“It’s channelling Parliament/ Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Rufus, Prince, Arthur Russell… among others. A strange – but nonetheless real – meeting of funk and… me, from Audenshaw, Manchester,” says its creator, who played guitar, keyboards, cello, sang and used drum machines all on her lonesome.
You can hear what she means with those references straight away on listening to Hinterland; funky guitar licks abound on her singular brand of danceable post-punk, with the title track one of many highlights. It’s been years in the making, but every aspect of the album sounds like it’s been time well spent.
Herewith, Campbell has put together a selection of music – albums, EPs and genres – that have over time influenced her most, for LoneLady’s This Music Made Me…
Janet Jackson, Neneh Cherry, Michael Jackson, Bananarama, De La Soul, etc etc.
I was just a kid and of course had no idea of music at that point other that via the mainstream charts.
I used to get the albums on cassette and listen to them on my walkman while leaning against my bedroom wall and staring out of the window, singing along to every song over and over again.
It must have burned some brightly coloured neural pathway of pop in my brain as I’ve been adamant that a song (my songs that is) ought to be catchy, and that this is very important, and that a great pop song is a thing of beauty – and actually very hard to write. in terms of hooky-ness, movement and dynamics all distilled into a roughly three minute form.
Their first EP has an effervescent glee I love.
Peter Buck’s guitar playing was a major early influence on me; propulsive, intricate, super-deft picking. He made me incapable of strumming chords, and instead I started to pick out twining, intricate single lines instead. In Michael Stipe I found the perfect arty frontman. I loved the cryptic messages he’d scrawl on his clothes, and the grainy super8 montage feel to much of their sleeve art and videos.
I would pore over it all and try to work out the symbolism and poetic meanings encrypted in their songs. My first big obsession, undoubtedly.
When I was 18 I decided I wanted to learn the cello. I even tried to teach myself how to read music, (it didn’t work of course). When I did learn, courtesy the local music service, I felt amazed I had access to a new language.
I listened to Pablo Casals, Rostropovitch, Du Pre, Bach’s cello suites… in Casals’ biography he describes playing one single note for hours on end, without vibrato, trying out minute changes in tonality; this impressed me… so distilled. Though I hardly play cello any more, something of this distilled quality has, I think informed my songwriting.
The cello has become another tool to write musical ideas with, the results much different than writing with a guitar. On Hinterland a simple three note riff forms the core of the song, and instead of sounding ‘classical’, kinda sounds like a sample and pushes the song in an interesting direction.
Preston 28 February 1980 was the first JD record I bought, a strange starting point, but I found it violent and thrilling. For me JD’s music is inextricably part of the Mancunian landscape; it feels physically part of the brick, mortar and concrete of the city, as if you might hear their music occasionally echoing in the wind.
Conjuring an ambience of haunted buildings, shadows and restlessness, also somehow making me think of Audenshaw and childhood… I love Martin Hannet’s ability to create architectural space and spectral atmospheres.
I think the uncertainty underpinning New Order’s Movement adds to its uniqueness. The hybrid of scratchy guitars, vulnerable vocals and wonky synths is very appealing to me, and I listen far more to this era than their more polished later albums. 586, Everything’s Gone Green and Blue Monday are sublime songs/ singles.
It might be that 154 is my favourite Wire album, but Pink Flag is the first one I bought and I loved the energy of it.
Smart (but not smart-arsed) innovative art pop, they take an approach I love, that of combining experimental elements with catchy hooks, so songs often shoot off at tangents, stop abruptly or suddenly plummet into noise, or god knows what else.
Always surprising, always brilliant.
When I first heard Andy Gill’s guitar on this it practically sent me ricocheting off the walls.
I love how stern and abrupt it is, the interplay of eruptions of violence with starkness…the brutally lithe funk of the rhythm section.
An important record for me.
A genius album. Much of what is written about her is in a Velvet Underground context; but I feel she only becomes her true self, finds her own artistic voice, after VU, and this is where the really interesting stuff lies. I love the notion that at some point she acquired a harmonium and just taught herself to play it.
The results are austerely magical and compelling. The harmonium and Gregorian chant style vocal make it seem ancient yet it seems to stand apart from time. I love how Cale’s arrangements engulf the songs in a Seventh Seal-esque gothic psychedelia.
The alternate versions are Nico and her harmonium alone, the stark frame of the song exposed, and show just how great these songs are, and in some ways I prefer these versions uncluttered by Cale’s miasmas.
I started getting into CV around three years ago, gradually at first then obsessively..I think theirs is an innovative and brilliant body of work which is varied yet always sounds like them… from menacing collages of totalitarian fears/fantasies… to dance music with choruses + hooks… I could have chosen any album of theirs, but The Crackdown is I think a pleasing meeting of their grimy side with the more catchy/dance element.
I feel I recognise where this music comes from… a landscape of hard surfaces, aggression, concrete, a Northern climate… I love the idea of Western Works, their HQ/recording studio, keeping the creative control hermetic and in-house, an approach I prefer myself.
Their use of visuals is just as impressive… dynamic, super-8 kaleidoscopes of reportage, god knows what, and nightmares. I would love to have been at a CV gig; to be immersed in their sound and vision.
Tour dates and further information can be found here.