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SELECTOR: Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon SELECTOR Photo

Dan Deacon is releasing a brand new record! "Mystic Familiar" follows his previous five albums, a few film soundtracks (including 2016's Rat Film), several EPs, and loads of other amazing collaborations over the past decade and a half of his consistently great and ever-evolving work.

To help celebrate the release, Dan generously shared a few favorite albums and books of his with us. We're giving the collection of his choices away to one lucky winner along with an indie stores exclusive color vinyl copy of "Mystic Familiar", out 1/31 via Domino Records!

Here's what he chose for us:

1. Mamman Sani - La Musique Electronique Du Niger
I love this album. Music from this time period made on console organs really speaks to me as a solo artist that started making music on Casiotone keyboards. La Musique Electronique Du Niger by Mamman Sani and Wenn Der Südwind Weht by Roedelius, both recorded in 1981, really relax me and get my mind wandering. They inspire me to sit down at a keyboard, turn on a preset, and experiment over it. The music of Mamman Sani, and this record in particular, is so exploratory and meditative while staying within the confines of the instrument it’s made on. It also just feels fun without pretensions, and cool without attempting to be. For a record that is 39 years old, it feels extremely contemporary to me.

2. Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Akira Soundtrack
Probably one of the greatest scores of the 20th century. Adaptations of beloved literature are extremely difficult to execute well, because you have to compete with the wild imaginations of the readers who have internalized the worlds of the original work so vividly. A score can play a major role in making or breaking how a devoted fan of the original regards the adaptation. Shoji Yamashiro created such a perfect score that it’s hard to hold a copy of the manga and not hear the score in my head. The score is also a testament to the rewards that trust can bring to a collaboration. By director Katsuhiro Otomo trusting fully in Yamashiro and granting him complete creative control over the score, one of the greatest-ever pieces of music for film was created—one that also helped elevate the film to the level of a genre-defining classic.

3. Ry Cooder - Paris, Texas Soundtrack
Ry Cooder's score for Wim Wenders’ classic film Paris, Texas is a masterclass in conveying raw emotion and landscape through instrumentation, articulation, and style. His score for this film expertly captures the profound, ungrounding isolation brought on by guilt, regret, and remorse. Cooder's use of non-pitched or noise sounds on the guitar is one of my favorite aspects of his playing in general, perfectly highlighted in this work. His use of glissandi also helps to amplify the uneasy and volatile ground the story is laid upon.

4. Danielle Barnhart & Iris Mahan (editors) - Women of Resistance: Poems For A New Feminism
An anthology like Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism is exactly why I love going into a bookstore. As someone who is wildly ignorant of the worlds of poetry (and nearly everything else, including contemporary feminism for that matter), finding a book like this is like discovering an entirely new world. This book is something I would not have thought to seek out by typing into a search bar, and it's not something the algorithms would tailor to me. But walking into a bookstore and seeing a book like this on display, I am instantly confronted by my ignorance, which creates a deepening of my curiosity that compels me to pick it up and read it. The introduction by editors Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan captured my attention and drew me in to why I wanted and needed to read this book. Coming across that introduction's words, "While there might be some universal truths, there is no universal experience" made me even more excited to discover the voices within the volume.

Through that, the work of poets and writers like Denice Frohman entered into my life, and I'm extremely grateful for that.

5. Alan Moore And Dave Gibbons - Watchmen
The work of Alan Moore, especially Watchmen, entered into my life only recently despite a youth filled with reading comic books. When I was in elementary and middle school, I would ride my bike to Bailey's Comics in Babylon, NY nearly every single day in the summer (always forgetting they were always closed one day a week), and almost every single weekend the rest of the year. It was something I loved looking forward to. I'd collect bottles and cans and take them to the grocery store to return for the 5¢ deposit, and promptly take that money to Bailey’s and spend all of it on both new comics (mostly Spider-Man) and the beat-up old comics of the 25¢ bin. As I slowly got into music and didn't have the money to support both a comic-book collection and a CD collection, music won the spoils of my bottle and can recycling empire. Sometime later, after I had stopped collecting comics for a while, I remember hearing that my old comic-book store had closed, and despite having not gone for a few years, I felt like a major part of my life had been forever sealed shut. Years went by, and without a good comic-book store that I could reach by bike, comics remained a part of my past. But many of the friends I made in college were still avid comic readers and had a refined taste in the medium that blew me away. When I was first collecting comics, I was too young and immature to ever get into most graphic novels or anything too far from away from popular superhero comics. When I finally read Alan Moore's Watchmen, I was amazed by how thoroughly composed it was: the level of artistry in the characters, their interwoven development as the story progresses, the side plots and parallel stories within it. It astonished me, and it continues to. I wish so badly DC hadn't totally screwed over Alan Moore and all the amazing characters in the brilliant universe he created with Dave Gibbons. It’s a great lesson in contracts, understanding the nature of someone underwriting your creative efforts, and how capitalism interwoven with the arts can lead to tragic outcomes.

Buy Dan Deacon's recommendations from us and make sure to pre-order a copy of Mystic Familiar as well!

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