diagonals” opens with what at the time seemed impossible, a drumbeat that stayed in time but increased in pitch. It wasn’t until I started working at McEntire’s Soma in the years to come that I learned that the effect was called Frequency Shifting, a cousin of pitch-shifting. The sound is intoxicating and riveting against the frantic marimba grounds and sets such an interesting and unusual tone for the tune. There are studio tricks ranging from subtle to overt around every corner and it’s still exciting almost 25 years later.

Stereolab adopted the album’s format, and the backing track for the album “Refractions in the Plastic Pulse” is a series of gurgling pop candies that take a detour through space. It’s well worth a late-night listen. The mix of pop writing, Laetitia’s strong lyrics and production are still unmatched.


Photo by Daniel Boczarski / Redferns / Getty Images

Wilco (Nels Cline)

Esperanza Spalding 12 small spells (2018)

My wife Yuka started to listen to this wonderful burst of creativity, versatility and imagination right out of it, and together we have listened to it in amazement more times than I can count. Esperanza composed the music and mainly focuses on vocals (although she plays acoustic bass and other instruments) while being supported by her incredibly talented band (and the superb articulation, harmonic sensitivity, and tones of the guitarist Matt Steven certainly caught my eye) for this cycle / show concept song (which we eventually attended at Town Hall. Breathtaking…).

The freewheeling and often surprising twists of music often envelop the listener like a torrent of creative expression or a feverish dream from which one never wants to wake up, feeling both meticulously crafted and urgently needed for spontaneity. Therefore, it fascinates and inspires with every listening. I guess that means it influences me! It is the music of a powerful and prodigiously talented artist that is out of class. How I like it!


Photo by Karl Walter / Getty Images for Coachella

Zach Hill (grips of death)

United States maple Strong sensations (2001)

I saw US Maple for the first time in concert in San Francisco as the opening act for Pavement. It was at the Fillmore in 1999. Their album Speaker was recently released. Watching them that night, I could feel that I was accessing myself that hadn’t been accessible to me before. In terms of performance, they were incomparable to anything I had ever seen.

I told a friend afterwards it was like a big pregnant snake on stage hugging all the air in the room and distributing oxygen when he hissed. Then Acre Thrills came out in 2001, and I was consumed by it. As a fan, I consider their entire discography to be a consolidated masterpiece, but Strong sensations completely reached me.

In 2002 my band Hella opened for them on their show date in Sacramento and I continued to refer to this performance by Fillmore when writing the lyrics for a Death Grips song called “Hacker”: ” I have this pregnant snake, stay surrounded by long hairs, a plethora of maniacs and spiral staircases “- the pregnant snake being their performance, long hair in reference to their debut album Long hair in three stages, and Spiral Stairs being Pavement’s second guitarist known as Spiral Stairs.

Very influential.

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