Essential Elsewhere

A selection of cornerstone albums to help you build an interesting collection of diverse Elsewhere  music. These essays will introduce albums which can lead you into whole threads of music, areas you might not have otherwise considered or enjoyed. Explore . . . and don't be afraid of going Elsewhere.

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Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (2008)

1 Apr 2024  |  1 min read  |  1

Chambers -- daughter of the very great singer-songwriter Bill -- is one of Australia's finest artists and for this album she teamed up with her husband Nicholson for their first album together. Oddly enough although they played together in their casual side-project The Lost Dogs covers band they hadn't previously written together -- yet the evidence on this album is that... > Read more

Sweetest Waste of Time

World Party: Goodbye Jumbo (1990)

25 Mar 2024  |  3 min read  |  2

By any measure, 1990 was a pretty good year in rock and pop: Sinead O'Connor announced herself with the single Nothing Compares 2 U and the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got; George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 delivered timeless music; and things toughened up in Seattle with Sub Pop signing Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden and Nirvana. Janet Jackson unleashed her... > Read more

Way Down Now

Shivkumar Sharma, Brijbushan Kabra, Hariprasad Chaurasia: Call of the Valley (1967)

11 Mar 2024  |  1 min read  |  2

When this beautiful, elegant tone poem of Indian classical music was reissued in 1995 on the EMI Hemisphere label (with three extra tracks), people like me with a long affection for Indian music could hardly believe our luck. It was one of those long-hard-to-find albums -- although it had been kept in print in India, where I'd bought a bad copy on cassette in then-Calcutta -- Call of the... > Read more

Rag Pahadi

Love: Forever Changes (1967)

1 Jan 2024  |  3 min read  |  2

When the British rock magazine Mojo published a special supplement on psychedelic rock back in February 2005, among the albums noted were all the usual suspects: Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix took out the top spot and further down were Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s and albums by the Mothers of Invention, Jefferson Airplane, Country... > Read more

Love: Andmoreagain

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

25 Dec 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

In the rush to acclaim Kraftwerk as electro-pioneers, it is often overlooked how they grew out of the German avant-garde/post-hippie prog-rock scene. As Organisation -- and on the first two Kraftwerk albums -- founders Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider (and others) engaged in long, almost free-form jams with Schneider playing flutes and bells. After their Ralf and Florian album however... > Read more

Kraftwerk: Showroom Dummies

Mink De Ville: Return to Magenta (1978)

25 Dec 2023  |  5 min read  |  4

The curious things about the life of Willy De Ville was not that he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in early August 2009, but that he had lived so long. He was 58 when he died -- but from the time he appeared on the post-punk New Wave scene in New York in the early Eighties he seemed to be destined for a short but bright flight. He was junkie, his first wife would pull a knife on rock... > Read more

Mink De Ville: Just Your Friends

Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble: Mnemosyne (1999)

18 Dec 2023  |  2 min read

When jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek teamed with the classical vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble for the warm yet glacial holy minimalism of Officium in 1994, not even ECM label boss Manfred Eicher - whose idea it was - could have predicted its crossover success. It became the banner album in ECM's already excellent 10-year-old label for contemporary classical recordings, ECM New... > Read more

Remember Me My Dear

The Master Musicians of Jajouka: Brian Jones presents The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka (1971)

4 Dec 2023  |  3 min read

Some albums have auspicious beginings and a messy legacy. So it is with this album recorded in Morocco in 1968 by Brian Jones, then of the Rolling Stones. By the time the album was released Jones had been dead a year -- he drowned a year after his trip to Morocco and was no longer a Stone -- and a shadow was cast over its mesmerising music. When it was reissued in '95 by Point Music it... > Read more

The Master Musicians of Jajouka: Take Me With You My Darling, Take Me With You

Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

20 Nov 2023  |  3 min read  |  4

For many decades I kept a clipping about Blue Cheer and this particular album inside the record cover, and of course when I went to look for it recently it was gone. But the gist of it was this: Blue Cheer were the loudest band in the whole history of ever, according to the writer, and when they recorded this monster in a North Hollywood studio they blew out all the speakers or the desk... > Read more

Summertime Blues

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

10 Sep 2023  |  4 min read  |  1

It was a tragic irony that Dennis Wilson, the only genuine surf-rat in the Beach Boys, should have drowned. But by 1983 when he died in the waters of Marina Del Rey, he was a spent force who had succumbed to alcohol, depression and cocaine -- and he'd only recorded one solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. That was also a tragedy because POB suggested that if anyone could have carried the... > Read more

Dennis Wilson: Friday Night

Various Artists, Tommy Boy Greatest Beats Vol 1. 1981-96

14 Aug 2023  |  3 min read  |  2

Hip-hop is such an integral part of music today that it is hard to believe radio stations once proudly announced "no crap, no rap". Half a century on -- with everyone from classical quartets, gospel legend Mavis Staples, singer Steve Earle and stadium-shakers U2 using scratching and samples -- the tools of hip-hop have crossed genres and styles. Middle-class... > Read more

Everything's Gonna Be All Right, by Naughty By Nature:

June Christy: Something Cool (1955)

10 Jul 2023  |  4 min read  |  1

Although for casual listeners the title of Miles Davis' 1957 album Birth of The Cool gave its name to the movement, it largely fell to others to define and refine the territory and sound of “cool jazz”. Notable players in this genre which turned down the energy of bebop in favour of a more gentle, laid back and quietly exploratory style were Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan,... > Read more

The Night We Called It A Day (mono 1954)

Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) and Evening Star (1975)

18 Jun 2023  |  4 min read

Context is everything -- or almost everything -- at Essential Elsewhere, these being albums you can return to repeatedly so probably stand outside of time, yet are always born of a specific place and time. Even if they owe nothing to it. And these two albums seem to owe very little to their period. Which is what makes them special. If some Essential Elsewhere albums epitomise their time... > Read more

Fripp and Eno: Evening Star (from the album Evening Star, 1975)

Max Romeo: War Ina Babylon (1976)

17 Mar 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

When Max Romeo's Holding Out My Love to You album was released in '81 it came with heavy patronage: Keith Richards was a Romeo fan and had produced some of the tracks . . . so there was a cover sticker proclaiming "Featuring Keith Richards -- Free Colour Poster of Keith and Mick Inside". Romeo had moved from Jamaica to New York a few years previous (he wrote and starred in a... > Read more

Max Romeo: Uptown Babies

Tom Waits: Orphans; Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (2006)

20 Feb 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

The American journalist Robert Wilonsky once observed of Tom Waits' music, either you like the sound of a barking dog, or you buy yourself a cat. Those of us who love and admire Waits' work live with the sound of the barking dog. Waits may have often made a beautiful noise, but it was a noise nonetheless. From a bohemian barfly poet with an affection for the Beat Generation, Frank... > Read more

Tom Waits: Road to Peace (from Brawlers)

Miklos Rozsa: The Lost Weekend (1945, soundtrack)

9 Jan 2023  |  2 min read

The Hungarian-born composer Miklos Rozsa -- who died in '95 -- has a rare accolade in his long career as a composer of film soundtracks: when his music for the Hitchcock film Spellbound won an Oscar, he beat out two other scores, both of which he had also written. Those two were the music for A Song to Remember (about Chopin) and The Lost Weekend (about an alcoholic). For both... > Read more

Bottle is Discovered

Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)

12 Dec 2022  |  4 min read

Once I was asked if I would contribute a page to a monthly magazine on famous musicians I had met. That part was easy, I've met quite a few. But then the person said they would like to run the article with some photographs of me with such stars. "You must have hundreds," he said. I had to disappoint him: I always saw my role as that of a journalist, not a fan there to get photos... > Read more

Ornette Coleman: Lonely Woman

Dr Feelgood, Stupidity (1976)

5 Dec 2022  |  3 min read  |  1

In his superb single Cry Tough of '76, the American singer-guitarist Nils Lofgren (a member of Springsteen's E Street Band since '84) namechecked the British pub-rock outfit Dr Feelgood, showing an awareness few other Americans had. Dr Feelgood, from Canvey Island near Southend, at that time had released three albums in the UK and made a serious live impact for their gritty and energetic... > Read more

Dr Feelgood: I'm a Hog for You Baby

Tony Scott: Music for Zen Meditation (1964)

28 Nov 2022  |  3 min read

Vangelis had a pointed comment about the vacuous New Age music which emerged in the late Seventies and reached epidemic proportions in the Eighties. He said it “gave the opportunity for untalented people to make very boring music”. Many people said much worse about it because this was music which was often mere sound designed not to be listened to but just to offer some... > Read more

A Quivering Leaf, Ask the Winds

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Way Down in the Rust Bucket (1990, released 2021)

7 Nov 2022  |  2 min read  |  3

Elsewhere readers will know we blow very hot and bitterly cold on Neil Young's output. So yet another album from his bottomless archive? Hmm. Let's be honest, there have been so many live and home-recorded albums just in the past few years pulled from dusty archives, most of which don't leave much of a lasting impression beyond their playing time. So when we are enthusiastic it is... > Read more

Over and Over