The second album from sound-adventurers Laki Mera was released at the start of the month and is a brilliant fusion of technology, nature and emotion.
Turn All Music to White Noise mixes minimilist electronics with subtle strings and the warmth of Laura Donnelly.
It’s frugal with the bleeps while being an ethereal collection, taking influences from the likes of Sterolab and Mum.
Here, Andrea, Laura and Keir talk us through the albums that mean a lot to them with their list of Top 10 albums (in no particular order).
Portico Quartet – Isla
Andrea: I was absolutely blown away by their performance in Glasgow after their Mercury Prize award. After that gig I’ve been listening to their album Isla over and over and found it thoroughly amazing and inspirational.
Most of the harmonic arrangements are built around the hang drum, a beautiful percussion instrument that is played on this album in the style of a vibraphone, with 4 mallets.
With its simple instrumentation this record contains some of the most refined and beautiful arrangements I have ever heard, taking the listener through a deep inner journey made of lush build-ups and mesmerising break-downs.
Philip Glass – Glassworks
Andrea: I was introduced to Philip Glass in the recent years and found Glassworks to be one of the most rhythmically interesting albums of all times. With its innovative idea of having an ensemble play what to my ears sounds like obvious electronic arrangements.
Philip Glass creates some amazing textures with intricately overlapping melodies and arpeggios. It can get a bit manic at times but that is part of the beauty of it!
Patsy Reid – Bridging The Gap
Andrea: Patsy Reid is mostly a Scottish Folk musician who, with this record, aims to bridge the gap between Scottish Folk and classical music. She mastered her objective with a live recording of the Celtic Connections performance of her New Voices piece.
With a string ensemble backed by a full band this record is a journey through constantly shifting arrangements that lead you to appreciate how the two genres relate…and how sometimes they greatly differ.
Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters
Andrea: What a record!… I’ll never get tired of listening to the Head Hunters!.. Beautifully recorded, amazingly funky but yet extremely relaxed! Very out there in terms of synthesiser sounds, I’ve always loved Herbie Hancock’s pioneering approach towards new technology.
Keir: First discovered this when I was at school, my music teacher recommended it to me and it’s never got old. Seriously amazing playing from all the band members and some of the best funk synth solos you’ll ever hear.
A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Keir: Again this is one of the albums I bought when I was young, it’s always sounded fresh to me, has a beautifully laid back feel and some brilliant lyrics.
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 2
Keir: I love this album because it scares me!
Apparently Aphex Twin is a lucid dreamer and would write music inspired by what he created or heard in his dreams, certainly explains the weird feel to the album and how the music sucks you into a relentlessly repetitive nightmarish land!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
Laura: I’ve always had a vague notion of who Nick Cave is but only properly discovered him with the release of his latest album. I totally fell in love with it and found watching their ‘making of’ video totally fascinating. The mood and the sounds and the quality of the recording totally struck me, even despite some slightly weird lyrics!
We employ a lot of looping techniques for both recording and live performance and I love how they’ve used guitar loops on this record. Sometimes they shift totally out of time with Nick Cave appearing to sing in his own rhythm over the top and the drummer altering tempo to get back in sync with the loop. For some reason, though, it just totally works. And then there are the slidey strings…mmm.
Feist – Metals
Laura: Fantastic songs, organically recorded, beautiful strings and vocal harmonies. This album is just absolutely right up my street. Love Feist’s live set too with Mountain Man as backing singers – a magic combination.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Laura: I just had to put this in. Whether it’s cool or not, it’s been a major musical influence for me!
One of the best drunken, sing-a-long albums ever with the opening drum fill on Dreams being the highlight! Brum-pum-pum-pum-tssssh… I’ve always been one for vocal harmonies and this album probably has quite a lot to do with that.
Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night
Laura: The first Stereolab tune I became aware of was the last one on this album ‘Come and Play in the Milky Night’. It was one of those ‘stop in your tracks’ moments. I’d never heard anything like it.
A combination of jazzy drums and bass guitar with crazy analogue synth sounds and a distinct French feel. This was the first album that made me realise how much I liked the sound of drums and strings together like on the end of ‘The Emergency Kisses’.
Laki Mera play the Black Cab Sessions at Notting Hill Arts Club, London on Thursday 25 July. Get all the information on the Facebook page.
Turn All Music to White Noise is out now on Just Music. Watch their video for Sweet Warm Dance: