Musician and award-winning sound installation artist, Mira Calix gives us her favourite albums to listen to on headphones. We highly recommend you seek them out.
Mogwai – Young Team
This is their debut album. My favourite track is Tracy, you need a good pair of headphones to hear the mumbled revealing telephone conversation, that is the the band in meltdown.
Listen to – Tracy
Kaija Saariaho – Du Cristal…
This album contains a mixture of orchestral, vocal and solo works. Saariaho is a formidable composer, who explores frequency and harmonics in a unique way. Sept Papillons is a remarkable solo piece for cello, performed by Anssi Karttunen. Listening on headphones makes me feel like it’s a performance just for me. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.
Listen to – Sept Pappillons
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
This album is very particularly produced. It’s so rich with detail, it requires repeated listening. Great headphones allow you to experience the multiple guitar techniques, distortion and obscure vocals in their full glory.
Listen to – To Here Knows When
Stravinsky – Firebird & Petrushka – City of Birmingham Orchestra
Hearing the full frequency low hum of that seminal opening baseline creep up on you, it’s a headphone delight.
Listen to – Kaschei’s Enchanted Garden
Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children
An exquisitely produced electronic album rich in texture, dense chords and nostalgic melodies. It’s a classic that should not be missed.
Listen to – Pete Standing Alone
Radiohead – Kid A
Superb production. Great songs. Their first foray into skitterish beats. Nothing like sitting on the train, gazing out the windows, with this in your ears.
Listen to – Everything in it’s Right Place
Tod Dockstader – Luna Park
Hard to believe this was made in 1966. Dockstader’s day job was a sound effects engineer. This album is inventive and detailed, musique concrete at its best.
Listen to – Apocalypse
Ligeti – The Ligeti Project Vol 2
This an album of beautifully recorded works performed by the Berlin Philharmonic. Atmospheres opens with one of the largest cluster chords ever written. It’s impossible for all the hairs on your arms not to stand up to attention. An extraordinary, dense, micropolyphonic joy for headphones.
Listen to – Atmospheres
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Bavarian Fruit Bread
So light, delicate and intimate. You can hear every breath, and almost every sigh of this very personal album. It’s sparse, simple and superbly crafted. An album that really benefits from the intimacy of headphone listening.
Listen to – Feeling of Gaze
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
This is a new album for me, so i’m just getting to know it while I travel around with my headphones on. The lyrics are so provocative and eloquent, it’s a pleasure to really hear them.
Listen to – The Words that Maketh Murder