English folk singer Laura Marling burst on to the scene with her debut album “Alas, I Cannot Swim” in 2007. That album, along with her sophomore LP “I Speak Because I Can” and her fourth album, “Once I Was An Eagle,” were each nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize. Her fifth studio album “Short Movie” came out on March 24. To celebrate, she offers up a soundtrack that starts small, gets weird, and ends in terrors. (All in good fun!)
Hello, I’m Laura Marling, and this is my dinner party playlist.
Sidi Touré – “Ay Hôra: My Dance”
My first track would be “My Dance” by Sidi Touré. He’s a Malian singer and guitarist. I was going to choose Fela Kuti but then I thought, you want to like one up your guests, and everyone knows Fela Kuti.
In my mind, the dinner party is in a beautiful apartment in Paris, and it would be just me and two other people which is like… sometimes it’s the best thing for a conversation, and sometimes the most awkward.
This song, I’d have it ready to go as people were arriving, so I’d keep putting it back to the beginning if people hadn’t arrived yet. I think it’s important to have a welcoming, happy soundtrack, but I’m going to weirder as the evening goes on.
Chilly Gonzales – “Manifesto”
So, the next track is by a piano player called Chilly Gonzales. It’s called “Manifesto.”
I first heard this song when I was living in L.A. actually, where I don’t live anymore, but an English friend of mine had come over. He was a piano player, and we were drinking wine together one evening. And he showed me a YouTube clip or something of this chap who came in out of nowhere into this crummy room and started playing this beautiful song on a crummy piano. And I just thought it was extraordinary.
This piece of music is incredibly evocative of something. You don’t really know what. It kind of evokes a memory that you’re not entirely sure is your own, and I think he’s actually a master of that, Chilly Gonzales. I feel like it’s the right setting for a candlelit, awkward dinner between three people.
Miles Davis – “Sivad”
My next song of the evening would be Miles Davis, “Sivad.” I think that’s how you pronounce it. There’s a lot of use of wah pedals, and it sounds like a lot of instruments are talking at you, and if you were in the wrong state of mind it could push you over the edge.
I collect records made in 1969. There was a lot of freedom in that year for some reason that people did a lot of experimenting. And this record, “Live-Evil,” is just the weirdest, like that would make you believe he was an alien, like he wasn’t from this planet. It sounds like the inner workings of a man on the edge of a breakdown. So, it would really push people into the surreal at the dinner party.
Laura Marling – “Warrior”
If I was forced to play one of my own songs at a dinner party, which I think would make it the last dinner party that I’d ever be allowed to throw, I would play “Warrior,” and then send everyone home terrified.
It’s me doing a finger-picking part, and then we bowed an electric guitar and put it through a Memory Man. There’s quite a trippy, swooshing, panning, echoing thing going on in the background. So, it’s not an easy or sort of sweet listen. It wouldn’t be a good track for a dinner party now I think about it.