In Essential Albums our favourite artists dig up five records that they consider “Essential” by any definition they choose. This week, Stereolab co-leader and solo singer/songwriter Laetitia Sadier gives us five life-changing records from around the world.
For Laetitia Sadier, love and politics are basically indistinguishable. In her solo work, her collaborations or her most famous role, as co-leader of sophisti-pop artists Stereolab, her smooth blend of breathy space-lounge and radical Gang Of Four-style sloganeering is so distinctly French and so distinctly her that she's become a go-to guest vocalist for everyone from Montreal glam-star-in-waiting Jef Barbara to Atlas Sound to freakin' Tyler, The Creator. (I'd like to see the Stereolab/Odd Future venn diagram). If you want that cooing leisure-suit-at-a-protest magic, you gotta go to Laetitia.
Her new record, Something Shines, reshuffles her familiar elements - warm organs, playful vocals and rich horns - into a laid-back musical treatise on both the joys of living and the injustice of wealth distribution. Her Essential Albums picks, similarly, touch on beauty, healing, carnal pleasures and the sometimes crushing absurdity of existence. "Remember, the soul is in the body," she says. Read her globetrotting recommendations below.
Giorgio Tuma, In The Morning We'll Meet (2009)
Laetitia Sadier: This is one of my favorite albums of all time! Like all the best gems and things in this world you have to sit through quite a few introductory tracks and be prepared for the amazingness that is to come. Some of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard are on this very well-constructed album. It moves deeper into beauty as the tracks go along.
“An Enchanting Blue” did and still enchants me when I hear it. I am guaranteed a gorgeous flight when I hear “Oh Marc, Please Let Me Fly With My Lv,” “Old Kiss” is always sure to move me deeply. This record offers quite a few interstitial beauties too. It has horns, luscious harmonies and an easy, soothing creative production. This is a record to grow into one's sensitivity to and expand and stretch one's view of beauty to the limit. Definitely will heal you if you are hurting somewhere. This album is best remedy to heal and soothe the heart.
Momotte, Sex Contre Nouriture (2005)
Another favorite! It is completely original music done by French people in the early 2000s. When I heard their music for the first time and actually met them, it was like meeting my French family at last.
Sex Contre Nourriture is what some of the American soldiers have been known to offer as barter to the local people when they were "protecting" them from themselves in the '90s war in Iraq. This record isn't about that specific topic, it’s more of a piece of observation about what it is to be alive, to be in love, have no money and to be surrounded by absurdity. It’s a very poetic album with fantastic songwriting and great production. This will heal your capacity for being lucid if it gets too impaired by the ambient propaganda.
Cibo Matto, Viva! La Woman (1996)
Another life-changing record, another take on a reality that transformed my vision of music and in connection my reality forever. Indeed, Viva La Woman!
The music is divine, yes one could say in an "urban" fashion. It is so clever, so human, so full of heart and playfulness, yet so full of anger and desire to live. It's all there, surrealist poetry included. An album to grow into a woman to and celebrate that growth.
Jorge Ben, A Tabua De Esmeralda (1974)
If I had to choose record to be stuck on a desert island with, this would be the one. Not only would the album cover keep me happy whilst having something cryptic to look at, but the music itself has so much to offer that it would work for every occasion. If I was sad, I would play A Tabua De Esmaeralda and it would, for sure, make me feel happier. If I was happy, it would undoubtedly enhance that feeling. Should I want to dance it would accommodate that desire and make me move. If I would want to think, then it would create space in the room so that I can do that. If the dishes were dirty, it would make doing the chores a delight!
How can a handful of songs impart so many attributes? I still wonder. An album to truly heal the soul, and remember the soul is in the body...
Sam Prekop, Who's Your New Professor (2005)
This is an album that holds the record of having not one ounce of track filler. Each of the 12 songs hold onto each other and life's beautiful intensity to the next without weakness or inducing a desire to look elsewhere for a moment. It is totally captivating, pure beauty to my ears, a clarified joy to my heart. Yes, it is a true album to heal your aura.