Lovely Recordings Hosted by Oliver Butcher

I think it's time to throw some dance moves at this lovely recordings party! Not everything on this list is a party banger but my natural listening tendency is definitely towards music that infects the hips and makes you want to do a little shimmy on the dance floor, or just plain freak out!

Daft Punk: Alive 2007 (Virgin, 2007)
The list starts with a record I couldn't live without—Daft Punk's recording of their live set from 2007 is as perfect as dance music gets for me. I have been a fan ever since I heard the intoxicating beats of Da Funk in 1997, my equivalent of hearing Elvis or The Beatles. It sounded like nothing else and hooked me in. So 10 years later, when they went out on tour, I had to be there. I was fortunate enough to see them twice on this tour across 2006 and 2007. The mixture of music and lighting was something no one had combined so well before. By the time the 2007 set came around, they had added an encore, which included the most amazing crescendo, where their robot suits lit up in time with the music. I geeked out, thought my head was going to explode and had the most euphoric moment of my life.

Listening to this album always brings me out of any funk I may be in and quite often has me in tears of happiness. The music infects my whole body and I really feel like the beats are pumping around my body. It is a truly visceral experience.

The recording is rather compressed and it is not very audiophile but it will certainly give your system a good test and remind the neighbours you exist!

Available from Qobuz

Barbra Streisand: Guilty (Columbia, 1980)
This record also has me deep in memories but from a very different time. My music taste is predominantly the construct of my mother and this is one of the key propagators. Hearing this takes me back to my 8-year-old self, hearing it screeching out of overwhelmed speakers whilst my mum sings along at full voice.

I have recently got a very nice vinyl copy of this and even outside of sentimentality, it still stands up for me. That voice, those disco vibes. It's beautiful.

Available from Qobuz

Roisin Murphy: Overpowered (EMI, 2007)
Roisin Murphy is a glorious musical fruit loop, much like Bjork is, but with more of a mainstream pop sensibility. I bought this album when it came out, being enticed in by the title track that was being played on the radio. It was actually a few years later that I really fell in love with it—for some reason, when I revisited it, the later tracks really jumped out and grabbed me. Track 10, "Tell Everybody", in particular really sunk its hook into me and now serves as one of my demo tracks when auditioning system changes. The album is full of intelligent lyrics and poppy beats, making for a winning combination. Again, not much of an audiophile recording but it isn't as compressed as is common now.

Available from Qobuz

Bjork: Vespertine (One Little Indian, 2001)
Through the '90s I didn't think Bjork was for me. I was a child and she was just too weird. I knew a lot of people liked her though, so when a free sample CD was included with The Times newspaper to promote the Vespertine album, I thought I would give it a go. It was a revelation, given a proper amount of time to try and get on her wavelength, I was hooked. One of the stand out tracks was "Undo", which was taken from Vespertine. At the time, it was just the sumptuous strings that won me over but later, during a difficult first year at university, the lyrics also connected deeply. I would wallow on my bed and this music would indulge my mood.

The rest of the Vespertine album is as equally sumptuous and emotionally charged. It just feels gloriously indulgent, with the strings given just enough space to breath, compared to her recent releases that are too brutally crushed.

Available from Qobuz

Michael Jackson: Off The Wall (Epic/CBS, 1979)
Another album straight from my mothers collection. It may not have soared to the sales heights of Thriller but for me this is the much stronger album. I put this on recently and it just struck me how much it feels like the musicians are possessed by the groove! It feels like the music is just bursting out of them. I think my system does rhythm particularly well, and playing this, I just get taken over by the beat, it is perfect for a living room boogie!

Make sure you search out the original version, rather than the remastered and squashed later release.

Available from Qobuz

Metronomy: The English Riviera (Because, 2011)
From my selection, this is the record that best lives up to the Lovely Recordings name. It is just full of charm, capturing the best of that feeling that a perfect British summer day gives you (that one day each year!). There is a beautiful rhythm to the whole thing that keeps it bounding along and just makes me smile. A lovely recording.

Available from Qobuz

Lambchop: Nixon (Merge, 2000)
I was introduced to this album by my school maths teacher. He would play the radio in class and loved to pass on his love of music. He created a Minidisc of vinyl rips for me, which included the "Up With People" track. It is such a lush sound that it can't help but win you over. The whole album is an exercise in understated charm. Best absorbed for the first time when you are nice and relaxed, the laid back vocal and nifty guitar licks will take you to another place. One of the few albums from my list with an acceptable dynamic range, helping the music win you over.

Available from Tidal

Prince: Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1984)
I didn't get my first Prince album until after I left university (triggered by the TV advert for Ugly Betty!). Making up for lost time, I soon devoured his back catalogue. Purple Rain is my favourite of his albums, with every song hitting the mark. It is just so danceable, it always gets my hips popping. "Baby I'm a Star" is one of my reference tracks, I am so tuned in to the rhythm that bounds along at a great pace, that if a piece of equipment can't keep up with it, then I am not interested.

Available from Tidal

Nikki and the Dove: Instinct (Sub Pop, 2012)
This album is here because it reminds me of my first trip to Vancouver, to visit my long time best friend, who has emigrated there. I had it playing from my iPod into the stereo of his 1980 gold Fiat spider. We had the hood down and were heading back into the city at night, after a day at the lakes on a gorgeous summer day. This album just seemed to capture the mood perfectly. It is glorious modern Swedish pop, with more than a tinge of Prince influence.

Available from Qobuz

Nao: So Good (Little Tokyo Recordings, 2014)
As an EP this, strictly speaking this doesn't meet the Lovely Recordings criteria but as my LP version has 6 tracks on it, I reckon that it is close enough to an album length to count.

This is the newest release on my list and I had to share it, as I think Nao is a remarkable talent, who will be releasing her debut album this year. I first heard the opening track on the radio and it just jumped straight out at me, I had to know what it was and get it, an experience that rarely happens nowadays. Another very danceable record, full of intoxicating beats and remarkable vocals. Unfortunately it suffers from modern compression, which having seen her live, I can testify definitely robs her vocal performance of its full range.

Available from Qobuz

I am 33, a mechanical engineer and live in Bristol, UK. Cycling is my first love, but it is closely followed my music and dancing. I have built my hifi over the past 10 years from a collection of esoteric equipment, including a temperamental modified laser disc player, which doesn't always give you the track you want but when it does, makes it sound great. I have the whole thing in a very satisfying place but it is unfortunately held back by living in a block of flats and the restrictions that imposes on properly satisfying volumes.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

jky999's picture

Absolutely dig your picks. Many thanks.

5am here and grooving via headphone to your Daft Punk selection.

Lovely Recordings is such a great thing. It has exposed me to so much music that's new to me.

en1omb's picture

Thanks. That's good to hear. I wondered if I had managed to alienate everyone with my selections!