Patrick is a longtime friend of MAN. With his brother Jan, he co-founded Howlin’, an Antwerp-based brand known for its cool, fun and qualitative knitwear made in a traditional Scottish wool. When he is not at the phone with Scotland or Japan, developing its family business following grow slow path, Patrick is checking and digging for music. As a true passionate, he thinks a lot about it. We asked him his five favorite records. Despite the fact he was at the hospital recovering from a surgery, he took some time to build a list. But as it was too hard to stop to five, he put seven of it. The merrier the better, right ?
As for most people out in the world it’s a daily necessity to hear music. I think some people are just more consciously aware of it and point their life more towards to it and some don’t but it is a basic human need for everyone I guess.
Before we started Howlin’ I worked for 6 years in a music event company called “5 voor 12”. We had a weekly club called “Petrol”, organized a crossover literature/music festival called “De Nachten” and once a year we organized “10 Days Off” during the (in)famous “Gentse Feesten” in Ghent. A festival that lasted each time 11 nights in a row covering all corners of electronic music. Together with some colleagues I was in charge for all communication/pr, hosting all the artists and during the weekends I did production in Petrol, mainly helping out the sound mixer on stage. Which was funny because I had zero training in that. I still remember the first reggae show with 15 Jamaican musicians on stage and I had to set up all microphones. Good fun but very bad sound.
When I just started working there I was heavily (if not to say only) into Chicago house, Detroit techno and a thing called Mushroom Jazz so all of a sudden I was being connected with literally all different styles of music. This was were I learned and discovered more music then ever before. During the week in the office we were just listening to music from start to finish, my brain was a sponge and starting from wednesdays we had every night of the year concerts and DJ’s on. But it was mainly my friend and colleague Dave Roozendaal who was 10 years older and who introduced me to hundreds of albums, from Dr Alimentado to the Beach Boys, Autechre and Kyuss. Still very grateful for that as suddenly lots of new worlds opened up.
Like I said I really think it’s a universal human thing so in that way I’m really no different then any other Homo Sapiens out there. Music as a healing force maybe sounds a little bit too cheesy and esoteric but it surely is true. Lying in the hospital now makes me realize how absent the music is in the whole building. Knowing the impact from music as a therapeutic force it should be a really good thing I think to install these kind of listening rooms in a hospital. Specially for people with mental issues or that are terminally ill. Or maybe a local radio channel connected to all beds. Hmm, I just looked it up and apparently in the thirteenth century, Arab hospitals contained special music-rooms for the benefit of the patients. Imagine that, in that time, sounds great, no?
My job takes most of my attention now but music is always around and by far the biggest inspiration for our Howlin’ collections. The sponge in my brain is still wet so I’m always on the look out for new discoveries, new and old. Also, having no public tv at home for more then 15 years helps as well.
Together with Jan, who has a great music collection as well, we play out records once in while which is fun. We usually play from start to finish so it sometimes ends up as a marathon set of 10 hours which is great. You can see an empty dancefloor filling up and clearing out several times during the night. But I do have mixed feelings with the DJ culture from now, specially when they started moving the DJ from next to the toilet to these massive stages, let’s be honest, it’s quiet boring to see a DJ on there. And as we all know, the real stars of the night are the dancers. Specially those that really come out to dance. I remember 15 years ago we had Moodymann at our venue and he wanted a curtain around the DJ booth so people could not see him. This made a really big impression on me and since then I always had this idea that it would be nice to take it even a step further and build a sort of DJ booth with these interrogation mirrors build around it. So basically the DJ could see the crowd so he knows what to play but the crowd can’t see him, only a reflection of the dance floor. So there are no lines of people staring in the same direction but just a dancefloor, dancers, light show and music. Still think it’s a good idea actually.
Two years ago, together with some friends we started a local online radio station called WAV and that’s has been really fun. So many people are occupied with making or playing music, professionally or not, and we are simply offering a new platform to this. We are based in the museum of Photography in Antwerp and we broadcast live from different locations. There is no business plan, we all invested money in this and everyone involved is doing it out of love for music which is really nice. We have a couple of Howlin’ mixtapes on there and I sometimes do a show under my Barabas alias. For next year we are teaming up with a couple of nice festivals and we have some other exciting things coming up!
Starting off with an absolute classic. For those who don’t know, Peter Green is the founder of Fleetwood Mac and arguably one the greatest white blues guitarists ever (wrestling there with Eric Clapton). This is his second solo album after leaving Fleetwood Mac and struggling with drugs and mental issues for 9 years. A sad personal story but as Anton Newcombe from the great Brian Jonestown Massacre would say: “thank God for mental illnesses”. From start to finish this album is just wonderful.
Some critics claim its too repetitive but this is precisely why I find this one of the best albums ever. Tracks like Slabo Day and Seven Stars are absolute classics and there is this wonderfully subtle playing on the whole record that’s just pure gold. My girlfriend is gonna laugh with me mentioning this one because together with a few JJ Cale albums I almost always put this on when we have guests at home. I think it’s this kind of music that everyone likes to hear. On rotation until the end of days I guess.
Listen: Seven Stars
Next up is a fantastic compilation by Egon from Now-Again full of psychedelic nuggets. I remember I got to know Egon through another brilliant compilation he earlier did: The Funky 16 corners. At that time I was heavily into funk and that 16 corners compilation was exactly the sound I was after. So when years later I saw this compilation and noticed he did it I just knew it was gonna be good. I remember I bought it blindly (which I rarely do) and back home it just blew my mind. The music gets described as American gospel, paranoiac soul, loner folk, East-Nigerian fuzz, Thai rock, Iranian ballads. All fancy music journalist terms but it gives you an idea. By then I was on this whole B-music, Anatolian Finders Keepers trip so this compilation fitted in perfectly.
Besides excellent music this compilation also has excessive liner notes with small pictures of the original sleeves which I always adore (when done right). It’s where you can feel that he is this sort of collector where it really comes out of the heart and it’s not about showing off super limited and expensive records. He is known for working together with Madlib (and even J Dilla in the past) so a real sample digger and I just love it when you have this cross-over compilations. I’s like Theo Parrish doing a jazz compilation. That’s when it usually gets interesting.
This compilation is still regularly on at home and introduced me to a whole new corner in music like Zamb rock. All these records from Ofege, Witch and Damon’s excellent Song of a Gypsy album. Quality stuff. We regularly ordered compilations from Now Again for our Morrison store as we love to play this sound in our store.
Listen: D.R. Hooker – Forge your own chain
Next one is the soundtrack from the soft porn movie Laure (aka Forever Emmanuelle), one of the most controversial films produced in Italy in the 1970s. The script is actually co-written by the real Emmanuelle. But maybe more important: it has one of the most surprising and original soundtracks. Considered a holy grail for library lovers, this album is soft porn music at its best: Italian cinematic vibes, sensual erotic vocals and phenomenal percussion by Tony Esposito (yes the balearic drum hero).
I first discovered the title track on another great compilation I have from Vadim called Parties Fines: A Voluptuous Journey Through 70s French Erotic Cinema (worth checking if you like this sort of music). The theme track was always one of my favorite songs on the compilation and I actually only noticed the name of the song when later in time I was together with my girlfriend who is called… Laure. So I have to admit, this became an even more special one. For her birthday I looked a long time for the original LP but prices were (and still are) crazy high for the original. So when in 2015 there was an official reissue with good sound quality I immediately bought it and got her (If I can say myself) a very nice birthday gift. Actually the year after I gave her the original book and I’m now looking for the first film poster as the original artwork is great (not the same as the reissue). So besides being a great soundtrack it gave me a few years of gift ideas. And who knows, maybe there is some more merch out there.
Lately a friend of us managed to download the original movie so we finally got to see the actual movie. We both ended up asleep before the end but to look at in a positive way, it has many elements to get highly ranked in a soft porn-B-movie list. There are some great weird conversations, the vibe is soft sexy and the setting is great.
Next up is the most known EP by NY outfit Liquid Liquid, definitely one of the best dance records ever. If you ever heard the title track Optimo you know it is just impossible to stand still on this. One of the other tracks is Cavern with one of the best (and most famous) bass lines ever and for which the band is widely remembered. Several elements of that track are “borrowed” for the mega success White Lines by Sugar Hill’s Grandmaster. An event that led to the death of the legendary 99 records label.
At some time I was really hooked on this really interesting story of the 99 label (pronounced nine nine) with this mystic Ed Bahlman figure, mob stories, post-punk and nowave groups like ESG, Liquid Liquid, Glenn Branca, etc. If you are interested in all this, here are some really good reads (here and there).
Unfortunately I have never seen Liquid Liquid live (yet) but I still vividly remember having ESG perform at our venue in 2006. For some reason only 30 people showed up but it was a really great night, seeing the sisters perform all the classics like UFO, Moody, Dance, No good etc.. A glimpse.
In 2012 the RVNG label released this great compilation from five Sensations’ Fix albums. At first I only knew one song of them: Fragments of Light and I remember the first time I heard that song I was completely blown away. If you hear this track (maybe pitched down a little bit) on a proper sound system it just blows you deep in outer space. So initially I just bought the compilation for that specific track but soon after I discovered, no surprise, it’s actually full of mind blowing music. Also the diversity of the compilation is what makes it really great. A lot of terms like progressive kraut rock etc are used to describe this music but it’s much more versatile, a simple description as “Cosmic Music” says it all for me.
After all those years I still find RVNG one of the most interesting labels out there. They release very diverse music (old and new, like the great Visible Cloaks albums) and their vinyl pressings, packaging and liner notes are always so good. Also, they have this great COMMEND space in Manhattan and every six months when we are in NY to present our latest Howlin’ collection we always make sure to pass by. And I actually make sure to buy stuff, no exception, just to support this place as you can feel it’s special and important to keep alive. So last time there were mainly EU imported vinyls which I tend not to buy in the US (since we live there) so I ended up buying this great original Grateful Dead sweater from their 2nd hand section. One of my fav’s now.
Matt Werth, the main force after the label, also makes really good mix tapes (and music). We now got a special one on our WAV radio from him, check it out.
Another home classic and I think most people will know the balearic “Camino Del Sol” track which is great. And so is the whole album. Originally released on the Brussel based sublabel of Factory Records “Les Disques Du Crépuscule” which catalog is also worth checking out. It’s that rare sort of album that’s simply always good to put on and makes you feel like making cocktails, no matter what time it is. Preferable in the sun. As for the sound: just Imagine that Kraftwerk are suddenly some cute French speaking girls doing Bossa nova. Keep in mind this music is from 1981 (!).
If you don’t have this one I recommend to buy the excellent overview compilation from the “Numero Group” label which includes the original five-song mini-LP and adds a lot of extra great (unissued) cuts.
Listen: Noëlle a Hawaii
Camino Del Sol
I took a while until I finished the selection for this list as I knew every day my brain would come up with another “must include” album, which it did off course and hence why there are seven entries instead of five, but I did knew I wanted to include at least one new album. As much as I like to go back in time for discovering music, and that path is endless, I feels good to keep (our) eyes open on the future. And there is always some great new music coming out somewhere. Like this album from Eleventeen Eston. I initially discovered his debut Delta Horizon years ago, it only came out on cassette and it somewhat felt like a discovery of a pure jewel. It sounded like this soundtrack of an unreleased eighties video game, not sure if that makes any sense, but it was just really good and I kept on playing it over and over again. Luckily that album came later on Spotify and recently the great Growing Bin label released the Delta Horizon on vinyl as well last year his new album At the Water.
I was very curious to hear his second album as the first one set up a lot of expectations but it’s even better than I expected. His At the Water album is still getting played a lot at our home. At least by me. Now I’m not gonna try to describe the sound as that’s usually boring but for me this sort of music comes close to perfection.
Listen: 2 d’Or (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mqcf6-OMQc)
Owkee that’s it folks, I’m still in the hospital and my narcose side effects are kicking in, better hold on tight, I hope some people might be introduced to some new music that they like and remember, if you like it, buy it 🙂