Lovely Recordings: Hosted by Aaron Garrett

I’ve picked some records that are currently the loveliest for me. And I’ve kept it to five because once it hits six it goes to twenty and then up.

Aphex Twin: Richard D. James Album (Warp Records, 1996)
His loveliest album. "Goon Gumpus" sounds like a prelude to a small town operetta performed by mechanical ducks in an alternate universe. "To Cure a Weakling Child" is like an auditory cubist painting joining together many acoustic spaces to make a mysterious object. And there’s also the usual wild rhythms and anarchist fun. Like Schoenberg said of Cage, Aphex is "an inventor—of genius".

Available from Bleep

Ricardo Villalobos: Fabric 36 (Fabric 2007)
A poem of pure sound. From the very beginning when record scratches morph into polyrhythms it is obvious that this is a masterpiece playing with sound and what sounds refer to on many registers. The section with a woman’s voice going on and on about pretty much nothing as powerful Koto drums come and go over bubbling polyrhythms is just amazing. And when she says "Koto drums" it all makes sense and then it ceases to make sense moments later. Maybe the greatest electronic album yet produced. Be warned it takes a few listens to accustom to his world.

Available from Bleep

DJ Koze: Amygdala (Pampa Records, 2013)
I must have listened to this album well over a hundred times and every time it seems like it’s new. I think this is because the sheer quantity of sound and the way it interconnects is hard to parse, a listener always finds something new due to the limits on how much they can input. Yet it feels like a wholly organic world. Tons of fun as well, fills my amygdala with delight every time I listen!

Available from Bleep

Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island Records, 1972)
I love minimalist recordings, but often the music is not up to the minimalism. Not here, obviously. A soul communicating through voice and acoustic guitar. Pure, heartbreaking, and perfect.

Available from HDtracks

Yusef Lateef: Eastern Sounds (Prestige Records, 1961)
This was a garage sale find for me that I wore the grooves out of listening to. Lateef’s ocarina on "Plum Blossom" is just about the loveliest sound I know. The cover of "Theme from Spartacus" is so delicate and beautiful and it makes up for the many lame jazz versions of popular songs. Great discussion of the record here on its 50th Anniversary.

Available from Acoustic Sounds.

Aaron Garrett is a historian of philosophy, who lives in Boston and spends much of his life listening to music, watching film, and thinking about them.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

BradleyP's picture

The last two are more to my liking, and I was not familiar with them. Pink Moon reminds be of a blend of between David Crosby, Gordon Lightfoot, and maybe Cat Stevens in the best possible way. (Gosh, there was some great album cover art in the 70s.) I'm not a guitarist at all, but does anyone know if the sound is the result of some alternate tuning?

garrettnecessary's picture
dbtom2's picture

Mr. Lavorgna,

This reader is thoroughly enjoying this Lovely Recordings series. I love discovering music this way. My Tidal subscription comes in handy too. It's always great to read what someone else thinks of a fav album.

Thank you.


Michael Lavorgna's picture
To my mind, music discovery is the heart of this hobby.

Cheers (send in yours ;-)

BradleyP's picture

Yes, music discovery is at the heart of this hobby, or else it turns into a ridiculous fetish as it is sometimes wont to do. Keep the Lovely Recordings coming!

Ejlif's picture

Good eclectic mix. I know ML has shown to have a taste in music that is like my own and now another. Great!