Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Music Collection – O Emperor

From William Onyeabor and Can to King Tubby and The Imperials, 10 out-takes from O Emperor’s music collection

Light 'em up: O Emperor

Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 10:13


Come on down O Emperor. Ahead of their appearance at the Knockanstockan Festival by the Blessington lakes in Co Wicklow next weekend, here are 10 tunes from the band’s collective music collection which make them smile and go “oh yeah!”

(1) William Onyeabor “Better Change Your Mind”

This is quite a mind-blowingly strange piece of music. The whole thing grooves along in the strangest, ragged way, with all this funky synth action happening. I can’t work out what’s going on with the drums, but I love it. His back story is worth checking out too as he’s quite the enigma.

(2) King Tubby “Inna Mi Yard”

Ya gotta love some King Tubby. This is possibly the heaviest song I’ve ever heard, obviously not heavy like in a balls-out rock sense, but heavy as in it actually feels like it pins you to the couch and gets inside your brain and fucks with it. The percussion is so goddamn loud too! This has melted our brains on many a late-night van journey.

(3) Can “Vitamin C”

This is a great track from an amazing band. The way they work is pretty inspiring, being based heavily on just jamming and using the results. There’s so much to be said for capturing the absolute first moment an idea is formed and using it. This is another track that’ll fuck with your brain in an awesome way. The groove is amazing and utterly unique.

(4) Mndsgn “Camelblues”

Some friends of ours put on a show with this guy in Cork recently that some of us went to see and have been hooked on him since. His stuff has this real nice, blissed-out, laid-back quality to it and just sounds kinda flakey and awesome.

(5) Serge Gainsbourg “Melody”

The way the band jams on this in this understated, deadpan way is just so bad-ass. I don’t understand the lyrics, but somehow I feel that I know that what’s being played is supporting the story perfectly. The overall atmosphere is so creepy and foreboding. And I love how detached the overdubbed string orchestra sounds when it comes in. Its so unexpected and just twists your brain!

(6) Dr Dre “Xxplosive”

The overt misogyny on this track may not be to everyone’s taste, but you can’t argue with that beat. I love the way it’s slamming really hard, but at the same time has that unmistakable, laid-back West Coast vibe going on. Oh and Nate Dogg is the man.

(7) The Meters “Here Comes the Meter Man”

This is another great example of people playing live together in the studio, keeping it loose and just killin’ it. We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from that kind of approach lately. These dudes just had this amazing groove that was simultaneously tight and loose (it does make sense!). The way it sounds in a production sense is incredible too. The whole thing has amazing spontaneity and vibe.

(8) Lalo Schifrin “Scorpio’s Theme”

This is classic, bad-ass, Seventies’ film scoring. There is a really cool mixture of elements going on here with the arrangement. Listening to it without the accompanying footage is kinda weird, it seems unanchored and floats in some strange, untouchable, but exceptionally funky environment.

(9) Q “The Voice of Q”

Anyone who says that slap bass isn’t cool needs to listen to this and re-assess their life.

(10) The Imperials “Living Without Your Love”

These guys were a Christian band back in the 1970s. It couldn’t possibly be cool, right? Wrong! This shit is tight! Like this is genuinely good, not “good” in the hipster irony sense of things, but actually good. Well, the B Section at 2:03 does get a bit poxy, but the rest more than makes up for it.

Previously in the Music Collection series: Young Wonder, Cloud Castle Lake and The Go! Team