" 1. Concrete Jungle by Bob Marley & The Wailers 0:00-0:10. The start just teases you like all the instruments are holding back because they know they are all about to unleash an absolute eargasm. This song is actually one of my tools for coping with depression as it always shifts my mood.
2. Stomp by Brothers Johnson. There’s actually two 10 seconds in this funky number: 2:22-2:32 where most of the other instruments drop out as Louis Johnson just slaps the fuck outta the bass. Jheeze! And then 2:40-2:50 where the synth plays a cheeky little solo line to bring the song chorus back in. Reloads galore with this song.
3. Edge of Greatness by FuzzyLogicBaby 2:12-2:22. I’m a sucker for orchestral harmonies and to put one in a rock rap song was mighty cheeky and every time I hear it I pat myself on the back. Gotta give myself roses whilst I can still smell ’em or summink like that.
4. Let It Happen by Tame Impala 4:05-4:15. Love how this beautiful synth cacophony hides what’s sneaking up behind it. Always makes me feel like I’m floating.
5. Odofo Nyi Akyira Biara by Ebo Taylor 0:26-36. For my birthday my young son got me tickets to see Pat Thomas & Kwasibu Area Band at Jazz Cafe. They were mostly playing songs from their new record, they started playing this song and the groove floored me. Pulled out my phone so I could remember this song. Got the album the next day and it wasn’t on it. So I actually spent my birthday going through Pat Thomas’ discography to no avail, but his collaborations with Ebo Taylor kept coming up so I disappeared down the ET rabbit hole and found it. Phew!
6. Gyae Su by Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band 0:40-0:50. That fucking sweet bass riff gets me every time! Decided to listen and not watch Radiohead’s Glastonbury set live on 6Music so I could read. Thank God I did as afterwards the DJ played Obaa Sima by Ata Kak, but I didn’t catch the name of the song or artist at the time. Went to bed thinking I’d go on iPlayer and watch the whole set as a African act won’t be hard to find. Watched PT’s whole set and didn’t hear Obaa Sima but became an instant fan. Bass riff repeats intermittently throughout the song too, lush.
"Serge Gainsbourg concept album, I grew up with this one. The first tune describes how he meets melody. it always strikes me how visual the music get at that exact point… the lyrics describe the scene of a car accident:
“A violent shock pulls me out of my dream state and I saw a bike wheel that kept on spinning…” and the guitar feedback squeal in the background…"
- Leon Brichard
"That’s one of my favourite albums, period. Thanks, man." - George Nelson
"You got the name!" - LB
"The timings though... Looks like 16 seconds" - GN
"that's the time he takes to say the lyrics..." - LB
Bela Bartok - Duke Bluebeard's Castle (30'05" - 30'30")
Written 1911 (with modifications made in 1912 and a new ending added in 1917)
"Duke Bluebeard's Castle is a one-act expressionist opera by the great Béla Bartók, with libretto by his friend Béla Balázs, premiered in 1918. Based on the old curiosity-killed-the-cat cautionary European legend of Bluebeard, there is a rich and terrifying world explored in these 60 minutes that is literally a psychologist's field-day. Bluebeard and Judit, his new virginal wife (classic old school virginity stuff), have arrived at his castle for the first time, and she's confronted with the temptation to unlock all of it's doors, against his warnings. It's full of musical symbolism, where certain motifs represent action in the drama... a semi-tone ringing out always appears at the same time as blood, etc. This is nothing new of course, but the success of this goes further than many other instances of leitmotif for me here - they bring a vividness and immediacy to the music that grabs you from your core. It's not academic anymore, it's visceral, spiritual, even.
A lot of musicians talk about the tritone (an augmented 4th or flattened 5th) as being the 'Devil's interval', and our protagonist, Bluebeard, is the embodiment of everything monstrous that lurks within humans, and the inner torment of it being seen - it's a classic old-school-Satan situation. The very architecture of the whole piece is one big tritone, beginning in F-sharp minor and slowly climbing over half an hour up to C-major in the climax, before prowling back down to
F-sharp minor again for the finale. Indeed, this 'castle' doesn't even have to exist in physical terms, but is a representation of his psyche. Every fibre of the piece is him. The moment I've chosen is the build up to that C-major climax, some of the most thrilling writing for orchestra that exists, where the fifth door is flung open to reveal the vastness of his kingdom. This is the height of the tritone, the all-pervading heft of his power, and the premonition to his ultimate downfall. Fucking amazing. I first heard this when I was 19 and couldn't believe my ears. It's best to listen in the original Hungarian. I understand why the translations exist (like, who speaks Hungarian?!) but the rhythms of the language are inseparable from the music in my opinion and you can really feel the difference. It's just madly beautiful. I spent many years delving into the symbolism and also being inspired to read other stories linked to Bluebeard... my favourite is Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber', which true to form, gives us a startling twist to the story that really gets you rubbing your hands together.
Timings...yeah I know it's 25 seconds and the spec says 10... but I think it's about 10 bars in the music so I'm kinda playing by the rules still... a little bit haha. Don't box me in, George! - Alice Zawadzki
"Her voice is at the top of its limits, and the fantastic arrangement of this song has steadily brought her to this huge moment. Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mum) comes swooping back in with her soprano affliction, and then Aretha drops back down into her lower register. Like a resignation. The song, the vocals, the whole thing is exactly what it says on the tin. There is so much emotion in this recording. It is outstanding.
"I bought Kind Of Blue on a trip to HMV when I was about 14. I had recently started playing the bass guitar and, despite my teacher’s patient attempts to convince me otherwise, all I was interested in was slap bass. I’d heard Miles Davis had some prime slapping on some of his records. HMV had a deal on, so in addition to Decoy I thought I’d take a chance on this other album.
Those first ten seconds of So What’ (given the first phrase is longer than that it should really be thirteen) changed everything. Life would never be the same. Music would never be the same. Those beautiful, fragile ten seconds awoke in me an emotional response id never felt before. A whole world of sound and possibility opened up and it didn’t even involve slap bass. And, in case you’re wondering, I still can’t slap properly." - Tom Herbert
Charlie Parker - A Night in Tunisia (1'18"- 1'24")
7" Charlie Parker Septet – A Night In Tunisia / Ornithology (1946)
"Finding a ten second snippet amongst an ocean of fantastic music at first seemed like an impossible task until a Miles Davis quote hit me:
“Jazz can be summed up in four words - Louis Armstrong , Charlie Parker”.
A strong statement from a musician of such game-changing qualities himself. Bird's impact on the world of modern music is likely to be everlasting and in time be revered amongst luminaries such as Ellington and Mozart. Incredible to think that this year would have been his 100th birthday. Technically speaking, Parker has now been dead 70 percent longer than alive but his short visit to this planet remains a blessing. Certainly in the case of my life ,Charlie Parker has been the catalytic force behind my dedication to the saxophone over the last 40 odd years. I dedicate my post on this wonderful site to him with not ten but a mere six wonderful groundbreaking seconds of pure genius.
“Night in Tunisia” gets me every time it’s a fantastic piece start to finish but there is a gem within. Parker’s stunning 6-second entry at the taking off point to his solo is arguably the finest demonstration of lyrical gymnastics ever recorded.It has become a stand-alone moment in history..its own “thing” the 'famous break'! In this micro universe of time “Bird” takes wing, spans the gap with a perfect landing and says it all. It never gets tired. Amen.
Fred Frith - end of “First Riddle” into beginning of “Traffic II” (3:22-3:32)
Traffic Continues (with Ensemble Modern, Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins) (1998)
"When considering potential tracks for this, I wanted to choose an excerpt that could conceivably stand on its own as a kind of vignette. So many of my favourite moments in music are the crests of waves that accumulate over an entire piece - the French horns leaping skyward at the climax of Miles’/Gil’s “Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)”; the hair-raising statement of the first movement’s theme in Shostakovich’s 2nd Piano Concerto; Tomasz Stanko’s acappella introduction to the final Soul of Things variation, based around a bugle call he heard throughout his childhood; the violent polyrhythms that threaten to jump right out of Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto (third movement). All of these are either too long or too dependent on what comes before and after to be extricated from their context.
Traffic Continues is an astonishing piece made up of perfectly crafted moments - many of its 21 tracks are under a minute long and even the longer ones flit back and forth between textural spaces that could easily have become extended pieces in their own right. Fred Frith’s compositional language draws heavily on his extensive involvement with improvised music. Or maybe he’s better described as an improviser whose aesthetic is shaped by a composer’s attention to detail and form. In any case, I love this album for the intense physicality of Frith’s writing, the ensemble’s immaculate yet impassioned playing, the miraculous cohesiveness despite near-constant “rug-pulling”, and its masterful transcendence of the composed/improvised dichotomy. These 10 seconds encapsulate all that, the solo saxophone emerging from the music’s depths to lead us into a deliciously wonky groove, teetering on an impossibly thin line between exuberant freedom and hyper-crafted detail.
I remember getting this CD out of the Dartington College of Arts library while I was doing my degree there and being wondrously baffled by it. A decade and a half later, I’m no closer to understanding how this music works, but I love the magic it retains by not giving up its secrets. - Alex Roth
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 in D minor (9'07'00"-9'07'10")
Written 1887 – 1896: (unfinished)
"I first encountered this piece when I was around 7 or 8 years old, in this
Eugen Jochum recording. We had the score at home, and I would read and follow this piece obsessively. I'm not sure if this is the loudest silence in all of music, or the quietest. Of course, its impact is set up by the architecture of what comes before; but the moment blew my mind repeatedly then, and still does. No experimental music was then difficult or inaccessible in the light of this."