Results for Alexis Taylor

interviews

Robert Wyatt

Jim and Greg are joined by Robert Wyatt in the next segment. While he may not be a household name, Wyatt is one of the most influential musicians of the rock era. As a drummer with 1960s group Soft Machine, Wyatt reinvented prog rock, and was a pioneer of jazz-rock fusion. He was later ousted from Soft Machine, and in 1973 a terrible fall rendered him a paraplegic. But, as his interview with Jim and Greg reveals, Wyatt never ceased to be an innovator. Jim explains that Wyatt's been having a career resurgence in recent years. He was not only up for the prestigious Mercury Prize in England in 2003, but he is releasing a new album, Comicopera, on Domino Records, the label that is also home to Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys.

Greg begins by asking Wyatt about his appeal to a younger generation of musicians, including Thom Yorke and Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. Wyatt can‘t explain this phenomenon, but he imagines that people respect how he does his own thing and makes music for music’s sake. It's inspirational for young musicians to see that you can maintain artistic integrity and, at the same time, longevity.

Wyatt formed the Soft Machine with three other schoolmates, and he never imagined that they'd eventually be opening up for Jimi Hendrix on his 1968 tour. The music of that time influenced his politics as well as his sound. But while contemporaries like The Rolling Stones looked to the blues, Wyatt and the Soft Machine looked to jazz. After his accident, though, Wyatt was forced to approach drumming differently than other jazz musicians. By eliminating the element of acrobatic virtuosity that jazz drummers often focus on, Wyatt was free to focus on the beats and the sounds. But, listeners shouldn‘t confuse Wyatt’s experimentalism with an anti-pop attitude. He says, "Pop music is the folk music of the post-industrial era, and folk music is the most important music in the world."

Go to episode 100
reviews
In Our HeadsIn Our Heads available on iTunes

Hot Chip In Our Heads

Also hailing from the UK is Hot Chip, a group some have called England's answer to LCD Soundsystem. Composed mainly of songwriters Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, the electro-poppers are out with their fifth studio album In Our Heads. On their last album One Life Stand, the band moved away from the happy-go-lucky party tracks that established them into decidedly more emotional territory. Does In Our Heads continue the trend? Greg says unfortunately, yes. He's always relished Hot Chip's dancier tracks for they way they compress the history of electronic dance music into three minutes. On In Our Heads the band continues to wear its influences on its sleeve, cribbing from the likes of Prince, The Talking Heads, and Luther Vandross. But for every killer single like "Let Me Be Him," there are more than a few drippy ballads. Jim agrees. For him, Hot Chip is essentially a singles band. When they're on, they're on, when they're not, they're not. On the strength of the few great singles on this record, Jim and Greg give In Our Heads a Burn It rating.

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Go to episode 346