Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Music Collection: Cloud Castle Lake

From Grouper and Oscar Sulley to John Fahey and Minnie Riperton, 10 out-takes from Cloud Castle Lake’s combined music collection

Cloud Castle Lake

Wed, Jun 3, 2015, 09:45


Ahead of their appearance at the Body & Soul festival at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath from June 19 to 21, we hear from long-time OTR favourites Cloud Castle Lake about their music collection. Here are Daniel McAuley, Brendan Jenkinson and Rory O’Connor talking about the ten tracks or albums which have influenced and inspired them.

(1) Alim Qasimov “Love’s Deep Ocean”

Despite not being that famous outside of the Middle East, he seems to regularly get called one of the best vocalists in the world. If you can listen to the big finale at the end of “Bagishlamani” and not think so as well, you’re nuts. Alim’s a good one to listen to if you need reminding of what singing should be like – and he was Azerbaijan’s Eurovision entry in 2012. So there ya go. (Dan)

(2) Minnie Riperton “Les Fleurs”

One of my favourites lately. That chorus! I like everything everybody does in this song and it’s the best. And believe it or not, that thing that sounds like a theremin towards the end is actually her singing. (Dan)

(3) Jimmy Scott “The Source”

Jimmy had a condition called Kallmann syndrome which stopped his hormonal growth and kept him with a boy’s alto range all his life. So straight off the bat, he had a pretty uncanny voice. His singing on this album is so earnest and powerful and it nearly feels like it should collapse under all the emotion but I think it’s perfect and always find it very affecting. (Dan)

(4) Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band “Bukom Mashie”

Nearly always put this on if I’m DJing. No matter how many times I play it I just don’t get sick of it. That rhythm section! There’s no way you’re not dancing. (Dan)

(5) Grouper “A I A: Alien Observer”/”A I A: Dream Loss”

Opiate music. Taken before sleep, drifting into sleep. It wakes you briefly with a change of timbre or silent space. A dull sense of bliss. I’ve listened to this album(s) countless times before going to sleep and it seems to change every time. Like with each listen all the layers are gradually separating and decoding. (Brendan)

(6) John Fahey “Sligo River Blues”

From the album, “Blind Joe Death”, “Sligo River Blues” is an enigmatic recording. One of those “probably a first take” recordings like “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands”, where you can definitely make out what he’s playing when he’s playing it and there isn’t really much of that, but then there’s a whole lot of something else. Something secret between the notes. I know it has something to do with the rhythm he’s using and I also know it has something to do with the texture of the recording and the subtle structure and arrangement of it. But I’ve tried endlessly to play it and capture a hint of what’s going on and can’t really get close. It’s protected. (Brendan)

(7) Bembeya Jazz National “Beni Barale”

This Guinean band were formed in the 1960s and are a good example of a perfect combination of individuals forming a great band. They merge old Guinean folk forms and melodies with modern Afrobeat and Afropop rhythms. They even have a traditional griot musician on guitar and he assumes a kind of God-like stature among among BJN fans, who refer to him as, obviously, “Diamond Fingers”. This song is another musically liminal yoke. You never seem to know when each downbeat will occur, but the band do. You never seem to fully know when they’ve landed on the home chord, but the band do. Or maybe they’re just pretending. In any case, this song makes a very particular and moving sound. (Brendan)

(8) Dennis Wilson “Only With You”

The first time I came across this record, I shed a tear. The significance it had on me at the time was overwhelming. Wilson’s vocal is so heart felt, not just on this track, but every vocal on the album seems to evoke a toughness of spirit. When I read about his latter life, it was tragic to hear of his addiction with alcohol and drugs, thus having a profound effect on his vocal chords. The man seemed to be plagued with bad luck. His death was one. (Rory)

(9) Pastor TL Barrett “Like A Ship (Without A Sail)”

Possibly the most uplifting song I’ve ever heard. It’s now become a bit of a Sunday ritual to listen to this record. I tend to play it really loud. It’s a record that fills me with hope. Self-released by Barrett in 1971, it’s one of those rare gospel records I treasure and adore to have in my record collection. It’s truly an astonishing album. (Rory)

(10) The Blue Nile “The Downtown Lights”

I often listened to this record on late night train journeys home from the studio. Paul Buchanan’s soulful vocal has always had a wholehearted touch. It was Buchanan’s sheer honesty in his writing that got me fixated in the first place. The Blue Nile are one of those rare perfectionist bands that wrote beautiful pop songs, but unknown to most, they managed to stay small in popularity. (Rory)

Previously in the Music Collection series: Young Wonder