PAUL JOHNSON



ancientandmodern.org


 
Sun Ra and his Intergalaxtic Arkestra – The Forest Of No Return  

This song has been played in the studio ever since I rented my first space. I found this record as a kid and it was my first introduction to Walt Disney. When I was young my family would move home every year or two, the way of grounding myself to a place was to skate around and also to go through the local library. My main aim was to look at every book in that particular town, city or village. The more books I got through or flicked through the longer we were staying in that particular place. In one library I came across a Sun Ra album in the 'Misc' section and thought it was a Walt Disney soundtrack LP. I listened to this album loads and looked at books on Disney films and thought they were one of the same thing. As I got older and watched my first Disney film I found myself disappointed to not hear the strange, rough, awkward, yet beautiful sound of the Arkestra. I still listen to this album and it always reminds me how when you get things really wrong, something great also happens.

 

Keith Jarrett – Part .1- Koln Concert

 

The work I make can take 6 months to a year to form itself, be made and then exhibited. This album and this song taught me how to become a patient, calm and thoughtful person in the studio. I've got the artist/curator David Waterworth to thank for introducing this to me around 2003, he thought it might help me get to sleep at night time. This album and first track always makes me think about how ideas are formed and then realised.

 
Terry Riley – In C  

Simple, strange and beautiful.

 

Sufjan Stevens – Age Of Adz

 

I love a bit of indie pop in the studio. This album and song was a bit of a soundtrack to a really full-on time conceiving, making and realising a full-scale paper mache temple, which had its first outing at Frieze in 2011. Cycling, making, constructing, learning, failing, recovering, succeeding... somehow... are in all these songs from this album. Also I loved the idea that Sufjan took on the artist 'Prophet Royal Robertson' and tired to create a 'symphony of the self' through the filter of Robertson's work.
In 2005 me, Tom Humphreys and Sam Basu put together, a labour of love project, at Tom's wonderful artist-run space Flaca, in the east end and we created a mini retrospective of Royal Robertson's work, so I naturally gravitated to his album when it was released. Happy Days!

 

The Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day

Over the years I've been gathering versions of this song, I have about 23 at the moment, some awful, some trying to hard, some over religious, some very 'Jesus' focused and also contemporary version such as Spiritualized and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 'Oh Deanna'.  I've always been interested in this song and particularly this Edwin Hawkins Singers version. There's something about the directness and the simplistic positive statement that I like. I am not a religious person, but there's something in this song that I would love to instill in the work I make. I love the fact you can hear the architecture and get a sense of space and place in this song too.

 
The Felice Brothers – Take This Bread  

I brought this album just before getting on a plane to Tokyo to do a solo show. This music was at complete odds with everything I saw in Japan. Also it reminds me of a tree, that was just one single thick branch (or stem) that had been trained and trimmed to go horizontal over a small lake in the countryside near Okayama. I thought I took a long time to make work, this was in some other league, this object / tree was made through generations not years. When I hear this song in the studio context it always reminds me that you need push work past what you think you know to start getting
somewhere.

 
Kelan Phillip Cohran & Legacy– White Nile  

One of Sun Ra's brothers! Found this in Peckham Library a few years ago, on the way to the studio and put it into my CD walkman whilst cycling and then forgot where I was and woke up in the studio making a radical change to a piece of work. This CD has been played so many times over the years it's starting to skip.

 
Marion Williams – I Shall Be Released  

I use to go from library to library in South East London and root through their Gospel sections to find new music... so much I borrowed was rubbish, but a few gems appeared. Marion Williams was one of them.

 
Masahiko Togashi – Song of Soil  

I can't really explain this... and that's why I like it.

 

Neil Young – Cripple Creek Ferry

 

I love this song so much. It's always played when I leave the studio after a good day. I always want this short song to continue and never end I've imagined numerous endings. This song drifts along and always makes me feel calm.

 




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