Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

Top Albums of the 1970s, Cohort #5

By Mark Abraham & Dom Sinacola · Jun 26, 2013

60. Milton Nascimento & Lô Borges:
Clube Da Esquina

(Odeon; 1972)

Jennifer Marlowe: “My oh my, this music. Its sumptuousness is something of which I’ve dreamed since I was a little bitty thing, wide of eye and poor of stock. It’s why I moved to Cincinnati. Well, that and wealthy single septuagenarians. I feel like each and every one of its way too many songs is an orphan for whom I help discover her inherent specialness, only for her to reveal, in return, grossly sadder truths.”

59. Art Ensemble of Chicago:
Les Stances a Sophie

(Nessa; 1970)

Georgette Franklin: “If I were to build a human replica it would be for Mary because she can never have Rhoda or Phyllis back, ever, and this album would be my blueprint. In its viscera is finality, like a great building-up to the end—or death or the apocalypse or whatever. Only, in it we realize that life’s all about the building-up, and not the getting-there…because the getting-there is a big fat, lonely void.”

58. Led Zeppelin:
Houses of the Holy

(Atlantic; 1973)

Mary Richards: “You know how I throw my hat in the air? When I do that I’m dreaming of this music, and strapping on a guitar and becoming, like, a living planetarium. Out of me flows songs that sound like the blood whispers of hardworking men and women from the Holy Roman Empire. Things breath more. Opportunities are wider. When things crash and explode, it feels like sunshine and brief shivers. It is basic rock in its most complex form, is my point; right on the edge of the deep end of experimental music, hugging that wide expanse but keeping right on the perimeter.”

57. Area:

(Cramps; 1975)

Frank De Fazio: “Like all patriotic Italians I love the band Area as much as I love my mother’s baked ziti—I’m not sure, consequently, if I’m the most level-headed commentator for Crac!. Still, what I kind of like about Area’s R.I.O. is how it splits the difference between a fantasy Italy (the one typified by every empire outfit from the Roman one to the Mussolini one) and the real Italy (the one filled with hardworking folk who like good food and good times). This is a music that sounds like it understands how complicated identity is; we emerge from the middle as fully informed creations, all of history inside and outside of us. We’re real weird at our cores, but that’s kind of beautiful.”

56. Throbbing Gristle:
20 Jazz Funk Greats

(Industrial; 1979)

Jack Tripper: “After an exhausting day of keeping Roper in the dark I like to unwind with some soft music. But every other time of the day I like to pump this album, which sounds like giant robots playing hopscotch. That’s the type of thing I like to focus my energy on: big battles of willpower and intense sound. Guitar squalls truncated and lobbed between shitty drum machines and synth work. Shouting. Punk is punk, but the birth of industrial music sounds like a labor movement given voice.”

55. Bobbi Humphrey:
Blacks and Blues

(Blue Note; 1973)

Louie De Palma: “It’s sort of like shifting, I guess, into an alternate dimension where everybody is always relaxed and anxiety-free. But that’s only until you actually listen to that flute, and you sense how every quaver is kind of just managing to hold back a full-on meltdown. Like all right-minded folk I prefer the thicker reeds of clarinets and bassoons, but Humphrey plays the flute like she’s inside a confessional, just hitting every human urge and feeling like you already knew what was going to happen.”

54. Kraftwerk:
Trans Europa Express

(Kling Klang; 1977)

Mrs. Carlson: “I like to listen to this while I check the balance ledgers. Obviously.”

53. Essential Logic:
Beat Rhythm News -- Waddle Ya Play?

(Rough Trade; 1979)

Rollo Lawson: “I know, I know. You thought I would be into something smooth and sexy. I may be a player, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also be entranced by the unearthly squawk of a motorized horn just screaming at my face. This is the kind of music that reminds me of just how intrinsically alive I am, over and over. It’s kind of punishingly aware of life, which is a clause I’m not even sure makes sense. But then it makes sense, because this album doesn’t make sense, which means it totally does.”

52. Joy Division:
Unknown Pleasures

(Factory; 1979)

Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy: “Oh, sure, you find it funny that the reverend is the one talking about ‘unknown pleasures.’ But back up a bit and consider how this album negates the need for a frame of reference. This album is less about ideas than it is about the base instincts that unite us all, good or bad. It’s a human trip, cast in thick metal. It sounds inorganic; it sounds like every heartbeat. It is vital because it avoids vitality. Also, all the songs are really pretty good.”

51. Television:
Marquee Moon

(Elektra; 1977)

Mike Brady: “Carol simply cannot understand my attachment to Television, as wont as she is to see it as a vessel for the world’s ills, the kind of corruption we’ve cloistered ourselves and our family away from out in the suburbs. She’s wrong, obviously, because this is such a dad of a record. They took out the blues, for Pete’s sake. All that’s left is urgency and fundamentals. When they say they ‘See No Evil’ I know they just mean they have no valuable concept of it.”

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