Greatest Albums Listening Guide (Rock & Jazz) [MID - REVISION]

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  • REVIEWS:
  • The Black Saint & Th0e Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (1963)
  • In the Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  • Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  • Escalator Over The Hill - Carla Bley (1971)
  • Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)
  • OVERVIEW: Arranged as a complete bout of stream-of-consciousness blossoming from a gradually upending kaleidoscope of succumbing emotional episodes and cast from a mass density of instrumental brotherhood, comes a deep exhale of collective oneness steeped in an overwhelming sense of universal tragedy. Wyatt assumes an inexplicable plethora of emotional identities, each magnified by an impossible sense of self awareness and clarity that, en masse, forces into existence an otherwise impenetrable subjectivity of the greatest integrity, character and conviction. In a communal mustering of forces that seem at once irrevocably consequential and sudden, unexplained phenomena, the work progresses as a prodigal event. A miracle unfolding. As a single entity where each aspect is interconnected to a greater whole, a single thrust, a singular emotion that encapsulates within it all emotions, all expressions, all viewpoints and beingness. A spiritual ascension that becomes increasingly disoriented, flummoxed and senseless the more awareness it acquires, the more profundity it emotes; thus mired in some ultimate dichotomy against logic. Sea Song, fraught with a narcotic, otherworldly milieu and contemplated by a profound, painfully heavy impression of sorrow, is a funeral march on a despairing search for answers. It magically erupts into a submerged, overwhelmed choir and then into the passionate, lost grief of Wyatt's lone, plaintive and confused cries as the keyboards strike repeating chords, haunting and ominous. A Last Straw floats oceanic, ascending and descending in eternal swim. It moves in an unorthodox, cyclic and rhythmic pulse as Wyatt calls out like a dying, drowning mammal, in between flexibly patterned, elastic percussion before the bottom drops out in a series of descending, increasingly dreadful, low notes. Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road explodes in a sensational, vibrant show, a coalescing influx of multi-faceted liberation, the unfurling of states of being; of mind over matter; Buddhi. It is a confused, colliding series of transformations, infusing Wyatt into and out of existence. His crying falsetto wavers, climbing then falling in laments of regret, corralling with the momentum of the frenzied, swirling vacuum; slowing down, speeding up, and dramatically reversing direction into inverse semantics and back again before nodding off in troubled nonsense. Alifib/Alife opens as a miraculous rebirth, an ode to his loved one in naked solitude at the beginning of the universe. Wyatt casts tears of regret into sparkling constellations, sinking ever so slowly beneath a calm and drifting sea, farther and farther from her. Beneath his delicate, lonely keyboard strokes, his haunting voice calls out repeatedly in a sacred whisper of paralyzed and comatose cardiac arrest. He is praying to her from the brink of death, trying to bring himself back, trying to postulate their union back into reality just as he loses it. Above this, he sings a mesmerizing hymn from the edge of birth, mourning their distance and their failures in an aching poem of clumsy baby talk. As with a newborn to his mother he pleas to her in a heartbreaking show of eternal dependency. Drowning further, a gradual rise of calamity, confusion and suspense ensues. Wyatt repeats his words in a less formulated, dying stupor as narcoleptic fits take hold. Clarinet and sax figures contort and spit and squeal and squirm, anxiously contriving a strange, brewing storm of pent up intensity before spewing out a wrenching, overflowing spastic attack of uncontrolled, unmitigated abandon, bursting and then calming into a striking retort from his loved one while a haunting sense of eternal damnation seems to swell before them. Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road explodes in a relentless storm of manic, increasingly frenetic percussion and instrumental fireworks while Wyatt repeats a mantra of prayers behind the screaming call of his keyboard play, before finally passing out into a heavenly backdrop of dreamy viola where an awkward stupor of unintelligible vocals drift about, hypnotized indefinitely in a void and godless world.
  • A Love Supreme - John Coltrane (1964)
  • Faust - Faust (1971)
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • Unit Structures - Cecil Taylor (1966)
  • Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)
  • The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  • Communications - The Jazz Composer's Orchestra (1968) [aka, "The Jazz Composer's Orchestra-Michael Mantler"]
  • Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  • Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)
  • Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint - Ivo Perelman (1996)
  • Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  • Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones (1972)
  • Starsailor - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)
  • Improvisie - Paul Bley (1971)
  • Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (1981)
  • Lorca - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • Desertshore - Nico (1970)
  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  • Y - The Pop Group (1979)
  • Spiritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)
  • The Marble Index - Nico (1969)
  • Cobra - John Zorn (1986)
  • Lullaby Land - Vampire Rodents (1993)
  • Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)
  • From Her To Eternity - Nick Cave (1984)
  • Streams-Sam Rivers (1973)
  • Forever Changes - Love (1967)
  • Lady of the Mirrors - Anthony Davis (1980)
  • Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  • Kick Out The Jams - MC5 (1969)
  • The Ascension - Glenn Branca (1981)
  • Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  • Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
  • OVERVIEW: The richness of the compositions, in which Dylan's harmonica wails and careens with wild spewing abandon, colorful organs flourish, drum rolls spin and dance about, and prancing guitar rhythms hiccup while frantic lead guitars spit and scatter, creates a colorful, spritely and blossoming wonderland for Dylan's sandpaper drawl to lament, depress and wither inside. These facets combine to produce a bright, wide-eyed, awestruck world in which the protagonist in each song seems to be blowing his mind. Poetic ideas and fairytale visions are exploding from his head as he sings of his wild observations. Like a real-time, live storybook, they are painting themselves (sometimes violently, sometimes softly) upon the physical universe surrounding him. Absolutely Sweet Marie is perhaps the quintessence of this, featuring a driving, repeating verse that keeps pushing itself past its own limits into a domino effect, as if the protagonist is gaining some exterior power, expanding into a superhero due to explode at any moment. It soon spills open into a crazed, free form harmonica and instrumental solo crashing between and against eachother, suspended and flailing in space, defying the laws of gravity. One of Us Must Know turns a depressing love story into a magical wonderland of both regret and majesterial climaxes. Just Like A Woman is a tender enigma with springing, flowering instrumental touches sprouting about throughout its verses and an arcane chorus to boot. The thickly layered, wailing, harsh blues songs (Rainy Day Woman, Pledging My Time, Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat, & Most Likely You'll Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine) take advantage of the most raucous arrangements, Dylan's sad and delirious vocals and his startlingly fevered use of harmonica to perform acts of bashful comedy, disgust and self-flagellation. Visions of Johanna, Stuck Inside A Mobile & Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands continually end then recreate themselves in infinite cycles of stream of conscious verse, developing into epic, mournful journeys. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands is so epic and funereal it seems the collapse of an entire civilization when infact it was about one woman. These lamenting, virtually free verse odes were simultaneously sad, nostalgic and monumentally triumphant. They were compositionally built like towers of Babel, as if Dylan was trying to muster every last sentence of meaning out of them in order to preserve their memory; embellishing epics in order to preserve faith in them as legends.
  • Absolutely Free-Frank Zappa (1967)
  • Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  • Irrlicht-Klaus Schulze (1972)
  • Atlantis-Sun Ra (1967)
  • Afternoon of a Georgia Faun-Marion Brown (1970)
  • Nail-Foetus (1985)
  • Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)
  • Zen Arcade-Husker Du (1984)
  • OVERVIEW: The songs run the gamut of melodic hardcore, plagued by messy, lo-fi recording qualities, as if they were born from the wreckage of garbage dumps. It contains elements of jazz, psychedelia, acoustic folk, pop, and piano interludes, though these are mostly treated as just another piece of the wreckage instead of avenues for brilliant solo adventures. Mould gives ferociously vital vocal performances. The guitar and percussion tempos consistently play out at frantic, warp speeds, accumulating into defiant, freakish crescendos of overwhelmed belligerence. The album builds to a frightening, virtually masochistic emotional arc, especially during its mid-section, taking on the color of an epic nervous breakdown. It concludes with the monstrous, infinite cycle of Reoccurring Dreams, featuring swelling walls of shapeshifting feedback, a driving gale force of guitars into a gradual accumulation in intensity until the composition feels like it's bursting at the seams; a roaring, howling inferno.
  • Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh-Magma (1973)
  • Slow, Deep & Hard-Type O Negative (1991)
  • Diamanda Galas-Diamanda Galas (1984)
  • Crystals-Sam Rivers (1974)
  • Yeti-Amon Duul II (1970)
  • Third-Soft Machine (1970)
  • Epitaph-Charles Mingus (1962)
  • Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (1991)
  • Free Jazz-Ornette Coleman (1960)
  • Even the Sounds Shine-Myra Melford (1994)
  • Yerself Is Steam-Mercury Rev (1991)
  • White Light/White Heat-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • Litanies of Satan-Diamanda Galas (1982)


  • NOTE: For the following "Also Recommended" choices, I am attempting to keep the correlations pretty direct, though in many cases, my selections may expand in due time (most of them are just "off the top of my head" for now). Also, relative to Rock, I have a lot more Jazz to listen to, which once done, will undoubtedly expand those selections.

  • Free Jazz - Ornette Coleman (1960)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Pithecanthropus Erectus - Charles Mingus (1956)
  • The Shape of Jazz to Come - Ornette Coleman (1959)
  • Spiritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)
  • Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)

  • Epitaph - Charles Mingus (1962)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Birth of the Cool - Miles Davis (1950)
  • Pithecanthropus Erectus - Charles Mingus (1956)
  • Brilliant Corners - Thelonious Monk (1956)
  • Kind of Blue - Miles Davis (1959)
  • New York, New York - George Russell (1959)
  • Mingus Ah Um - Charles Mingus (1959)

  • The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (1963)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Liberian Suite - Duke Ellington (1949)
  • Epitaph - Charles Mingus (1962)
  • The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Michael Mantler (1968)
  • Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  • Third - The Soft Machine (1970)

  • A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)
  • Karma - Pharaoh Sanders (1969)

  • Spiritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Shape of Jazz To Come - Ornette Coleman (1959)
  • Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)

  • Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Free Jazz - Ornette Coleman (1960)
  • A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • Spiritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)

  • Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
  • Desire - Bob Dylan (1976)

  • Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  • Tonight's the Night - Neil Young (1975)
  • Desire - Bob Dylan (1976)
  • Ys - Joanna Newsom (2006)

  • Unit Structures - Cecil Taylor (1966)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Silent Tongues - Cecil Taylor (1974)
  • Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint - Ivo Perelman (1996)

  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  • White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)
  • Desertshore - Nico (1971)
  • Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones (1971)
  • Live - The Velvet Underground (1974)
  • Radio Ethiopia - Patti Smith (1976)
  • Suicide - Suicide (1977)
  • Marquee Moon - Television (1977)
  • Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division (1979)
  • Days of Wine and Roses - The Dream Syndicate (1980)
  • Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth (1985)
  • Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)
  • Yerself Is Steam - Mercury Rev (1991)
  • Spiderland - Slint (1991)
  • If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle and Sebastian (1996)

  • The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Da Capo - Love (1966)
  • Forever Changes - Love (1967)
  • Strange Days - The Doors (1968)
  • The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)
  • Fun House - The Stooges (1970)
  • Suicide - Suicide (1977)
  • Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division (1979)
  • The Good Son - Nick Cave (1990)
  • Good - Morphine (1992)

  • Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  • White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1967)

  • Forever Changes - Love (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys (1966)
  • Da Capo - Love (1966)
  • The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  • Strange Days - The Doors (1968)
  • Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake (1969)

  • White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  • The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Michael Mantler (1968)
  • Kick Out the Jams - MC5 (1969)
  • Suicide - Suicide (1977)
  • The Ascension - Glenn Branca (1981)
  • Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth (1985)
  • Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)
  • Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)
  • Yerself Is Steam - Mercury Rev (1991)

  • Atlantis - Sun Ra (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Magic City - Sun Ra (1965)
  • The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Michael Mantler (1968)

  • Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa (1967)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Michael Mantler (1968)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Kick Out the Jams-MC5 (1969)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • The Marble Index-Nico (1969)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Shape of Jazz to Come - Ornette Coleman (1959)
  • Spritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)
  • Out To Lunch - Eric Dolphy (1964)
  • Unit Structures - Cecil Taylor (1966)
  • Safe as Milk - Captain Beefheart (1967)
  • For Alto - Anthony Braxton (1968)
  • Mirror Man - Captain Beefheart (1971)
  • Freak Out - Frank Zappa (1966)
  • Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa (1967)
  • We're Only in it For the Money - Frank Zappa (1967)
  • Uncle Meat - Frank Zappa (1969)
  • Tago Mago - Can (1971)
  • Saxophone Improvisations, Series F - Anthony Braxton (1972)
  • The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)
  • Dub Housing - Pere Ubu (1978)
  • Y - Pop Group (1979)
  • New Picnic Time - Pere Ubu (1979)
  • For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? - Pop Group (1980)
  • The Art of Walking - Pere Ubu (1980)
  • Swordfishtrombones - Tom Waits (1983)
  • Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen (1984)
  • Psychic...Powerless, Another Man's Sac - Butthole Surfers (1984)
  • From Here to Eternity - Nick Cave (1984)
  • Rain Dogs - Tom Waits (1985)
  • Nail - Foetus (1985)
  • Monster Walks the Winter Lake - David Thomas (1986)
  • Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)

  • Yeti - Amon Duul II (1970)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Third - Soft Machine (1970)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (1963)
  • Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  • In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson (1969)
  • Yeti - Amon Duul II (1970)
  • Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)

  • Lorca - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  • Happy Sad - Tim Buckley (1968)
  • Starsailor - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  • Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)

  • Starsailor - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  • Happy Sad - Tim Buckley (1968)
  • Lorca - Tim Buckley (1970)
  • Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  • Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)

  • Afternoon of a Georgia Faun - Marion Brown (1970)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Desertshore - Nico (1971)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Escalator Over The Hill - Carla Bley (1971)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Faust - Faust (1971)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • Freak Out! - Frank Zappa (1966)
  • Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa (1967)
  • We're Only in it For the Money - Frank Zappa (1967)
  • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd (1967)
  • A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd (1968)
  • Uncle Meat - Frank Zappa (1969)
  • Tago Mago - Can (1971)
  • Neu! - Neu! (1972)
  • Flying Teapot - Gong (1973)
  • Future Days - Can (1973)
  • Faust IV - Faust (1973)
  • Meet the Residents - Residents (1974)
  • Not Available - Residents (1974)
  • Y - Pop Group (1979)
  • Lullaby Land - Vampire Rodents (1993)

  • Improvisie - Paul Bley (1971)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Irrlicht - Klaus Schulze (1972)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh - Magma (1973)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Streams - Sam Rivers (1973)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Crystals - Sam Rivers (1974)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Y - Pop Group (1979)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Lady of the Mirrors-Anthony Davis (1980)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • The Ascension-Glenn Branca (1981)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Cobra - John Zorn (1981)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (1981)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Litanies of Satan - Diamanda Galas (1982)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Zen Arcade-Husker Du (1984)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • From Her To Eternity-Nick Cave (1984)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Diamanda Galas - Diamanda Galas (1984)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Nail - Foetus (1985)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (1991)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Yerself Is Steam - Mercury Rev (1991)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Slow, Deep & Hard - Type O Negative (1991)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Lullaby Land - Vampire Rodents (1993)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Even the Sounds Shine - Myra Melford (1994)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint - Ivo Perelman (1996)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:

  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  • ALSO RECOMMENDED:
  • A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan (1963) [SONG]
  • Mr Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan (1965) [SONG]
  • It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Bob Dylan (1965) [SONG]
  • Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles (1967) [SONG]
  • Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  • Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
  • Freak Out! - Frank Zappa (1966)
  • Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd (1967)
  • Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  • Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  • On Avery Island - Neutral Milk Hotel (1995)
  • Dusk at Cubist Castle - Olivia Tremor Control (1996)
  • Fevers & Mirrors - Bright Eyes (1997)
  • Funeral - Arcade Fire (2004)

If you're looking to bust out that 10.0 Challenge Rating, try some Keiji Haino or Merzbow or Twin Infinitives.

I am getting more and more excited about Twin Infinitives! I just ordered it a few days ago! Hopefully it comes in soon. I am salivating to hear it. I am totally ready for its unlistenable mish-mash! I am hoping it's a 10!

Are those others worth getting? How highly would you rate them? I don't want to waste my time on a 10 that isn't rewarding.

Neither Haino nor Merzbow made any 8/10 albums by my measurements.

I trust your judgment. For now I'll stick with the more worthy '10', and once I receive Twin Infinitives, I will update you on what I think.

Where would you slot something like "Metal Machine Music"? Or Orthrelm's "Asristir Veildroixe"?

Only heard snippets of Metal Machine Music. My guess on that one is somewhere between an 8.5-9.5, but I'd have to hear it all to give a definite answer.

I've never heard the other one so I don't have a clue.

Lukeprog could probably give you a better answer.

A word of encouragement on Twin Infinitives. As with Trout Mask Replica, it was once unlistenable to me, but now it is one of my favorite albums. I've listened to it almost a dozen times this week.

Thanks! I was just told that it has arrived at the music store I ordered it through. I'll be picking it up either today or Fri. But trust me, I'll be fine with it. It will probably show up on my list pretty soon. It can't be that much tougher than Trout Mask Replica or Faust, is it?

Probably not, but it is "uglier," by which of course I mean to say that it is incredibly beautiful. This is the kind of album that makes my search through thousands of other mediocre titles worthwhile.

I can't wait!

Would you still rate it ahead of VU & Nico (an album that, although I've owned for 6 years, still keeps getting better and better)?

How much potential does it have to become a 9.5 in your rating system? Do you consider Rock Bottom, Faust, TMR and Irrlicht significantly better than Twin Infinitives?

I specifically eliminated my bold-text scheme because I didn't think I could really be accurate to more than 20 levels of music ratings (only 4 levels of which I bother to list). That said, my best guess is that Parable of Arable Land and Twin Infinitives are the best of rock from my 9.0 category. But yes, my 9.5s are definitely better than anything in the 9.0 category.

Hey, check out this Trout Mask Replica tribute poem.

Thanks for the poem link. I thought that was pretty cool. Made me want to do one myself.

As for Twin Infinitives and PofAL, that's pretty much what I thought.

While I don't personally ever expect Parable to seriously threaten VU & Nico in my own rankings (not to say that it's far behind it either), I am very curious to see if Twin Infinitives will.

I'd have to disagree with you lukeprog. I really do think it's up there on the highest tier of albums. I think it is helped by the fact that there is almost nothing like it, ever. And to afterhours, to me Twin Infinitives is definitely more challenging than Faust or Trout Mask Replica. While parts of those albums are almost completely unlistenable at first, almost all of Twin Infinitives is like that, except for (Edge of the) Ape Oven and the last song. Also, what do you see in & Nico? To me it is very good, but I'm just not "getting" what makes it such a masterpiece.

Velvet Underground & Nico is so great. I've always loved it, but until a couple months ago I couldn't quite understand why Scaruffi rated it as high as 4th. There was a time earlier this year when I had it ranked lower than Parable of Arable Land, Third, Irrlicht, Desertshore, The Ascension and even Spirit of Eden and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as well as some of the jazz albums like Kind of Blue. But now that album is oozing with more genius than ever to me.

Like most of the very greatest albums, I can't quite put a finger on what it is. It just keeps getting better and better. There are few albums I can think of that are so relentlessly experimental while remaining so natural and unforced. No matter how many times I listen to it, it's emotions never feel manufactured. It's like watching a film with actors delivering emotional performances that are so real you completely forget they're acting. VU & Nico has this aspect to it, you feel as though you are listening to real lives. It is strewn in this hyperrealism that becomes more and more affecting with age, the more it's understood. VU & Nico is loaded with ingenuity and depth, yet never ever does it seem like it's trying really hard to get there. Every nuance is placed just right, calculated yet reckless and barbaric sounding. What really astonishes me about the album is the variety, and the track placement is so key to the overall effect. It has the feeling of starting out as a fairy tale and ending up in a black pit of apocolyptic oblivion.
The aftermath of experiencing the album has rarely been matched.

Don't know if any of that helps. The way I feel about VU & Nico now is not the result of further study of the album, but almost wholly by just listening to it so much since first purchasing it back in early 2001, and especially over the last 2 years.

The best listening advice I could give towards acquiring this taste in the album is, as you listen to each song, pay strong interest and attention to the emotions on display from every angle. Everything at once. The viola, the sterile detaching beauty of Nico's voice, the throbbing and/or scattering bass lines, the ringing, Lou Reed's street-wise vocals, etc. Just really be attentive for each part of the whole, and in time it will probably sooner or later come to you.

By the way, I will have Twin Infinitives this tomorrow and will join in on that debate thereafter.

Lol. I probably should have waited until I got back to post, because I knew I would have lots of time to listen to it while I was gone.(family gatherings are always so boring) Anyway, I totally see what your saying about & Nico now. Although I don't love it as much as you do yet, it is so much better than before.

Excellent! It will be interesting to see if your affection for Vu & Nico ends up parallel to mine with Twin Infinitives.

I've been having some problems with a lot of the jazz on this and other lists. I mean, I like the albums, they are really quite good. However, I'm sort of lost a lot of the time on what is being expressed. Like with Kind of Blue, I've listened to it a couple times, but each time, it just sounds like people improvising over predetermined modal scales to me, nothing more. Its sort of strange. I can't really see the emotions being expressed most of the time. Maybe its just because I haven't listened to many jazz albums? I don't know. For the free jazz, I don't think its because they are too challenging. I kind of think that if I can handle Twin Infinitives, I can handle anything. I was hoping maybe you could offer some advice.

Once again, I'm very poorly qualified to answer this question, and I recommend you ask people on jazz forums, or perhaps write a letter to jazz magazines or webzines. Perhaps AfterHours can be more help.

All of my jazz music picks are very emotional to me, but I have trouble throwing adjectives at them, and even more trouble arguing for why these albums are more effective at expressing emotion than other notable albums that didn't make my cut. I love jazz, but it definitely ain't my forte.

First let me say that your concern is important to me because I've personally experienced that a love and emotional connection and understanding of jazz has greatly increased my passion for rock music.

It is almost certainly because you haven't listened to much jazz. Until you get used to it, jazz is a completely different beast than rock.
With Kind of Blue and Brilliant Corners it is first about the melodies. The more familiar you become with the build-up and structure and release of the melodies, the more you will derive the emotion from these two. Brilliant Corners has a certain delicacy and magic to it, and a vibrance in it's expressiveness that is very colorful and beautiful. Kind of Blue is an absolute masterpiece of melodic structures. It outshines, no annihilates, "great" melodists such as The Beatles and others. Its genius is in how the players weave in an out of eachother to create impeccably composed melodic build-ups. All it takes is to keep listening to it. Twin Infinitives will not help you at all with these two since it is free-form based and Kind of Blue, while improvised, is very structured towards precise, controlled climaxes and melody. Rock albums that should help you with Kind of Blue and Brilliant Corners are (recommended in this order) Spirit of Eden, Astral Weeks, and Lorca. If you listen to all these in rotation and don't concern yourself with much of any other music, you should be able to conquer those jazz albums rather quickly.

Once you finish off Brilliant Corners adn Kind of Blue you should've developed an innate love for the sound of jazz, since both of these focus so much on the physical beauty as aesthetic of the key jazz instruments. With this foundation, move up the jazz on the list in the recommended order only completing 6.0's together before moving onto the next group. Example: listen to Les Stances A Sophie and A Love Supreme as a unit, then the jazz albums in the 7.0 range (including Third which is practically a jazz album) and continuing like this until you 'get' each one on up the list.

Once done, you should notice that your appreciation for certain rock albums will exceed that of before.

Let me know if you run into anything else along the way and I'll see if I can offer more advice. The main thing to remember is to just keep listening and eventually you will train your ear to love the sound of jazz.

Thanks for the advice. I already love Lorca and Third, and like Spirit of Eden a lot. Hopefully that will make it easier to get into jazz.

Yea, it definitely sounds like you're well on your way. Don't worry, it will probably just take some more listens. Once you get it, you'll get it and jazz will likely become an easier ride for you the more you listen to it.

If you want a semi-explanation for adding Dolmen Music to my list, see my "Best Albums of the 80's" list or my "Greatest Albums of All Time (Rankings 10-4)" list.

I'm going through this now, although I have to get all my music off bittorrent, being in China. Some of these albums are hard to find...

Anyways, thanks for the recommended order. It's sure to be quite a journey. :)

You're welcome. And thankyou for giving this a shot. I think you will be amply rewarded with what you hear. Truly, a musical journey that is absolutely incredible.

Yes, they can be very difficult finds. Some albums such as Y by Pop Group cost me as much as $45, but fortunately were well worth it (to me at least).

I would love to hear what you think of each album as you go along. I am fascinated by how this goes for you. The results of those I know who've done the list or are currently on it have been wholly successful, so I think you'll be just fine, especially after looking at the music collection you have posted. No matter your tastes and no matter who you are it is not likely to be an easy journey but if done per this order (or at least close), and giving each album the attention and consistent listening it deserves, one's chances of being completely astonished by each and every album increases tremendously.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc., as you go along.

When I was using bittorrent, I also had a lot of problems finding some of these albums. You really should try soulseek. I've never failed to find something eventually on there.

Soulseek worked really well to find a lot of these, though you are right, it does take a lot more time and energy.

Although I am not an avid rock and jazz fan, I had a fantastic time reading you list and you views, with explainations. I can relate to the intensity with which you feel about music. Great job!

Thankyou!

Are you more into classical? Any favorites?

I am more into elecronica and EDM. But that's pobably because that's the only genre I am seriously exposed to. At one point of time I seriously tried listening to 'commercial' rock (Korn, Creed, Evanessence, Limp Bizkit, Metallica, Linkin Park, Blink 152.... you get the idea) and found it to be utter crap. I gave up trying and eventually found out that everything I head in rock (which was minuscle, in retrospection) sounded pretty much the same. Your list (and (re)views) really got me interested again. That is pretty much how I feel about electronic music (as in, the intensity and in-depth involvement). I knew there had to be something like this out there, but was just too unmotivated to seach for it. Anyways, thanks for this list. Although it will take me months and years to track down and listen to each of these, I'll eventually do that. I have erratic net access and am pretty much in a remote place currently, so at least for 4 months, I can't lay my hands on any new music.
Eventually (and hopefully) this list makes me listen, learn and enjoy. Thank you, again.

I agree that most all 'commercial' rock is crap, very repetitive, lacks ingenuity (to put it kindly), and is generally very predictable. You have pretty much gone through what I did, except I was in a slightly different generation of commercial rock (the whole Seattle scene which wasn't so bad, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Radiohead, etc. all of which are solid, emotionally powerful bands so my foundation wasn't that bad I guess). Todays modern rock radio practically puts me to sleep. I haven't purposely listened to it in years. Nickleback must be about as bad as it gets. I project one of their albums would score no more than a 3.5 or 4.0 on my scale, perhaps worse. And then there's James Blunt...

If you do the list in order, and really listen to each album to the point where you 'get' them before moving on to the next challenge level, then I think most any serious music listener (meaning someone who really loves or wants to love music as an emotional experience, i.e. classical music) could tackle this list with aplomb.

Oh yea, and being an EDM/electronica fan, there is a very solid chance you would grow (or instantaneously) love the following masterpieces on this list:

1. Spirit of Eden-Talk Talk
2. A Rainbow In Curved Air-Terry Riley
3. Desertshore-Nico
4. The Downward Spiral-NIN
5. Remnants of a Deeper Purity-Black Tape For A Blue Girl
6. Lullaby Land-Vampire Rodents
7. Third-Soft Machine
8. The Ascension-Glann Branca
9. Loveless-My Bloody Valentine
10. Neu!-Neu!
11. Irrlicht-Klaus Schulze

These are given in order of challenge, seeded from easiest to most difficult.

You might be wondering: "but few of these could even be described as electronica/EDM", and you'd be correct, but from my observation electronica/EDM fans seem to take especially to the above albums from my list. They are all incredible and none should be totally impossible to find. I highly suggest checking them out if you can find the time and effort.

Geek the Girl and Downward Spiral have both been removed and are now 8.75/10.

Could you explain the basis of you changing tastes over time? I know the question is highly irritating for you as you've probably spent endless amount of time replying to similar questions here. But my question more specifically would be : does listening to newer, more challenging albums affect your rating of other albums in any way? Does it make you appreciate other albums in a newer light? Sorry if I irritate you! It's just that I like and admire your almost religious liking and passion for music!

Not irritating at all. I actually like your question a lot. I'll try and articulate the best I can.

It really doesn't matter much how challenging an album is. This doesn't necessarily influence whether or not it gets on the list. However, it just so happens that most of the greatest albums ever made are usually quite challenging. This is the result of the need for an artist to communicate in original expressive ways in order to deliver an emotional experience that stands out, that is a singular, astonishing phenomenon, and not derivitive or recycleable. Really doing this (no small feat in itself) is the mark of an artist who is an individual communicating not based on a certain rhythm or structure, not based on pre-established rules or genres, but is an artist who is infact simply delivering the emotion as is, and forming the compositional structure of the song based on the emotion that is coming out, instead of cutting the emotion short for the purpose of fitting it into a pre-established format (practically all pop music does this). If the artist is sad I want them to communicate that emotion instead of making sure that they fit it into a catchy melody and catch the audience in a hook. That's secondary. Who cares about the structure! Just express those feelings for real and whatever comes out structurally is the way it is.

Usually, this means it is going to be "challenging" because the listener has to actually "listen" and get used to what is being said by the artist (by "communicated" and "what is being said" I definitely mean both vocally [if there are vocals] as well as instrumentally).

Going through the list over and over, as I am doing all the time, frequently changes my views of many albums, though the more I go through, the more certain I get of each, and the less change is made each time. My last full run through that I just completed changed things around quite a bit, which is where all the changes that happened in the past few weeks came from. The bottom half of the list is almost continuously influx because:

a) I've listened to the top half albums probably an average of 2x as much so I am more certain in where those albums really stand.

b) There are a bit more 9/10's than the 9.25's and 9.5's combined. Having so many albums in the same rating echelon means they are all extremely close together, one after the other. The slightest change of heart in an album can drop it or jump it many places. Just one change in song rating can move an album 5-10 places or more.

Now you asked: Could you explain the basis of you changing tastes over time?

My basis for rating albums is based on how much of a profound emotional experience they are. The higher on that scale, the higher the rating, and of course, the higher on the list. Sometimes, I will get very excited about an album and experience a temporary love for it that is above where it will truly end up being and this sort of experience can influence me to overrate an album, placing it higher than it should go. The more I go through the list, the more these "mistakes" get cleaned up, the less they keep happening, and the more definite and precise my logic towards the quality of each and every album becomes. The more and more I go through the list, the more I define my own tastes and the more I accurately place the albums. And thus, you see movement on the list.

Feel free to ask me questions anytime.

I see. Thank you for the definitely articulative response. Right then, I'll step on your toes for just a while and ask a few questions...

A) So DO you experience the same emotional intensity everytime you hear .. say your top 3 albums?
B) Do you feel that your life experiences affect the way you feel when you hear an album?
C)If an song or an album that fits into the 'manufactured' (so as to speak) template manages to convey the underlying emotion of the music with equal intensity as the 'structure-free' (so as to speak) songs or albums, would you still rate it as highly? I wouldn't know about rock or jazz, but I can name 5 electronic songs right off top of my head.
D) Do you believe that there ARE absolutes that must be liked, understood and loved by everyone who seriously 'gets' it?

(A) No. Very similar no doubt, but not exactly the same. I notice new things or realize things, etc.
(B) Yes. Sometimes I'm not really focused on the album due to distractions or upsets in my life, etc. But usually, if I am in this state of mind, I wouldn't even bother to play the album in the first place.
(C) Oh yes. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is an excellent example of an album that is very conventional in structure but still very emotional. It is a rare bird though. Most of The Doors is structurally conventional. Some bands, due to rare, converging talents are powerful enough vocally, instrumentally, or both, to be able to bring out an extraordinary amount of emotion within a conventional song structure. Their conviction is such and their vision compelling enough that they can manage to exude enough emotion despite predictability of form. The Doors is the probably the best example of this happening. All my album ratings are really based on, to put it simply, is "overall and lasting emotional power". My various sub-ratings (continuity, ingenuity, expansion of content, profundity) all lead up to this.
(D) I think there are albums that exhibit such emotional power and that are so shattering an experience that if someone 'got it' and weren't blown away it would seem impossible because what these exalted albums produce is something a person has never experienced before. If you've suddenly experienced a brand new emotional outpouring such as that in Rock Bottom it is akin to discovering the mysteries of the universe, or another planet, or a vision of God. Before you discovered it, it wasn't even there, and it was previously unthinkable.

That said, I don't believe it in the way you've said it. I don't see it as something that must be done or enforced, as in a dictatorship or something. It is not up to me. I simply think it is a phenomenon that will occur, not because I think it must be so, but simply because I think it will. The capacity of a person to understand is infinite, so if he were to try and understand something over and over until he understood it, he would eventually experience that thing. The experience of Rock Bottom is beyond words...beyond this universe. It is an impossible feat and I am not even sure Mr. Wyatt can explain how it happened.

I missed something here...it's very late.

I do not think there are musical absolutes. I do think that a person's ability to understand is absolute. So anyone could understand Rock Bottom, but certainly not anyone would, due to an infinite variety of potential factors.

Hey Merlin,
Please see my detailed explanation on "Important Data For Use In Listening To My Greatest Albums List", the main portion of the explanation being under the heading titled: "YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND WHAT 'GETTING' AN ALBUM MEANS AND ENTAILS." This should make my statements about 'getting' Rock Bottom much more clear and should answer question (D).

Alright, I got the Doors' album. While I think I have 'gotten' it to the point of identifying the artists' emotion, I am afraid rock music is not to my liking. I can see why it is so good and highly acclaimed, but it just doesn't appeal to me. I guess my electronic background has made me biased towards non-vocal music. Can you suggest something that might appeal to an EDM fan?

First off, it is extremely important to listen to The Doors loud and on as powerful system as possible (the less wattage the louder it should be played, without being so loud it kills you of course, but plenty loud). As unlikley as it sounds, doing this a small handful of times will probably significantly improve your opinion of the album and its emotional power. If you've been listening to it on a computer or even on headphones, neither one is going to release its full power.

I would not suggest advancing forward on the list without going through each and every album, the reason being that 'getting' all the albums will increase your affection for each and every album along the list, so in turn help you 'get' each one more and more--it's a domino effect, since their level of greatness is determined by a common denominator of emotional power/impact/depth. However, I will still answer your question:

I would suggest, in the following order:

Desertshore-Nico
Loveless-My Bloody Valentine
Third-Soft Machine
Lullaby Land-Vampire Rodents
Escalator Over the Hill-Carla Bley
Neu!-Neu!
Irrlicht-Klaus Schulze

But really, my main suggestion is to push through the list in order. With more persistence you can definitely learn to love rock music as a whole.

Also:

Suicide's debut

Merlin, I feel compelled to jump in here just in case you think my advice makes more sense to you, and would prefer to follow mine. Of course, feel free to stick to AfterHours's course of action if you want to.

I think if you've given the Doors' debut a chance to win you over without success, it's possible that the album actually just isn't for you, and you can keep listening to it and relistening to it and it will keep failing to impress you. Lord knows I've listened to that album plenty of times and, while I do like it, I find it overrated. The #3 album, Blonde on Blonde, however, is one of my favorites, and I shudder to think that the "best" course of action would be to not discover this album until I had listened to an eternity of "come on baby light my fire."

If you think rock music is not to your liking, then maybe rock music is just not to your liking. Maybe if you listen to "20th Century Fox" 17 times a day focusing on what AfterHours tells you to focus on, you will achieve a full understanding of that song. That still doesn't mean you'll like it as much as a song that's in a genre you prefer.

AfterHours has a better sense of what kind of music each of these albums is. I've heard some of them, and I can assure you if you never really connect with with the Doors, that doesn't have to be "The End." If you like non-vocal electronic music, I feel comfortable recommending Irrlicht to you, even if it's a jump into more complex emotions. If you like that, maybe you'll also like Loveless, which kinda toes the line between electronica and rock. AfterHours also listed a number of EDM-friendly albums that I haven't heard, so maybe you could check those out. If you start liking the music that borders between rock and electronica, maybe you would also like some pure rock albums. Maybe at that point you can come back to the Doors. Or maybe the Doors will never be your thing, but you'll get into Van Morrison, or Bob Dylan, or dare I say it... the Beatles.

I'm just saying, if you don't like the Doors, there are probably genre-related issues preventing you from liking them as well as emotion-related issues. If you have the desire to like rock, I'm sure there are easier, individually-tailored ways for you to break on through to the other side. If you have no such desire, there's still plenty of good stuff out there.

Well, it really depends on what you want to accomplish. The purpose of this Recommended Order... is for those who actually want to 'get' the whole list, an admittedly small group that AJ seems particularly skeptical of. I can guarantee you that, should you persist, you will be extremely happy you did, but like AJ said, the list just may not be your cup of tea. Of course, he's speaking as someone who himself has failed to persist on the very albums he's recommending you fail to persist at.

If you want to be marginally successful or not successful at all with the albums on the list you should take AJ's recommendations (I say this based on his own result). If you want to be very successful, or even wholly successful with the list you should follow mine (based on result).

And by the way, just in case you took what AJ said seriously, 1 time a day is plenty, given it is done under the correct circumstances (good system, etc).

If you want to speak with someone else who has had some rough points on the list and who has firsthand experience with the idea of persisting with the albums I recommend a member of this site, Parable. He has personally observed the "fruits of his own labor". He also experienced firsthand The Doors jumping into the echelon of "extremely emotional experiences" simply by listening to it on a great system at a high volume (something that may be too obvious to believe), and he needed some serious persistence for albums like Lorca, Astral Weeks & Faust, and came out the other side totally blown away and even shocked by how incredible they were compared with his initial reactions to them. I recommend talking to him and discussing "the list". He's done it based largely on the Recommended Order described here.

Another thing which I do recommend is to take on multiple albums at a time, say 3 (The Doors, The Good Son and Blonde On Blonde) and switch between them, but still keeping them per the Recommended Order. This is more or less the way I went through the list originally.

I agree that whose advice you listen to should depend on your goals with these albums, but it should also depend on how you personally feel you would best experience these albums. Merlin, let me give you an example. I've never actually told AfterHours how much I've listened to The Doors' debut, and yet he still assumes that I failed to persist with it, for no reason other than the fact that I don't love it. If you agree with that aesthetic philosophy, by all means listen to his advice.

Actually, by what you've said, it seems like you've listened to the Doors quite a few times. And Astral Weeks at least 10 times from what I remember. You and I already determined long ago that this list wasn't really your thing. This doesn't make you wrong or anything, it just makes you part of the majority who don't really favor this music. You simply have different tastes, that's all, which makes you an unlikely candidate to be delivering advice regarding these albums--just as I wouldn't be much of anyone to go and deliver advice on how to best experience the Beatles' albums. The simple point is that you don't really know because you've never really done it. From what I grasp you've listened to a small portion of the albums on this list and perhaps only 4 of them a significant number of times (The Doors, Geek the Girl, Blonde On Blonde, Astral Weeks...and maybe Trout Mask Replica). From what I gather the only two that have been a wholly successful experience are Blonde On Blonde and Geek the Girl. It does seem like you enjoy Trout Mask Replica.

My "philosophy" is that anyone who is mentally capable can determine his course of affection for an album through further understanding it and experiencing it by increasing his confront of it. While there are multiple ways to accomplish this, such as listening to other albums in the same boat, or era, such as researching about all the innovations and history of the albums, etc., I've never found an album that couldn't be 'gotten' on this level through simply persistently listening to it, especially per this Recommeded Order. It's so idiotically simple that I think much of the flak I've taken for even mentioning it is perhaps due to the possibility that it sort of assaults others' intelligence. But, regardless, I only mention it because it works, and because it is 100% successful with those who want to do the list. If you don't have your heart really set on the list than it will only work for you to that degree, simply because that lack of investment is part of your own attitude towards determining your own accomplishments with the albums' on here. If it is your intention to 'get' every album (or just the one you're working on, one at a time) than that is what you will accomplish when you persist. If you only want to 'get' the EDM related albums, that is what you will accomplish through your persistence. If you want to branch out further, then you will accomplish it to the degree that you want it. All I want to do is see you go through all of it because I am aware of the level of power all of them can have on one. There's nothing in it for me: you're not paying me per album, I don't get commission, listology doesn't pay me per person and album, nothing--I just know what will happen if you do it and I know you will be extremely happy you did it. But, it's only worth doing at all if you've convinced yourself to do it (which it seemed like you had prior to giving it a go with the Doors).

So, as I said before, it really depends on what you want.

"he's speaking as someone who himself has failed to persist on the very albums he's recommending you fail to persist at"

"it seems like you've listened to the Doors quite a few times"

I made that comment on the Doors because the first statement above made it sound like you were saying I had failed to persist at listening to the Doors' debut. Because that was the only album I suggested Merlin give up on for now. Given your second statement, maybe I misread you.

you've listened to a small portion of the albums on this list and perhaps only 4 of them a significant number of times

I've actually listened to 20 of these 48 albums. As for listening to them a significant number of times or having wholly successful experiences, I think many of those 20 fall into both categories for me, though you may have different standards for significant numbers or levels of success. I actually love Trout Mask Replica, but I doubt I've listened to it the 50 times you prescribed.

My "philosophy"...

Look, you did that whole experiment a while back to try to present these albums better and make them easier to get into. You and I may have different artistic aesthetics when it comes to... well, everything, but I certainly wasn't trying to sabotage you here. I think there is a grand flaw in your presentation. This recommended order is so simple that it can't possibly be universal. You seem to be completely style-blind, like an artist could say profound things emotionally and it wouldn't matter a bit what style the music was in, you'd like it purely based on the emotional content. The vast majority of people aren't like that; they have preferences of certain sounds of music. If someone only listened to music that sounded like Twin Infinitives and had never heard a pop song before, would you still recommend that that person start at the beginning of the list and only after listening to 47 other albums could he/she appreciate Twin Infinitives? Of course not. Twin Infinitives would probably be pretty accessible to that person.

Of course, this scenario is unrealistic because we've all heard pop songs, but if you really want to help people appreciate these albums, you've gotta take into account their background and preferences. True, I'm not speaking as someone who has gone through and "gotten" every album Scaruffi has to recommend, but lukeprog HAS done that, and he recommended some Scaruffaves to me once based on what he knew of my taste in music, with a good amount of success.

So I'm not suggesting that fans of a certain genre only stick to what they know, but I'm saying that this list of albums might be better approached that way. Once they like Scaruffist albums in that genre, maybe they can branch out and find things they like in genres they didn't think they enjoyed.

I actually agree with everything you've said, and I thank you for giving me a better idea of how many albums you've listened to on the list.

I don't think I've ever said this is the only way to successfully listen to the albums on this list. However, I've found it to be the most efficient and 100% successful (given everything is met per above). Anybody could spend as much time as they want on numerous routes and many other albums, etc., but for those who want to 'get' all these albums, this is the fastest, most efficient and effective way I know. But you're way would probably work for plenty of people, including Merlin, no doubt. With this particular subject I am only interested in speed and effectiveness, since the list by itself seems to take between 1 and 2 years on average.

I should note that the first paragraph "Actually, by what you've said..." is mainly directed towards AJ and the 2nd paragraph "My philosophy" is mainly directed towards Merlin.

My purpose, so to speak, is to have a fuller understanding and appreciation of rock music, given my exposure to only EDM. That doesn't necessarily exclude avant-garde artists, Scaruffaves or The Beatles. I am having trouble with The Doors currently, which I think stems from the fact that my ears are 'tuned' to appreciate and like a certain pattern, certain elements, rythms and instruments that exist only in EDM (mostly) (buildup-breakdowns, synth, basslines, arpeggaition etc.). Given that fact I am more than willing to try out what you and AJ suggested. I can see why this particular order exists ("You will find that the albums will often play off one another and develop your emotional response to them collectively.."), I think it is a safer bet to assume that if I start with albums that border between electronc and rock music and then onwards progress further. Of course my heart is in this list, I have a "very strong desire to derive the full emotional power from each album and a very high level of dedication and persistence". It is just that even with a 5.0 rating, the new style of music is ... jarring to my ears (not jarring as in dull, boring etc., jarring as in a bit too new). As for easier, individually-tailored ways for me to break on through to the other side, AJ, I am all ears. What would you recommend?

I was using the "easier, individually tailored ways" comment as a term for what I was suggesting to you. I think you should look at the albums AfterHours recommended as appealing to an EDM fan. Start with the ones that are the most purely electronic, then move on to the ones that kinda toe the line between electronica and rock.

Of that list of albums, I've only heard Loveless, Neu!, Irrlicht, and Suicide. I would suggest starting with Irrlicht as it's the most electronic of those, then Loveless probably next in line, and moving on from there, but AfterHours can probably give you better advice about the most electronic of those. Now, if you want some suggestions for albums that are on the borderline between electronica and rock but aren't on this list, I could also come up with a few of those.

Well, I'm no EDM expert, but as far as I can tell the only two albums on the list that could even fall into the genre with any comfortability would be Neu! and Loveless. Irrlicht is certainly the most electronic album on the list, but isn't electronic dance music as I understand it. The rest were recommended to you as an estimation that they have some electronic influences or ambience or similar structures or rhythms, but really the only two that qualify in my opinion are the above two. Most of the albums on the list are multi-dimensional many times over and changed music or developed new ideas in multi-faceted, emotionally versatile ways, and you'll be hard pressed to find an album that focuses exclusively on any particular genre. So if you really want to just jump right into something EDM-related I would shoot straight to Loveless and Neu!, and perhaps the others I mentioned as well, then come back to the beginning of the list. Keep in mind that these two albums are quite challenging for most (though perhaps not so much for an EDM fan), and if they seem too difficult, don't fret it; I would just climb the ladder of the list, which is nearly guaranteed to be successful for you if you keep at it, and by the time you get back to them they probably won't present much of a challenge anymore.

Irrlicht was stunning! Profound on all levels. A reckless play of emotions.
And if it means anything, I think I 'got' it the first time (most of it anyways) and loved it by the 5th listen. Onwards ho! to the list!

Awesome! Keep on keepin' on! And, by all means, continue to come back to it as you go through the list.

Another thing: emotion/impact of the instruments/vocals is much more important than the lyrical content.

For The Doors I would suggest focusing especially on

-the manic intensity and lost sensuality of Morrison's vocal performances
-the climaxing and visceral impact of the percussion/drums
-the swirling, driving, kinetic force and collaboration of the other instruments
-Break on Through to the Other Side-Morrison's supreme vocal masterpiece, in which he hurls the song into motion by the frantic force of his vocals
-Light My Fire-The Doors' supreme collaborative masterwork, where the bands builds up a perpetual force of rising and swirling crescendos and frantic lust
-The End-in which the song seems suspended in Shakespearean tragedy and drama and surrealist lyricism before exploding into a massive rush of heated, colliding instrumental and vocal forces at its climax, the apex of the surging emotional intensity of the album
-The album should come together as whole more and more once each of these key parts are 'gotten' more fully, since each of the other tracks are microcosms of what these represent. Eventually, the whole album becomes a pummeling, overwhelming emotional assualt, maniacally driven and focused towards nothing but the most intense and visceral forces.

The Doors is very key towards fully getting the rest of the list and I urge you to strive more towards fully experiencing its' genius.

In many ways it is the most perfect example of the list as a whole, as it is so fittingly representative of what "emotional impact" entails.

The Doors is indeed awesome.
Thank you for making me stick to it. =)

Well done. What's next for you? Have you decided to take up the electronic-type albums or start from the beginning?

Erm, I have gotten around 30% of the albums on the list. And now, I welcome my download limit :-(.

I think I'll stick to the order (mostly), while trying my hand at the electronic ones as well (the ones I've gotten).

Great! By "gotten" do you mean you've found around 30% of the albums on the list to be emotionally profound on a high level, or do you simply mean that you've gotten ahold of/purchased 30% of them?

I'd love to discuss the albums you've been listening to (even if it's only one or two). Please, down below ("start new discussion"). Which are your favorites and why? Do you want any help/advice on any of them?

I've gotten hold of them actually. Pretty rare to find, most of them, given where I live. Even soulseek, where even the rarest album can be found, fails to show up any search results for many. Gaah, not to worry, I'll track em down...eventually.

I really want to do this list slowly. I am currently trying to get the most out of the Doors. At the point when I am done with that, I shall move on to more albums. Needless to say, I'm lovin' it!

Irrlicht is done and over with. I don't know where to start! I don't know how he managed to create an outpouring so intense as this, emotionally AND technically. This is a soundtrack straight out of hell. And I don't mean bad or anything. It is sinster, and yet... it feels so good. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I am out of words...

I know just how you feel about Irrlicht, it's such a great album! AfterHours does any other Klauz Schulze work even compare? I've heard a great deal of his other work was poor =(

According to Scaruffi he's done some other good works (X and Cyborg) but a lot of stuff thats really quite poor. One of them he gives a 2/10!

Cyborg is amazing (I rate it 8.75/10). Nearly a masterpiece, which means it is still one of the greatest albums ever made (since actual masterpieces are in such short supply).

I've heard that Timewind is awesome as well, though not nearly as innovative as Irrlicht--apparently it is a bit more explosive.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I am out of words...

Here's a serviceable review I wrote on it back in 2006 that I suspect I could improve on today. It had been archived but I am too busy right now to write a better one so this is all you get! (:

Lukeprog once wrote something on it for AJ that I'll see if I can find. If I remember correctly it was much better than this one. It took it from a historical perspective instead of an emotional perspective, so I guess if you combine the two of ours, it gives you a pretty thorough perspective on the album.

"Irrlicht is a marvel of electronic music, a symphony of the universe, a mind blowing expansion on the breadth of space, of intergalactic space travel, of precious discovery, of a distant galaxy or a new civilization. It captures the spiritual aesthetic of the Sistine Chapel, or secretly observing Johann Sebastian Bach play Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor, all alone in a great church. It is both intensely personalized, as well as universally stratospheric. It is graceful and magnificent and jaw-droppingly beautiful. It is a work of life, a soul. Its greatness lies mostly in how its drones of introspective emotion and tremendous phase effects expand in spaciousness outward from one sound, praying on the same or a slight variation of that sound, until it is climaxed to the fullest, and a maximum impact is achieved.

Satz: Ebene breathes and grows and evaporates its first 9-plus minutes. Its eerie drones hypnotize and the distant, mysterious melodies blossom from beneath it, building to an inevitable storm. Sudden gliding, thunderous, ferocious strokes of overwhelming laser beams expand to the breaking point, and then dissipate before being overtaken by the next. They clear entire planets, entire galaxies, lonely and omnipotent all the same. They build, one upon the other, gathering a storm of momentum for minutes on end, collapsing and crashing against eachother, against heaven, against hell, against the forces of life, against the supernatural, penetrating the birth of existence, ancient civilizations, infinity--before consuming too much for any being, for any dimension or space, until there is no where else to go, but...God?

Satz: Gewitter roars and terrorizes and growls and shifts in and out of focus. It's paralyzed by phase effects, by simultaneously living and dying, breathing and pausing. It can hardly contain itself, and it seems like a dwindling spiral, creating nothing out of something. It is just suspended there, defying the laws of gravity.

Satz: Exil Sils Maria is the essence of soundpainting, and enormous in its freedom. All the calming breaths, unspoken wisdom and audacity and scope of it fully coalesces and becomes profoundly reflective and deftly coaxes the listener into an observer of great discovery. It is here where Irrlicht asserts itself as a full-bodied masterpiece, as an infinity of spiritual insight and a marvel of this, our fascinating, beautiful universe."

Here's lukeprog's outstanding review of Irrlicht. Realize that he is talking to AJDaGreat, explaining what he feels about the album to him by way of review:

"I don't think I have the time or skill to meet your high demand, and I loved Irrlicht before I understood much about it, anyway. But I'll give it a shot. I've even uploaded a compilation of musical excerpts to illustrate my points here. I've designed it so that when you come to a superscripted number, you can stop, listen to that track number in the compilation, and then continue reading.

Irrlicht belongs, first and foremost, to the development of avantgarde electronic music (I put it in my "Greatest Rock Albums" list because Schulze is a rock musician, not a notational composer). Though primitive electronic music appeared in the 1890s, significant works in the genre didn't arrive until much later. Consider John Cage's Imaginary Landscape #11 (1939), or especially several works of the 50s and 60s: Varèse's Poeme Electronique2 (1958), Stockhausen's Gesang der Junglinge3 (1956) and Gruppen4 (1957), and Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon5 (1967). You'll probably agree that however important these pieces are to the development of composition, recording, and sound techniques, they aren't very soul-stirring. They're like proofs of the Poincaré conjecture, not, say, a flying car.

Then came Terry Riley's momentous A Rainbow in Curved Air6 (1968) that, finally, sounded like "music." It applied melody to the pulse-based nature of his extremely static (and non-electronic) In C (1965), but still didn't evoke much for the listener. In the Classical Era and previous periods, Western music was written as a mathematical exercise in rhythms, tones, and counterpoint (for example, the carefully overlapping passages of a fugue). Beethoven and others unlocked the awesome potential of such an abstract art as music to evoke non-musical ideas (for example the "Storm" movement of Beethoven's 6th symphony). A Rainbow in Curved Air was tonal and "floaty", but it doesn't evoke anything beautiful, powerful, or surprising, in my opinion. It's pretty, but it's solely about musical ideas, not emotional ideas.

Note that many artists of all styles had used electronic instruments in acoustic music, but these were not works of "electronic music." Walter Carlos popularized electronic music by playing Bach's music with the moog on Switched On Bach (1968). Also in the late 60s, bands like Silver Apples, Beaver & Krause, and White Noise7 wrote entertaining pop & rock ditties using mostly electronic instruments. Then in 1972 we got Tangerine Dream's Zeit8 and Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, two very different electronic masterpieces, and Irrlicht is superior. This genre of music with such rich potential, and such rapid development, and such grand explorations, had suddenly birthed a work not only of insight, musical genius, and timbre genius, but of evocative power and beauty and scale far beyond everything that came before it!

Imagine yourself as a film critic in the 1910s (okay, you're the first film critic ever). You see the early experiments of Edison and Melies and Feuillade and Griffith and think "Hmmm, they may be on to something here." You see Birth of a Nation and Intolerance and are jumping for joy at the potential of film. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari opens up a world of frightening possibilities. And then you see The Last Laugh, and you're curled up on your couch, sobbing at the beauty, the power, the humanity in those moving images. You knew this day was coming, but it still hits you like a ton of bricks. (Okay, AJ, you're sitting erect like a man and I'm weeping in the fetal position: whatever. Also, replace The Last Laugh with the name of the earliest film that emotionally overpowered you.)

But in fact, Irrlicht is greater than The Last Laugh for me because cinema, and Murnau himself, later topped The Last Laugh with Sunrise, Citizen Kane, and a hundred others. Irrlicht is, for me, still the most powerful electronic work I have ever heard. For me, it evokes "the universe, riven. It is infinite, overwhelming, and awesome in the purest sense of the word. It is a magniloquent galactic creature, the climax of the fourth dimension, or the breath of God."

The piece begins with a clear kinship to minimalism. As one reviewer writes: "The first 10 minutes of the opening track represent a strict meditation on D. Not the chord of D, mind you. The note." Melodic inertness is a property of many early minimalist works, for example In C9 or La Monte Young's epic yawners like Drift Study10 (1967). But Irrlicht makes much better use of timbre - of the sound of the music - and thusly evokes everything I wrote above with, basically, a single note. Timbre had been a major focus of many composers since Varese's works of the 1920s, which "led to an almost manic exploration of texture, mostly through timbre and juxtaposing of timbres and overlapping of timbres. Notes were, in a sense, less important than the timbre of the instrument that produced them. The "sequence" of notes itself was, in a sense, no more a temporal sequence than a spatial "choreography" of sounds. The composer was no longer creating a narrative but exploring a space, a soundscape." No piece of electronic music before Irrlicht had made such incredible use of timbre. And electronic music is an orchestra of all possible sounds, those made by acoustic instruments, acoustic noises, and sounds impossible to make acoustically.

Consider the rising electronic washes at about the 9:40 mark of "Satz Ebene" and the following few minutes. It is here that you begin to hear what Scaruffi so eloquently writes about the piece: "Schulze penned the first aesthetic of popular electronic music, an aesthetic that inherited from Indian raga the sense of tempo, from jazz the sense of spontaneity, and from late romantic symphonists the sense of magniloquence. In many ways, Irrlicht (1972) created both the archetype and the reference standard for "kosmische musik". Schulze's recipe included Bach-ian organ ouvertures, Tibetan-style droning, "Wagner-ian" polyphonic architectures, Pink Floyd-ian cosmic psychedelia, Gregorian liturgy, John Coltrane's metaphysical explorations... and many other ingredients. The synthesis achieved by that electronic symphony was momentous and ground-breaking. Schulze sculpted/painted an ambience that sounded like a live recording of galactic life, but, rather than indulging in rendering cosmic events, he focused on the pathos that the unknown and the infinite elicit into the human soul. The symphony alternates moments of catalectic suspense, of apocalyptic chaos and of moving melody. Schulze sequenced them so as to maximize awe and angst."

After the incredible "Satz Ebene", the other two tracks may seem like a let-down at first, like listening to the rest of Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa11 (1977) after the glorious and heart-shattering crescendo from about 6:40 to the end of the first movement, or like the "returning home" chapters after the defeat of Sauron in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In "Satz Gewitter", the intergalactic turmoil calms, a few weakened wormholes and dimensions still snapping and crumbling under the implosive pressure, but the epic narrative comes to an oasis of calm, which is where "Satz Exil Sils Maria" begins.

Throughout the last track, one becomes more aware of the inexhaustible space of... outer space, and shadows of renewing tension creep in as the flotsam of multiversal conflict drifts by. But at the 14 minute mark, the awesome and fearful breath of God exercises a forceful control and the album closes with the universe complete and willfully stable. The journey is contentedly whole and now part of you, like the entirety of Tabula Rasa and Lord of the Rings.

It's an exciting, intense, epic, and deeply satisfying work of great musical and emotional innovation. I'm sure you will not have the same experience of Irrlicht as I have, or as AfterHours has, or as Scaruffi has, but I do hope that sharing my love for Irrlicht may inspire you to love it in your own way."

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself."

I found Faust to be absolutely amazing the first time I heard it. It's a very listenable album. The sheer density of the album (microtonality, polyrhythms, 20 seconds of Nancarrow-esque piano, melodic noise, noisy melodies, Spanish classical guitar influenced drones, opera-influenced melisma, delay effects so prominent that I think I'm hearing a choir, unheard-of distortion sound effects that sound as though chirping birds are wedded with minimalist keyboards, Residents-y nothingness 2 years before the first Residents album, occasional flirting with the "low" art of an all-out rock jam, unveiled and raw bits of energy, double drums not for kitsch but for a strong pounding effect) is unparalleled in most rock music. And that, to me, was obvious from first listen. I don't understand what about the album is off-putting. Maybe there's another aspect to the album's greatness that I haven't discovered yet, but even so, there are aspects of the album's greatness, noticeable upon first listen, that would immediately warrant the album praise.

Trout Mask Replica did take some time. I agree with you on that one. It took time and careful attention to realize just how insanely well-constructed TMR truly is. Captain Beefheart's originality is galaxies above virtually any other rock musician (although Royal Trux comes close) in that rather than inventing a new way to simply produce or present already existing music, he invented a new way to compose music, via deconstruction of free jazz, rock, blues, sea shanty, fusing those deconstructions together, and reconstructing it through an avant garde/modern classical mindset: polyrhythm, polytonality, and orchestral chaos. Such originality and genius is difficult to discern, and upon first listen, the album can come across as being random. I was not really sure what to listen for; there wasn't one definite aspect to latch onto. The out-of-time vocals don't sing an explicit melody, and the drums provide neither backbeat nor ground rhythm. The vocals of "Pena" scare the living feces out of me.

Hash Jar Tempo did not take a lot of time for me either, although I can see what's off-putting about it. I could definitely see people saying "This is just a single-day jam session! How is this a masterpiece?" Myself, I was blown away by the sound. I think it's a good album to listen to passively (as background music) as well as actively.

I still don't get Loveless. I think it's a very good album, but it seems like a production artifice to me. Kevin Shields himself says he "genuinely rarely understood more than a third of what people were trying to say about the record", and I tend to agree with him. That said, it's been about 3 years since I've listened to it, and perhaps I'd be more open now. Also, Kevin Shields seems like a very modest person.

You are a rare bird (loving Faust immediately), which likely bodes very well for you. You should have an amazing future with this list and you could probably glide through it rather easily.

Do you have any history with free/avant-garde jazz or avant-garde classical prior to attempting Faust? How about your history with avant-garde rock prior to attempting Faust?

For some Loveless is very difficult and for others it is relatively easy. On average it seems to be correctly placed at a 7.0 challenge level. If you do the list up to that point in order it shouldn't be much trouble. 10 listens, give or take.

Like Merlin, I am an avid electronic listener, though certainly recently my tastes have expanded to the likes of Faust - Faust,Klauz Schulze - Irrlicht, Can -Future Days, Radiohead - Amnesiac etc. I feel I like to give music a fair chance, and try to appreciate it fully. Albums such as Faust were at first despised by me but have grown to be a strong liking. However, I think Trout Mask Replica is Ok-ish, but I'm not really "getting" it right now, and it's had a good 5 listens. Am I listening to it in the wrong state of mind or might it just not be my style? Thanks, and great list by the way, this and your main "greatest rock albums" list, well done!

Well, Trout Mask Replica is one of the most challenging albums ever made. I've listened to it well over 100 times and I still am increasing my love for it almost every time I play it. From my estimation most music listeners probably never really 'get it' at least on a 9.5/10 level (which is more overwhelming and powerful than the average music listener can even imagine), and even the most persistent generally take over 50 listens.

If the whole list is done in the recommended order, and each album is taken to a point of being emotionally profound, then by the time one gets to TMR it should take 15 listens, give or take. This is because the list is littered with "prerequisites" to TMR, albums that shape and teach the listener to cope with, and eventually love its' sound.

I am of the belief that any serious music listener who wants to can, with enough persistence, adapt himself to any emotion or music style, so in my opinion this is not the underlying problem. My recommendation is to go through the whole list as described above, and that it is much too early to take a serious charge at TMR.

100 times! Wow, that really is dedicated listening. I'll definitely check out the rest of the list before I go charging at TMR again, I have Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom on the D/L so I'll see if I like that too. So in your opinion is TMR the hardest album hear to appreciate (in all senses of the word)? And just out of interest, how long have you been listening to music of this type? I was just wondering because you obviously know a great deal about this genre, and approach music with a very open minded intelligent way. Ever listen to any electronic music? I think you'd like some of the more downbeatish stuff it has to offer, (ambient & minimalism perhaps?) as a few of these albums have very close ties to early electronic music anyway.

I'll definitely check out the rest of the list before I go charging at TMR again, I have Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom on the D/L so I'll see if I like that too.

Whatever you do, unless you have superb computer speakers (and I mean superb such as "Atlas Lansing" brand) I urge you to play the albums as much as possible on headphones or a high-wattage, great soundsystem (Pioneer, Panasonic, Sony, etc.). It is actually incredible what a difference it makes. I've moved albums up entire echelons in rating simply by the difference in sound system! I imagine Scaruffi has an awesome system he uses because almost all the albums only reveal their peak-level promise on superb sound systems.

So in your opinion is TMR the hardest album hear to appreciate (in all senses of the word)?

Not quite for me personally, but for most it is either that or Twin Infinitives. Trout Mask has the most depth of any album on the list so in that way will take many the longest to fully appreciate. Personally, I have a tougher time with lighter fare that isn't so overtly, humanly emotional, such as Not Available and Dream Theory in Malaya (not on the list as of yesterday). To derive the significance and emotional power from Hosianna Mantra gave me some fits as well. There are other albums that aren't hard at all to like but were a real bitch to find as true masterpieces, namely The Good Son and Geek the Girl. While neither are tough listens both took a long time and many listens to reveal the emotional power necessary to be considered masterpieces.

And just out of interest, how long have you been listening to music of this type?

About 2 1/2 years I think, though I already owned and was quite familiar with some of the albums long before that, such as A Love Supreme, VU & Nico, Spiderland, Loveless, Kind of Blue, Black Saint, Blonde On Blonde, Astral Weeks, and a few others--so I had a very solid launching pad.

Ever listen to any electronic music?

Yes, though it's not a genre I've gone very deep into. I'm only seriously interested in stuff that is of a very high level (no less than 8.0/10, meaning it would be a masterpiece to most serious music listeners that haven't yet experienced a 9.0/10+)

I think you'd like some of the more downbeatish stuff it has to offer, (ambient & minimalism perhaps?) as a few of these albums have very close ties to early electronic music anyway.

All that matters is whether it is highly emotional or not. If so, I will love it. If not, I won't. I don't restrict my tastes based on genre--just emotional significance. To give you an idea of this I would give Radiohead's Kid A no more than a 7.25/10, so it would have to be quite a bit better to really catch my attention. An example of some 8.0's that are probably in line with the kind of music you favor could be Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden or Peter Gabriel's Passion or Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die. None are strictly "electronic" (though Passion is a combo of electronic, New Age and World Music) but each have that particular ambience and emotionally have close ties to electronic music. Those three should give you a good idea of what would be needed emotionally for me to bother paying attention past one or two listens, but I would definitely be willing to take up anything you have in mind that I could get my hands on without much trouble or money (like through the inter-library loan system).

I agree with you on sound quality, I got some new better headphones recently and it really does make a huge difference! Also, the environment I listen to music makes a bit difference, for instance, before a few weeks ago I thought Irrlicht was good, but I listened to it in bed pitch black completely focused on only the music and my love for it increased tenfold. I did the same with Faust & Neu! too, and the same effect happened, so I guess with this type of music you really need to lose yourself in it, yet remain concentrated on it and not let your mind wander. I've really only started taking my music seriously for the last ten months or so, and my tastes are evolving rapidly and becoming (I think) better all the time.
One point though, I wouldn't consider Radiohead electronic, merely electronically influenced, I was meaning music such as (And all this is at least 9.0/10) Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports, Spicelab - A Day On Our Planet, L.S.G - Into Deep, Banco De Gaia - Last Train To Lhasa which are all heavy listening music, all with quite an ambient feel to them (some more than others, eg Brian Eno), ever tried any electronic like that?

I've heard quite a bit of Eno, but not Music For Airports, which I've heard is his best album. How would you compare it to Another Green World, which to me is about a 7.25/10? Significantly better? I have a friend of mine who often swaps CDs with me, and he already ordered Airports from the library. Once his copy comes I'll check it out. I've wanted to hear it for a long time, as is the case with all of Scaruffi albums rated 8.0/10+.

Could you give me a quick rundown of how highly you'd recommend these others you mention?

I feel compelled to jump in here :)
If you are really going to tackle electronic music, I personally would suggest you check out the following, in the order

This Binary Universe - BT (9.25) (By far the most superb piece of electronic music ever written. Just listen to it in surround mode and you'll see what I mean. Worth every SECOND you put into it. This shall be easy for you to 'get', given your Irrlicht experience.)
Music For Airports (9.0 in my opinion, especially 1-1 part of it)
Norhtern Exposure - Sasha And Digweed (8.75)
Balance 005 - James Holden (9.25)

Well, I'll have to check out all of those. I'll order each of them from the library, which is free, but can take as much as 5 weeks to receive. Once I listen to each one enough (don't worry even albums 8.0/10 on challenge level only take 1 or 2 listens these days--thanks to the list), I'll report back with my thoughts/ratings. Thanks!

How would you compare it to Another Green World, which to me is about a 7.25/10? Significantly better?

I confess I haven't heard much Eno stuff, but Music For Airports is definitely at least 8.5/10.

Could you give me a quick rundown of how highly you'd recommend these others you mention?

I'd say Spicelab - A Day on Our Planet is a 9.9/10 (It's probably my favourite album of all time), Banco De Gaia - Last Train to Lhasa a 9.1/10, L.S.G. - Into Deep a 9.3/10, but they're definitely all worth checking out. I recommended these and less dancey stuff because I thought it would be less geared to your taste, though all the music Merlin has recommended is truly also awesome stuff, Northern Exposure & Balance 005 are the two best EDM mixes of all time. It's interesting you have Balance above NE Merlin, though I can see why, I used to think that too, both are truly well thought out amazing pieces of music.
Also, sorry for clogging up your rock list with talk of electronic music AfterHours hehe

Also, sorry for clogging up your rock list with talk of electronic music AfterHours hehe

I love talking music and I love getting recommendations! I'm dishing them out (recommended order) and getting them back from you guys. Nothing to apologize for. I really appreciate it.

I'd say Spicelab - A Day on Our Planet is a 9.9/10 (It's probably my favourite album of all time), Banco De Gaia - Last Train to Lhasa a 9.1/10, L.S.G. - Into Deep a 9.3/10, but they're definitely all worth checking out. I recommended these and less dancey stuff because I thought it would be less geared to your taste, though all the music Merlin has recommended is truly also awesome stuff, Northern Exposure & Balance 005 are the two best EDM mixes of all time. It's interesting you have Balance above NE Merlin, though I can see why, I used to think that too, both are truly well thought out amazing pieces of music.

Sounds great. I will check them out in the not too distant future. I currently have 8 jazz albums on order so both of yours will be my next batch. I don't want to do too many at once, otherwise I won't be able to get to all of them before the date of return. Thanks!

You're welcome, and thanks for all the replies and insight you've given me into good rock music. I got Rock Bottom today, and have listened to it 4 times in a row - I absolutely love it. It is amazing on so many levels, pure genius! And once again, great list!

I love Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom, it might be my new favourite piece of music ever, and I read Scaruffi's review of it and I agree with all of it. Any of the albums on your list which are particularly similar to it?

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that 1 more person loves Rock Bottom--easily one of the most extraordinary pieces of music ever made.

I don't think you're going to find anything on the list or anywhere else in music that can really be called "similar". Rock Bottom is a totally subjective creation, making it especially inimitable.

There are some albums that share parts of its idiosynchracity, but don't count on them to give you the same level of emotional impact (after all, Rock Bottom is one of the five 9.5/10's ever created in the entirety of rock/jazz history, statistically a near impossible feat).

Coltrane's A Love Supreme could be called the emotional "jazz-equivelant" to Rock Bottom as it shares a similar form of stream of consciousness and cumulative emotional impact.

Paul Bley's Improvisie shares a similar sense of strange, idiosynchratic pathos, mystery and suspense that colors the second half of Rock Bottom.

Third by Soft Machine features one of the most extraordinary tracks ever, Wyatt's own Moon in June (the rest of the album as well, is amazing). The album also favors a similar ambience in parts as Rock Bottom--that lush cosmic/nautical feel.

Not Available by the Residents draws a somewhat similar line between childish nursery rhymes and philosophic quandary, as well as featuring a sense of mystery and suspense that casts a strange sense of tragi-comical doom upon the human race.

Now, even though I've listed these albums don't count on them to give you the same singular experience Rock Bottom does--its ingenuity and singularity are among the many fascinating reasons it is so extraordinary.

All the albums on the list offer their own unique brand of emotional outpouring.

I can't tell you how happy I am I found your list and in the process Rock Bottom, my favourites off the album are probably Alifib & Alifie, such perfect music to me. 3 Minutes through Alifie is particularly emotionally powerful, that saxophone blended with everything else is so good. I cannot express in words how much I seem to have fallen in love with this album! - It almost makes me proud to be English...almost.

I'm definitely going to add all of these to my wishlist in time, though I think first "A Love Supreme" will be downloaded, I would love to explore jazz and I don't know very much about the genre. Thankyou for all these recommendations!

What are your opinions (if you have any on it of course) on White Noise - An Electric Storm ? I absolutely love that album, it blends a form of rock psychedelia with avantgarde (avantgarde electronic, like Stockhausen). It uses haunting vocals with instruments such as cellos, trumpets & guitars while it joins in with electronic bliss. It took the conceptual ideas of Musique concrète and made them actual music instead of just gimmicks. Delia Derbyshire (The composer of the BBC Doctor Who Theme) uses extremely complex techniques to produce this unique overall sound.

To better understand how electronic music was made before synthesisers and such (unless you already know) were created, there is this extremely interesting documentary on youtube about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and how they made music. It will show you the techniques used to create pieces of music such as those used in An Electric Storm .

The First Part of The Documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop, the others can be found on the links down the side...:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrdrrbQjtk8

(Sorry I don't know how to use links very well, HTML isn't my specialty)

Even if you don't like An Electric Storm this video will help make you appreciate the extremely difficult and groundbreaking ways the electronic music of the day was created. Thanks once again for your swift reply, Blind.

An extension from my last post, I am really enjoying the version of "A Love Supreme" which I have, but some people say it has 9 tracks, others say 4. I only have 4 on mine, is that the correct version?

Those who say it has 9 tracks are insane. Or maybe just have a version with bonus tracks.

So don't worry, your version is totally correct. The proper album only has:

#1. A Love Supreme
#2. Resolution
#3. Pursuance
#4. Psalm

--OR--

#1. A Love Supreme
#2. Resolution
#3. Pursuance/Psalm

Most previous versions joined the last two tracks into one, thus only having 3 tracks--so if you see this one, it too is correct.

I'm glad you're enjoying it. ( :

Jazz can be a bit disorienting for the uninitiated to get into, so it sounds like it's going well for you.

A Love Supreme topped my list for about a year, ahead of all the current 9.5's, so don't be a bit surprised if it becomes the greatest musical work you've ever experienced--and stays there for the forseeable future--and don't worry about it if it doesn't...yet. "Getting it" made me feel as though I was being ripped from my skull and blessed by God. It is an extremely powerful and spiritual experience.

Yeah that's the four I have, thanks for confirming! (:

Whoops, my mistake (maybe I'm the one who's insane)

track #1 is "Acknowledgment" (not "A Love Supreme")

I can't tell you how happy I am I found your list and in the process Rock Bottom, my favourites off the album are probably Alifib & Alifie, such perfect music to me.

Agreed. See my greatest tracks/songs list and you'll find the two listed as one (as they used to be on the album sleeve) in the 9.75/10 range. "Alifib/Alife" is one of the most original and astonishingly heartfelt love songs ever made in the history of music.

3 Minutes through Alifie is particularly emotionally powerful, that saxophone blended with everything else is so good. I cannot express in words how much I seem to have fallen in love with this album! - It almost makes me proud to be English...almost.

Almost? Rock Bottom is so miraculous it makes me proud to be alive. LOL.

I'm definitely going to add all of these to my wishlist in time, though I think first "A Love Supreme" will be downloaded, I would love to explore jazz and I don't know very much about the genre. Thankyou for all these recommendations!

You're very very welcome. It is easy to recommend to those who give the albums a real, dedicated shot.

What are your opinions (if you have any on it of course) on White Noise - An Electric Storm ? I absolutely love that album, it blends a form of rock psychedelia with avantgarde (avantgarde electronic, like Stockhausen). It uses haunting vocals with instruments such as cellos, trumpets & guitars while it joins in with electronic bliss. It took the conceptual ideas of Musique concrète and made them actual music instead of just gimmicks. Delia Derbyshire (The composer of the BBC Doctor Who Theme) uses extremely complex techniques to produce this unique overall sound.

Never heard it. Sounds like I'll have to give it a go with my next order, eh?

To better understand how electronic music was made before synthesisers and such (unless you already know) were created, there is this extremely interesting documentary on youtube about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and how they made music. It will show you the techniques used to create pieces of music such as those used in An Electric Storm .

The First Part of The Documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop, the others can be found on the links down the side...:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrdrrbQjtk8

(Sorry I don't know how to use links very well, HTML isn't my specialty)

Even if you don't like An Electric Storm this video will help make you appreciate the extremely difficult and groundbreaking ways the electronic music of the day was created. Thanks once again for your swift reply, Blind.

Sounds like a really interesting documentary. Is it available for rent or purchase anywhere ?(YouTube sucks on my computer)

Sounds like a really interesting documentary. Is it available for rent or purchase anywhere ?(YouTube sucks on my computer)

I don't think so, it's a BBC recording but you may be able to get it off Amazon? Well, if youtube does end up working for you, I highly recommend it :)

Almost? Rock Bottom is so miraculous it makes me proud to be alive. LOL.

Haha yes, it has a similar effect on me now. I was referring to the fact he's english, and that has to be a positive. However, there's so many negatives I lose count lol :P

A Love Supreme is indeed very good, I haven't completely "got" it yet, but I'm already enjoying it. Jazz is a very complex style of music after all, I can't hope to understand one of its masterpieces in 2 listens.

In your opinion would you say the most productive (productive for masterpieces that is) time for rock was 1967 - 1976 ?

Also, as you said somewhere else that you used to listen to classical music a lot, any particular favourites there? I really like Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor by Bach, it's one of my favourite pieces of music of all time.

I don't think so, it's a BBC recording but you may be able to get it off Amazon? Well, if youtube does end up working for you, I highly recommend it :)

Hmmm. I'll see if I can find it (maybe the library). If I do, I'll let you know what I think.

Haha yes, it has a similar effect on me now. I was referring to the fact he's english, and that has to be a positive. However, there's so many negatives I lose count lol :P

I know...lol

A Love Supreme is indeed very good, I haven't completely "got" it yet, but I'm already enjoying it. Jazz is a very complex style of music after all, I can't hope to understand one of its masterpieces in 2 listens.

Obviously. Keep on doing what you're doing. Sounds like it's going well. I strongly suggest playing it on a sound system without headphones if possible--if you aren't already doing so. A Love Supreme tends to work best when it has space to breathe in, as opposed to headphones which can restrict the outward force and momentum of its sound to some degree.

In your opinion would you say the most productive (productive for masterpieces that is) time for rock was 1967 - 1976 ?

Sounds about right. That's a pretty incredible 10 year period for rock, no doubt

Also, as you said somewhere else that you used to listen to classical music a lot, any particular favourites there? I really like Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor by Bach, it's one of my favourite pieces of music of all time.

I still listen to classical and always will. It is the premier music of the world. It will probably always possess the most supreme masterpieces and masterpieces than any other music. Beethoven has something like 10+ supreme masterpieces alone and is easily the greatest music artist in history. I started a classical list and will continue it when I am more complete with my rock/jazz one (in which there should be about 10-15 more albums gradually added [mostly jazz] in the near future so be ready!). Eventually I will probably join the rock/jazz with the classical one as well.

Some of the very greatest are:

Beethoven's Symphony #3, #5 & #9
Brahms' Symphony #1 & #4
Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6
Mahler's Symphony #9
Dvorak's Symphony #9

Bach's Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor is astonishing and a precursor to Schulze's Irrlicht. Almost certainly the greatest solo organ track ever created and would rate a 9.5/10 (maybe 9.75) on my greatest songs/tracks list.

Also by Bach...check out his Violin Partita #2 in D Minor. The 5th track of the work is the Chaconne (proper versions should be around 16 minutes), which is one of the greatest tracks in all of music. A definite 9.75/10 and possibly the most heart-stopping, beautiful music in history.

Obviously. Keep on doing what you're doing. Sounds like it's going well. I strongly suggest playing it on a sound system without headphones if possible--if you aren't already doing so. A Love Supreme tends to work best when it has space to breathe in, as opposed to headphones which can restrict the outward force and momentum of its sound to some degree.

I do listen to quite a lot of my music on headphones or on computer speakers, but whenever I'm alone in the house I like to put my iPod onto surround sound, and it's a totally different experience, for nearly all pieces of music, so I don't judge any (unless they're obviously bad) until I've heard it on there. And I do try to listen to music on them as much as I can, I've currently listened to Faust on them 3 times, Irrlicht twice & Rock Bottom 6. However, I haven't heard A Love Supreme on them yet, but no doubt will do soon.

I still listen to classical and always will. It is the premier music of the world. It will probably always possess the most supreme masterpieces and masterpieces than any other music. Beethoven has something like 10+ supreme masterpieces alone and is easily the greatest music artist in history. I started a classical list and will continue it when I am more complete with my rock/jazz one (in which there should be about 10-15 more albums gradually added [mostly jazz] in the near future so be ready!). Eventually I will probably join the rock/jazz with the classical one as well.

Please forgive me as I know close to nothing about classical music, so forgive me if I sound naive or ignorant when I ask, what about Mozart? What are your opinions on him?
Also, I've heard the 5th and 9th symphonies of Beethoven before, and liked them a lot, but I need to give them another good listen. I have Tchaikovsky's 6th ("Pathetique" I think it's called, correct me if I'm wrong) on the other computer and was very moved by it, I think I may very well move it onto this one. I think my parents have it on vinyl somewhere too, though I'm not sure. The other symphonies you've mentioned I regrettably haven't heard, though next time I get the chance I shall add them to my wishlist :).

Bach's Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor is astonishing and a precursor to Schulze's Irrlicht. Almost certainly the greatest solo organ track ever created and would rate a 9.5/10 (maybe 9.75) on my greatest songs/tracks list.

Agreed, I absolutely love that piece of music.

Also by Bach...check out his Violin Partita #2 in D Minor. The 5th track of the work is the Chaconne (proper versions should be around 16 minutes), which is one of the greatest tracks in all of music. A definite 9.75/10 and possibly the most heart-stopping, beautiful music in history.

I'll definitely get hold of that asap, thanks once again for your recommendations :)!

I do listen to quite a lot of my music on headphones or on computer speakers, but whenever I'm alone in the house I like to put my iPod onto surround sound, and it's a totally different experience, for nearly all pieces of music, so I don't judge any (unless they're obviously bad) until I've heard it on there. And I do try to listen to music on them as much as I can, I've currently listened to Faust on them 3 times, Irrlicht twice & Rock Bottom 6. However, I haven't heard A Love Supreme on them yet, but no doubt will do soon.

Sounds like you're set.

Please forgive me as I know close to nothing about classical music, so forgive me if I sound naive or ignorant when I ask, what about Mozart? What are your opinions on him?

I love Mozart. There are plenty of absolute masterpieces by him, Wagner & Bach, and others that I am not mentioning. Classical is loaded with hundreds of masterpieces and dozens of supreme masterpieces.

Symphony #41, perhaps Mozart's greatest work, is probably a mid to high 9.25/10.

His operas are supposed to be amazing, with a handful of masterworks in the genre but I've simply never gotten around to them.

Also, I've heard the 5th and 9th symphonies of Beethoven before, and liked them a lot, but I need to give them another good listen. I have Tchaikovsky's 6th ("Pathetique" I think it's called, correct me if I'm wrong) on the other computer and was very moved by it, I think I may very well move it onto this one. I think my parents have it on vinyl somewhere too, though I'm not sure. The other symphonies you've mentioned I regrettably haven't heard, though next time I get the chance I shall add them to my wishlist :).

It is also very important to have the best or at least one of the best performances of the works, especially complex pieces like symphonies. I strongly suggest the Penguin Guide which should be easy to find where you live. Here in the US and over the last few years copies of the main editions are increasingly difficult to come by.

Also by Bach...check out his Violin Partita #2 in D Minor. The 5th track of the work is the Chaconne (proper versions should be around 16 minutes), which is one of the greatest tracks in all of music. A definite 9.75/10 and possibly the most heart-stopping, beautiful music in history.

I'll definitely get hold of that asap, thanks once again for your recommendations :)!

You're welcome!

When I mentioned "so many negatives" I was of course referring to being English not to Rock Bottom's standard. Sorry if you already realised this was just trying to clarify.

Yep, I understand

Got hold of Partita No.2 in D minor for Violin Solo - Ciaccona By Bach, and what can I say? It's amazing. Thanks to you I keep finding songs and albums which just blow me away! It's definitely at least a 9.5/10.
I also got hold of Symphony No.5 by Beethoven (Just as great as I remember it to be), and a number of his other sonata pieces for the piano.
What would you say the most difficult classical piece is (of the ones you know, and difficulty in terms of difficulty to appreciate and truly like the piece)?

Both those works are incredible!

For some tougher ones I would delve into Stravinsky. I haven't advanced much past the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods so I am actually not the best one to ask. Lukeprog would probably have a better idea of the more challenging ones, since these are usually more modern, following the advent of "noise" over melody. Luke is much more familiar with modern classical than I. Also, you should go to Scaruffi's site and check under his listings of "avant-garde". You will find plenty of challenging stuff in there. Pretty much any classical work from the last 40 years that is inventive is likely to present a fairly significant challenge.

Mahler's 9th is incredible and about an hour and a half long. It is one of the greatest symphonies but also presents pretty significant challenges. It boasts extraordinary expansion of content/structural depth.

Two albums on my "rock/jazz" list that are pretty difficult, and could easily be considered classical are Dolmen Music by Meredith Monk and The Ascension by Glenn Branca. Infact, Dolmen Music is actually classical (technically "avant-garde opera") but I've so far decided to include it on my list simply because it is far from traditional classical and I love it too much to remove it. It has one of the most astonishing vocal performances on record (Biography, #4, not to mention the other four tracks. The Ascension is one of the most startling, overwhelming and forceful albums ever made.

Just out of interest AfterHours, do you play an instrument?
Also, thanks for all your advice above, I'll look into it with more detail in time, life is hectic atm, so will as soon as I can.

I'm not an expert in any instrument, but I am pretty natural at the piano, and I am a solid drummer (though my bass drumming isn't that great), and I am an amateur guitarist who doesn't practice enough to get any better. You?

I drum too, and I did french horn for about four years, got quite good too. I dabbled in the guitar but it wasn't really for me, I'm thinking about taking up the piano, as its quite universal to all music.

That's cool. Piano is something I've always loved and I recommend it.

Hi there AfterHours! I just finished reading a discussion of yours with Lukeprog & Bertie about musical aesthetics, which I found very interesting (: Any luck with any of the electronic albums I suggested to you? Also, I know that Scaruffi likes the IDM/Ambient artist Autechre, and was wondering your opinion on them?

Hey! That was an interesting (and exhausting) discussion. Amazingly enough, to my knowledge I've never listened to Autechere, though I certainly plan to.

I recently started looking for the Spicelab album (#2 on your list) and will be ordering the ones both you and Merlin suggested soon (I'm going to be ordering one or 2 of them in the next few days along with some others I've been looking for. Then I'll order some more later on). I did finally listen to Music For Airports and thought it was superb. I don't know when I'll have these others--it usually takes about 3 weeks, but you'll catch them on the "new albums acquired" from my "Top 10 Albums of the Week" once they arrive and I'll definitely let you know how I feel about them. I am especially interested in the Binary Universe and Spicelab albums.

Any luck with the albums from my list lately? Any questions/comments?

Ahh, I think you will like Spicelab (particularly track 1 - it's this gorgeous ambient piece), it's very spacey. I must admit that for me Binary Universe has gone down in my opinions, it hasn't really stood up to relistens. I still admit that it is a good album, and you may very well love it, but for me it just doesn't do anything special. I admit that it is certainly unique, and a combination of glitch and ambient in that way hasn't really tried before, but I don't think that it has been executed as well as it could have been. Glad you like Music For Airports, did you find that 1/1 was superior to the rest of the album? I feel they're all good too, but 1/1 is just the jewel in the crown, so to speak.

Well, TMR has grown on me...after about a dozen listens now, though it's not currently a favourite, I can see it growing more so. I am downloading Twin Infinitives currently, so I shall see how that goes, I have high hopes for it! On a classical note, I downloaded about ten pieces (sonatas and some of the symphonies) by Beethoven, and loved them all thoroughly. I particularly enjoyed;

Sonata no 17 in D Minor
Sonata no 13 in E Flat Major
Symphony no 9
Symphony no 5
And of course...The "Moonlight" sonata.

I simply cannot comprehend how he made some of his greatest works while being deaf! It's astonishing.
Oh, and regarding Autechre, I recommend if you are choosing an album by them to choose Amber, it's this IDM/Ambient masterpiece they released back in 94'.

Ahh, I think you will like Spicelab (particularly track 1 - it's this gorgeous ambient piece), it's very spacey.

I look forward to it.

I must admit that for me Binary Universe has gone down in my opinions, it hasn't really stood up to relistens. I still admit that it is a good album, and you may very well love it, but for me it just doesn't do anything special. I admit that it is certainly unique, and a combination of glitch and ambient in that way hasn't really tried before, but I don't think that it has been executed as well as it could have been.

I'm curious to see how much I end up liking it. It sounds pretty fascinating so I'll see...

Glad you like Music For Airports, did you find that 1/1 was superior to the rest of the album? I feel they're all good too, but 1/1 is just the jewel in the crown, so to speak.

A very difficult choice. 1st, 2nd and 3rd tracks are a gradual buildup and then the 4th track changes gears a little, but really, each of them have virtually equal emotional significance for me. It's very hard to choose. I'd probably say the 3rd track (2/1) off the top of my head, but it could be any of them on any given listen. All in all a hugely important, superb album. It was probably quite startling in its time, especially as it landed right in the middle of the punk/new wave movements.

Well, TMR has grown on me...after about a dozen listens now, though it's not currently a favourite, I can see it growing more so. I am downloading Twin Infinitives currently, so I shall see how that goes, I have high hopes for it!

Good luck. Twin Infinitives is one of the most astonishing albums ever made, but more often than not it is only astonishing (especially on a 9.25 level) to those with considerable experience in avant-garde and free jazz (since this is fundamentally/structurally what it is anyway). So just know that no matter how it seems to you when you hear it, even if you only think marginally of it or even hate it, you can always thoroughly go through the list and revive it from the dead by the time you "arrive" at it. I fell deeply in love with it on my very first listen but that was only because I had thoroughly 'conquered' virtually every album currently on the list beforehand.

On a classical note, I downloaded about ten pieces (sonatas and some of the symphonies) by Beethoven, and loved them all thoroughly. I particularly enjoyed;

Sonata no 17 in D Minor
Sonata no 13 in E Flat Major
Symphony no 9
Symphony no 5
And of course...The "Moonlight" sonata.

I simply cannot comprehend how he made some of his greatest works while being deaf! It's astonishing.

I know...WTF!?

Oh, and regarding Autechre, I recommend if you are choosing an album by them to choose Amber, it's this IDM/Ambient masterpiece they released back in 94'.

Thanks

Alas, still no luck regarding Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives, as it is still downloading! However, I am still keen to get as many as possible off this list, and my next album to get is Not Available-Residents, which I look forward to greatly (:
Managed to get hold of any of those electronic albums other than Music For Airports so far?
If you're having trouble getting hold of them, I recommend using SoulSeek.

Alas, still no luck regarding Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives, as it is still downloading! However, I am still keen to get as many as possible off this list, and my next album to get is Not Available-Residents, which I look forward to greatly (:

Well then, I'm interested to read your reaction to it. It's quite out there, but once 'gotten' becomes immensely powerful, clearly a work of staggering genius.

Managed to get hold of any of those electronic albums other than Music For Airports so far?
If you're having trouble getting hold of them, I recommend using SoulSeek.

Not yet. They'll be here in the not-too-distant future (sometimes it takes as much as a month).

A Day on Our Planet was cancelled, so I'm going to have to get it by other means. Perhaps soulseek. Can it be received legally via soulseek (I never use the program so I am not aware if it is legal or not)?

This Binary Universe is still on the way.

Hmm, I'm not sure is SoulSeek is legal, but it's certainly the best way of getting hard-to-find music. (: Glad to hear you're still wanting to get them!

thanks, I'll look into it

Out of curiosity, have you ever heard the Japanese band Boredoms? In particular, the album Pop Tatari. I would have to give it something like 9 or 9.5/10 (it's veeeery abrasive) on the challenge rating, it's pretty expressive (although not very subtle) and there's enough music in there for 4 or 5 full-lengths. Sounds up your alley ;)

Thanks. I've heard of them, but I've never listened to them. They do seem like an interesting band though. If I can find Pop Tatari easily and at no cost (meaning through the library), I will check it out. Currently I have a ton of albums on order, and more still to do, but I will get this one in the not-too-distant future along with the Neu album you recommended to me awhile back.

Yeah, what he said. Pop Tatari is damn near a religious experience if you've not heard Boredoms before. What's even more amazing is that it was a major-label release.

Cool. I just took a look at what Piero Scaruffi says about it (hardly anything at all in English) and he compared it to Frank Zappa. Now, I find Zappa's Uncle Meat to be among the most incredible albums in music history. How does Pop Tatari hold up to the astonishing, delusional stream of conscious and multi-faceted expansion of this work, in your opinion?

He also compares them to the Residents. Not Available by the Residents is one of the most incredible albums ever in my opinion. How does Pop Tatari compare to its delusional fantastical wonderland, its soaring cosmic opera, childish clumsiness and demented emotional mania?

Anyone who's heard both or all 3, please feel free to chime in.

The Boredoms are pretty fun. They write demented carnivals of multilayered noise. They're probably one of the top bands of the 90s, and surprisingly, continued making good stuff into the 2000s. See also OOIOO.

But they haven't revolutionized music like the Residents or Frank Zappa.

Thanks Luke. I appreciate it. Do you think I would like Pop Tatari a lot because of my love for Uncle Meat and Not Available?

When I think of The Boredoms, I think of Sonic Youth before Zappa and Residents. You will like Pop Tatari, but there's no particular reason to start there. Soul Discharge, Super Are, and Vision Creation Newsun are just as good.

Thanks, I'll check out Pop Tatari and take it from there.

It's been a long time since I've heard Uncle Meat (although I remember it's pretty good) and never heard of the residents but looking at some of the things you described..."delusional stream of conscious" and "demented emotional mania"...those are certainly adjectives I'd use to describe it. Early Boredoms material is some of the most intense music I've ever heard. It would be hard to top it.

Luke is right, Super AE and Vision Creation Newsun are 'just as good', although quite honestly they are hard to compare. Early Boredoms was very manic, intense, unstable, and listener-unfriendly. Later Boredoms was a lot more rhythm-based (sounding a lot like krautrock in some areas) and way easier on the ears. To be honest I feel like VCN is their best album, but I recommended Pop Tatari because it's their most difficult and I think you're up for the challenge ;) If what you care about is raw emotion above all else I think this is the best one to get, but VCN and Super AE are pretty great albums too and it's not surprising they made so many "best of the 90's" lists.

Sounds impressive. I appreciate your input and help on this. I'll give Pop Tatari a look and go from there, depending on how much I enjoy it. Thanks.

As a point of interest (probably only for myself), I just discovered that I've only been listening to these albums since late Feb-March 2006. And I "finished" (it's never truly finished) the list early this year (with very few exceptions, and of course not counting any new additions since then). I thought it had been at least 2 years...

So, based on this previously unrealized info, the list CAN be done in under a year, if one is very dedicated, and a little crazy...

I removed 7 albums from 9.0 range. There's so much volatility with the selections right now I've decided to temporarily archive my "Greatest Albums of All Time (Rated)" & "Reviewed" lists. With all the changes occurring it is somewhat of a nightmare to keep those two and this list all updated. I'll bring them back once I've achieved more certainty on the 9.0's.

Basically what is occurring is that I am listening to the 9.0/10's more and more, as well as an increasing number of listens and albums in the 8.25-8.75 range and the combination of these listens and albums is making some albums appear less impressive, relatively speaking. Albums such as "Geek the Girl" and "Pithecanthropus Erectus" have currently fallen off, but I'd expect those to make it back on at some point in the future simply because, logically speaking they appear to be of masterpiece quality and profundity, but I think I am currently about an echelon short of fully "getting" them.

Expect lots of changes in the coming weeks as I am acquiring more and more of Scaruffi's "greatest jazz albums". Once I get a more certain list together I will repost the two "Greatest Albums" lists separately. Until then, all changes will go here, as well as on the decade lists.

Just a couple of things,

1) Are there any albums that you really enjoy listening to, but might not be something that you would give a 7.5. So something that lacks all of the things you look for in a good album, but you still really like.

2) Do you still appreciate and enjoy things like a funky bass line or a killer riff?

2) Will you be branching out to more electronic stuff soon, like Northern Exposure or A Day on Our Planet?

1) Are there any albums that you really enjoy listening to, but might not be something that you would give a 7.5. So something that lacks all of the things you look for in a good album, but you still really like.

No, not really. Simply because the factors I look for are what make an album enjoyable for me.

2) Do you still appreciate and enjoy things like a funky bass line or a killer riff?

Anything that is emotional. The "killer" riff must be emotional. I don't find Van Halen or AC/DC too emotional, despite their "killer" riffs. I find Hendrix very emotional. He is the perfect example of a musician who played his instrument with emotion, he didn't display amazing technique for technique alone. He played with emotion, and in order to display that emotion he incorporated a wide and impressive technical skill, but the emotion was the purpose for what he was doing, it wasn't sacrificed.

2) Will you be branching out to more electronic stuff soon, like Northern Exposure or A Day on Our Planet?

I am a pretty busy guy, and I can only listen to so much in such and such time, but I will eventually get around to many of those albums. I am especially interested in the Spicelab one. I will hear the Northern Exposure one as well, but my priority lies in acquiring albums highly rated by Piero Scaruffi, simply because he and I tend to agree about 95% of the time.

Thanks for the reply.

I understand 1) & 2), and with 3), I was quite surprised to find that Scaruffi hadn't heard/reviewed either album.

I believe he's heard them, but they're only in Italian--no translation or transfer to the English side of things yet.

A search of Northern Exposure and Digweed brings up nothing, and the same of Astral Projection, a well known Goa artist. I don't think he's heard it, which is fair enough considering it's rarity and expense, and the fact it is not well known out of trance circles.

They may be in his Italian history of rock, which is what I was referring to above.

http://www.scaruffi.com/vol6/chapters.html

Whether it is or not, it doesn't really matter much to me, as the Italian history of rock is both unreadable (for me) and doesn't offer ratings, so I have no clue what he thinks of the albums he profiles there.

Can you tell me what type of music Spiderland is? Like comparable to what other bands/albums? The cover is very intriguing. Thanks.

First off, it is an incredible album. One of the most suspenseful, hyperrealistic and intense in all of rock. It's combination of sudden, violent, climaxing rock and the suspense found in The End by The Doors or Frankie Teardrop by Suicide, but more controlled and less surreal.

Here's a review I wrote on it over a year ago (slightly revised) which should do the trick.

"With Spiderland, Slint combined deliberate, jazzy rhythms and pacing with sudden, harsh climaxes to create an atmosphere of desperation and unnerving suspense. As they gradually progress from cathartic, ferociously hard rock to more spacious, deep-seated and haunting ponderings, the tone becomes bleaker and darker. Spiderland effortlessly morphs into a lived-in experience, a fully-fledged suspense/horror film hopelessly lost in its hushed poetry readings and brooding, nocturnal soundscapes, eventually leading to a shockingly real and overwhelmingly tragic conclusion."

If you pick it up, I highly recommend putting it on your CD player and turning off the lights, turning the volume way up alone in the dark, and letting it go. The recording was originally only intended for vinyl so it comes through a bit quieter on CD...if you turn it up it will be fine, it will just have to be a few notches louder than your average CD.

Should be an extraordinarily powerful experience that you won't soon forget.

Thanks. It looks like Spiderland and Francis the Mute are the next two CDs to buy.

Great! Whether you end up agreeing with me or not I'd be interested to know what you think of each once you hear them!

Cheers. Before that though, I've got The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and Primal Scream's Screamedelica coming in. Any thoughts on those?

I enjoy Screamadelica. It's somewhere between mid-to-late 60's Rolling Stones and a dance album with infectious, strong beats...it's been a couple years since I heard it. I'd probably rate it 7.25/10. A very good album. A dance music fan's acid house dream.

I believe I've heard the Orb album years ago while driving with a friend, but really have no idea what I'd rate it. I am pretty sure I liked it though.

The Orb album is especially good because it's a very good proponent of "interesting ambient", as it can be listened to when relaxing as well as when you want something more upbeat and interesting as well.

Hmmmm...sounds like I should give it a listen again sometime down the line here. Thanks

Heard any Negativland, The Gerogerigegege, or Venetian Snares?

Nope. How recommendable are they compared to what's on here?

The Gerogerigegege are that Christian rock band, right?

The Gerogerigegege is a harsh experimental noise band, Negativland is a sound-collage artist, and Venetian Snares (to me) is completely unlistenable and annoying, but I figured they would at least slightly interest you

It is of little interest to me how "unlistenable" or "harsh" something is. There is much more unlistenable and harsh music that is awful then there is that is great. What interests me is how profoundly emotional, how powerful they are. How would you rate these artists in that category?

btw, I was well aware that The Gerogerigegege was about as far away as possible from Christian Rock.

Thanks for the recommendations. Any others while you're at it? Are you familiar with many of the albums on this list? Which are your favorites?

Just aqquired VU & Nico, and I'm really liking what I'm hearing so far. Which are your favourite tracks off the album?

1. Heroin, #7
2. European Son, #11
3. Venus in Furs, #4
4. All Tomorrow's Parties, #6

Perhaps more than any other album aside from the 9.5's, VU & Nico appears increasingly profound and impressive to me the more I delve into the worlds greatest albums. It is amazing how singular it stands while also being so influential--how un-duplicated it still is while inspiring so many.

It's amazing. Breathtaking, thankyou once again for introducing me to these albums, it's masterful.

I am so pleased at how you're fairing with it! Especially since VU & Nico is one of the major touchstones for a majority of the albums on the list, and much of experimental rock in general. In other words, it is one of the "keys" to 'getting' the rest of the albums on the list. Any others in particular you're thinking about trying out soon?

Since you're loving VU & Nico, I think a great choice would be her solo masterpiece Desertshore. It is extraordinary, one of the most otherworldly and profoundly devastating albums in history.

Venus In Furs has to be in the top five songs I've ever heard, it truly is profound. I'm currently searching for Desertshore, will get back to you when I have aqquired and listened to it.

Great! Shouldn't be too difficult to find, as it was recently re-released, remastered in a dual packaging with her amazing album The Marble Index.

I know this applies to practically all the albums on my list but it is very key to listen to Desertshore on a great system. Good headphones are especially effective as well (really one of the greatest "headphones" albums of all time).

A weak system will significantly lessen its emotional impact, particularly more so than with many other albums because the sound of Desertshore is so clean, spare and majestic.

I got Slint's Spiderland today, and it is great.

The thing that appeals to me about it is the mystery. Everything, from one of the greatest covers ever, to the sparse liner notes, to the brooding songs, is mysterious and wonderful.

Is Tweez worth getting?

Try not to say too much to me about brilliance of Spiderland right now (I'm half-joking, say all you want). I let a friend borrow it months ago and he still has yet to return it. I miss it dearly...

I find it hard to be away from any album 9.0/10+ for much longer than a couple weeks because I tend to cycle through most or all of the entire list within every 2-3 weeks or so, depending on how many new albums I get ahold of during those spans.

I agree with what you've said about Spiderland. Truly one of the most astonishing and gripping albums of the 90's and all time.

Don't know about Tweez. An ex-girlfriend of mine once purchased it and didn't think much of it, even though she loved Spiderland. But I've never heard it. Scaruffi gives it a 7/10 which means it is very recommendable, though according to scale still a far cry from a masterpiece on the level of a 9/10 like Spiderland.

That's why I never let anyone borrow CDs. I just burn them a copy. It is probably technically theft, but it's far more convenient, and I've lost a lot through borrowing.

I went and used the last of my current CD money to by U.F.Off by the Orb. I might just download Tweez to see if I like it.

Yea, I am a bit too generous in letting others borrow my CD's sometimes, but this is a friend I've known for 16 yrs so I know he'll return it. He just keeps forgetting.

I went and used the last of my current CD money to by U.F.Off by the Orb. I might just download Tweez to see if I like it.

Cool, let me know what you think.

U.F.Off is a best of, but it is different, as each of the songs is either a remix or an edit.

Just a quick question, is Francis the Mute similar to De-loused in the Comatorium? Is it less acessible?

I think it may be slightly less accessible since the vocals follow less straightforward melodic lines--they're shouted (not much "singing") sort of like early Fugazi. But really, anyone who likes Deloused in the Comatorium shouldn't have any trouble with Frances the Mute.

Here's what Scaruffi says:

"Perhaps the only hard-rock band to be truly unique (and sonically transgressive) in 2005, Mars Volta, having incorporated bassist Juan Alderete, delivered Frances The Mute (Universal, 2005), an album that matched and surpassed the art-pomp of its predecessor. With their first album Mars Volta had tried to balance the urge to exhibit their astronomical technical skills with the desire to be actually understood by the audience. On the second album they largely ignored the audience. The songs are (much) longer and a lot less melodic. They rely on cryptic, neurotic, elongated structures. They do more than just "deconstruct" known archetypes and genres. The endings, in particular, often sound like philosophical treatises.
The intricate, non-linear art of the first album is bent to more spectacular ends. Each piece is a cascade of complex but incoherent fragments that generates a brutally disjointed but viscerally effective stream of consciousness, Each of the five tracks is basically an album in itself, made of several sub-tracks that often collide with their neighbors instead of segueing smoothly from and into them.
Furthermore, Theodore's drumming, Rodriguez's guitar, and Bixler's vocals seem to embody all the technical progress of the last two decades, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Phish, from Korn to System Of A Down, as if progressive-rock (reincarnated in Mars Volta) was attempting to catch up with all relevant styles developed after its heyday.
The dizzying experience of dissecting these colossal tracks is enough to swallow much of the recent history of rock music like a black hole in waiting."

Sounds intense. Cheers

And btw, you have Spiderland in the 6.0 category and 9.0 category. Which is it?