Photo by Prisca Lobjoy
“It’s been a while since our last ‘Music That Speaks To…’ so we are thrilled to have someone who has travelled a long way in her musical life, Sally Rodgers! As one half of the evergreen A Man Called Adam (who helped shape the modern Balearic sound with classics like ‘Barefoot In The Head’ and ‘Easter Song’), producer, international DJ (San Francisco to Singapore and beyond), senior lecturer at Leeds College of Music and sound designer, Sally inhabits music. As a DJ, Sally is joyfully obtuse, selecting bangers and shakers without restraining herself to genre or time. Moving from rare Japanese ambient, soundtracks, Italo, post-punk weirdness and whatever takes her fancy but for this, she has done something different, using moments in her life as signposts for the music she has chosen.
There’s no doubt that this was a challenge for her - “It’s so damn hard cos it could have been any of a thousand thousand tracks, and they could’ve been much more obscure I guess…And I didn’t even really get on to electronic music!”
We’ll hand it over to Sally and let her explain the music that speaks to her….
“I’ve always felt like I’ve had the most amazing musical education. Still am being educated, that never stops. People come into your life and introduce you to new music, or music you’ve missed, or I’ll go down the rabbit hole alone, and so the music that speaks to me is sort of bound up with the people that make me, and the journey that I’ve been on to get where I am. I love obscure music but I guess these selections aren’t that. They’re just some of the triggers, places to start that sent me off somewhere maybe?
My elder brother and sister were big music heads when I was growing up. There was lots of vinyl in the house. We had a ‘music centre’ with a cassette player and a tuner and a turntable, then some weird upright, laser disc player thing.
My brother was a massive Beatles and Beach Boys fan and the later solo albums still touch me. He was also a big reggae fan. When I was little I loved this kind of thing and I still love dub and reggae.
And this. I got to love Jon Hassell’s own records when I was much older but here he is on a record that just seemed to have this weird brute energy, when I didn’t even know what that was. These sounds, these musicians have really shaped me I guess.
My sister was a disco lover and then a punk rocker, and these two gems come from her. I was only young when these songs came into my life, came into the house. I didn’t really know what the lyrics meant but I wanted to know, and I played them over and over, learned the words by heart.
I think both my siblings understood the importance of this record and it had a really huge impact on me. When that bell tree goes off in the middle and the little tambourine kicks in. I think I understood then, for the first time, that instrumentation, arrangement, sonics, could complement and enhance and power the emotion of the words and the performance along.
But then you could say the same about this. My sister tells a funny story about being in Ibiza. I was Djing at Space and they arrived and were looking for me. They were in the big room, all air conditioning and thumping techno, and they passed through one of those big, plastic abattoir curtains out in to the heat and onto the Terrace, and they heard this. They were like ‘Oh this is where she is’ Haha!
Or this magnificence. Syncopation. Whole other ball game.
Coming from ‘up North’ it was kind of inevitable that I turned out to be a bit of a soul girl. It was an important part of my youth. This record, Luther’s voice.
I suppose they’d’ve called that a ‘newie’ but the ‘oldies’ were goodies too. The vocal sound on this!
But when I moved to London, Jazz Funk and Fusion were the thing. Shady, sweaty warehouse parties in East London when cabs wouldn’t even go there. Gilles, Paul Guntrip, Bob Jones… amazing music. Dancing all night.
And we had our own soundtracky thing going on. Our little crew loved the big sweep of this kind of film score. Lalo Schifrin, John Barry, Ennio Morricone or this brilliance by Roy Budd. Tablas, that bassline, the soundscapes, trains and rail announcements. Just ace.
We did a cover version of ‘Enter the Dragon’ by Lalo Schifrin. And later we did a cover of this. I mean ffs, Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and the greatest musicians and singers on the planet… what were we thinking? We were always way too ambitious! Haha!
And I still play this out. Combination of Jazz and Latin and the soundtrack-style drama of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.
I’ve had this album for years but only started to appreciate it fully since I bought the vinyl. It’s a frickin’ masterpiece. The way these musicians explore rhythmic themes, just go deep, with all their improvisational skill and genius. Breathtaking.
I love experimental music. And indie music. I had a boyfriend back in the 90s who was properly into indie and though I’d always been into Soul and Jazz and Fusion he introduced me to Felt, Furniture, and bands like Stereolab.
I love the lyric on this, and the simple production. It’s a perfect little record.
And there was a spell in the naughties where we (me and my group of friends) grew a little musically and started to listen to classical and contemporary classical stuff. We did a night at a place called Indo in Whitechapel where we mashed it up with breakbeats and triggered visuals. It was called ‘Hooked on Classical’. Nobody came but we loved it. This record was an important stepping stone to going down that road. So fragile and beautiful.
And Beethoven. I have this box set of Simon Rattle’s complete symphonies in the car. Sometimes I blast it as loud as I can. Like it was House or Hip Hop. I’ve been to a lot of classical concerts. The best was in Rome to see the Vienna Philharmonic do Beethoven, Mozart and Mahler. So chi-chi and wonderful!
Always had a thing about West Coast breakbeat too. Shadow, Tommy Guerrero etc… Stoned. Loops. I love stoned loops.
And Eddie C is the same. They’re cut ups I suppose but he gives the tracks completely new contexts. Like the Toy Tonics guys or Jimmy Rouge. I love this. It’s on my DJ spectrum.
Listen I could go on doing this forever, but I’ll wind up now. I’m putting records together for some DJ sets I’ve got coming up and this is in the box. Gladys is a favourite voice, an amazing singer. And the Pips.”
Many thanks to Sally for her selections and stories…x
A Man Called Adam have a new album out right now on Other Records and it’s tasty as pie!
Grab it here! https://amancalledadam.bandcamp.com/album/farmarama