Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s a whole bunch of dumb recommendations for departing style director, Chioma Nnadi. Read Schnipper’s thoughts after the jump.
Because she’s a sweetheart, sometimes Chioma Nnadi takes me to fashion shows. A couple of years ago, as I’ve written about before, we went to a Patrick Ervell show and the pretty boy models in rust print suits walked to Philip Glass’ “Vessels,” a piece from the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack. I fished this out of a box set I’d been given and gave Chioma the CD to burn. She started listening to this constantly. From across the office you could hear her zoning with modern classical angel chants on headphones. It’s one thing for some nerd at a music magazine to submerse himself in Philip Glass, it’s another for a serious fox who runs the style section. Chioma’s a complex woman. I’ve been lucky enough to recommend her jams for the three years we’ve worked together—from Girls and Grizzly Bear to Balinese gamelan and mellow Swedish house. An eager and open listener, I’ll miss sharing music with her. Yesterday Chioma told me the shit she has learned from me is basically that she loves Jewish shit and that’s what she said jokes. Not a bad legacy. Going to try to add a little extra quality to the end of that with a couple more recommendations for you to listen to at Vogue. Good luck!
Pablo Casals Plays Bach’s Cello Suites
Chioma used to play cello but gave it up for a love of writing and clothes. Also it’s big and a pain in the ass to bring on an airplane from her native not America to her now awesome home in New York. We were eating lunch in the park last week and someone was practicing cello and she slumped down and said “Look a cello!” like someone would say “Look a puppy!” I think she was pretty good, so maybe she has played these Bach cello suites. I know pretty much zip about Bach, but at some point I heard Pablo Casals’ very famous recordings of his cello suites and melted because I am a sensitive loser. Like Chioma! Good for wintertime or making out with someone with a liberal arts degree from an Ivy League school from prior to 1980.
Lijadu Sisters, Sunshine
Chioma is Nigerian and she loves color. Two birds/one stone. Lijadu Sisters were twins from Nigeria who mad something between funk, soul and weird post-punk. They generally sang the same thing the same way at the same time, which make them sound completely creepy and totally, totally bootleg. Sunshine is the most rundown of their albums, heavy on the gimpy disco keys. Though they were in Lagos during the highpoint for afrobeat, much of their music sound just as indebted to Jamaican rocksteady. Afrobeat had such a thick focus on big drums and horns and Sunshine sounds more fascinated with guitar solos and whatever synth setting Wings had on their new song. They are a prism with which to filter out garbage because this shit is so weird nothing else is going to seem cool. Also look at these photos of them. Hello awesome.
Steve Reich, Tehellim
Thought I should touch on the Jewish stuff. Chioma, this will work for when you wear out that Philip Glass shit. Steve Reich is one of the most important composers of modern music blah blah etc. He’s not interested in that. He’s interested in wearing a drab hat and making complicated music that references Judaism and also brutally jams. Super famous for his extreme repetition, Tehillim is a piece that routinely moves forward and is without tiny bits of repeated notation, making it potentially calmer to listen to. It’s also a vocal piece, like “Vessel,” combining high breath instruments like oboe and flute with soprano vocalists. Is my brain totally fucking stupid if I think this might sound like pop music? Probably. But Chioma’s is too. She’s got a side bun and wears platform heels and all over print flower pants and polka dots shirts with squares for the dots. This is squares for dots music. In the spring.
Maximum Joy, “Stretch” 12-inch
British lady! Like you. “Silent Street” is the B-side and is definitely the track to check. Super mellow, that perfect intersection of dub and post-punk without some cheese fake reggae, just that touch of weeded bass. Let’s hear the rhythm of those dancing feet/ In with the motion of the heartbeat/ I can’t stand it here on quiet nights I don’t wanna hear these silent streets/ Let’s have the music all day long, let’s have the sound night/ Feel it merging with your lifeline/ I want to feel it all the time. Then she scats. Janine Rainforth was the perfect non-singer, lightly gorgeous voice but no impulse to shake it around, just like it glide out. I don’t know, this song is pretty you will like it.
The point is look I can ramble about this shit forever but Chioma’s pretty good at actually listening. She has good taste. Once she said she didn’t know much about much but she knew she had good taste. She was right.