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Big Takeover Exclusives: December 13, 2021

Nick Hudson 3 British composer, songwriter, painter, author, and filmmaker Nick Hudson (The Academy Of Sun) inaugurates the guest artist Top 10s with his intriguing Top 10 list.

Nick Hudson – Photo Credit: Ka Mountain

Nick Hudson is a composer, songwriter, painter, author, and filmmaker who in 2021 issued his first solo album in five years – Font Of Human Fractures – to exuberant acclaim.

Accompanied by a raft of dramatic videos, Font Of Human Fractures was celebrated as much for its emotional open-heartedness as for its sonic flair. Within months he’d released a companion EP – the KK69996ROMA:EP – which drew from both experimental electronica and chamber music, being inspired by the works and life of queer Marxist Italian fimmaker and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Hudson’s band The Academy Of Sun also issued a limited edition lathe-cut single called “It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed,” produced by the visionary Randall Dunn. With various film scores and a collection of short stories on the horizon, Nick shows little sign of slowing down.

“Well, it’s been quite a year, let’s be honest! I’m thrilled and humbled by the responses to both the record and the EP – and to the videos. I face 2022 from a vantage point of newness – I recently moved out of the city I’ve called home for eighteen years, and saw the ending of a relationship that endured for seven.”

“It’s time to head East. Brexit and the Tory response to COVID have made the the UK a pretty thankless terrain for touring artists (and the populace in general) over the last few years. That said, I’m excited about embracing new adventures and throwing myself headlong into a ton of prose-writing.”

“Also some enticing collaborations in the pipeline – I’m in conversation with a Moscow-based dance company about creating a huge theater piece in Moscow. Early days, but very promising. I’m also writing a screenplay and lining up a series of shows in idiosyncratic acoustic spaces throughout Europe in the spring. I passionately miss performing.”

“Have a beautiful Christmas everyone, and here’s to better years. – In grace and hope.”

Tori Amos – “Flowers Burn To Gold”

“Tori Amos was a colossal influence on me as a teenager – when I quit piano lessons at sixteen I learnt her first four records by ear as a continuation of my training. Her emotional candor, openness about psychedelic experiences, and full-bloodied activism continue to inspire as much as her peerless piano work. This, from the album she released last month – and which deals with loss, grief, and lockdown – is utterly sublime.”

Ilya Mazo – “It’s Winter”

“I was alerted to his work when he launched a video “game” called “It’s Winter,” which simulates life in a suburban Moscow apartment block in the middle of winter. There are no game objectives. The pinnacle of excitement is encountering a snow plow doing its rounds in the courtyard. It’s banal, claustrophobic, and incredibly atmospheric. It suited various consecutive lockdowns very much!”

Danny Elfman – “In Time”

“The first cassette I ever bought was Danny’s Batman Returns OST when I was eleven. Subsequently I’ve fallen hard for Oingo Boingo and his vast repertoire of scores. He put out his first solo record in decades and it’s completely insane. Visionary, incensed, virtuosically arranged stuff. This one has been my counsel at the most hopeless junctures of the last few months. Also, Randall Dunn, who produced our The Academy Of Sun single, had a guiding hand in this dense, compelling monolith of an album.”

Danielson – “Physician Heal Thyself”

Danielson are an experimental Christian weird folk-pop band who couch gnostic proclamations in strangely-structured music that I find incredibly moving. I took a monastic retreat on an island for two weeks in late summer, where I was silent (to everyone’s wild applause – haha) for the entire time. The experience was transcendent and felt like a reset in many ways. I rediscovered Danielson whilst exploring rock pools embroidered into the soft white sands of the coastline.”_

Jamie T – “Self Esteem”

“Quite simply one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard. Brutal. Very London. Crushingly vulnerable urban confessional. I listened to this on repeat whilst roaming around Sofia, Bulgaria, while writing my novel there this time last year. Check out the string arrangement in the – musical and literal – breakdown.”

Robert Walker – “As The Apple Tree”

“Upon returning to the mainland from my monastic becoming, I took a night in Portsmouth to soothe re-entry, and wandered into a cathedral to hear an incredible choir performing this. After nearly drowning in my own tears at its fulsome ecstasis I feverishly Googled to try and figure out what the hell I’d just heard/witnessed, as the priest had fled and could offer no insight. This is the best version I’ve found.”

Peter Gabriel – “Of These, Hope”

“Throughout lockdown I’d curate, in my isolation, director seasons – which led to finally watching some Scorsese that had somehow evaded me. I’ve realized I love his explorations of faith as well as I do any of his catalog. Kundun is a masterpiece. And The Last Temptation Of Christ absolutely floored me. This, from the Peter Gabriel soundtrack, is exquisite, and will forever bring to mind images of Willem Dafoe sashaying through the desert attracting pilgrims.”

Hans Zimmer – “Paul’s Dream”

“Yeah. I’m a Dune fanboy, Never read the book, Didn’t watch the Lynch. DID watch the documentary on Jodorowsky’s unmade colossus. This new Denis Villeneuve setting completely bewitched me. I’ve seen it three times. Some of the best sound design and palpable world-building of all-time. So invigorating to at last behold an “event movie” that isn’t absolute dogshit. And Timothee Chalamet in a stillsuit is just HAWT.”

Kayo Dot – “Void In Virgo (The Nature Of Sacrifice)”

“This, from the new Kayo Dot record, is magnificent. Toby Driver uniting the anthemic with the compositionally formidable. I had the honor of creating a video for this during lockdown, which saw me place an online order that must have had the bomb squad on high alert. Where biochemistry and avant-garde film history meet in the aisle, I turned my flat into a lab. The entire new KD record should be mandatory listening for all.”

Arvo Part – “Tabula Rasa”

“Clean slate. Off we go. Part’s music is amongst the most spiritually cleansing. I love the prepared piano on this. I recently modified my childhood piano at the family home in a similar way. In that tiny room I now have the piano, an 1873 harmonium ripped from a church, and Soviet analog synthesizer. I’ll probably compose something for this trio. Three Synthesizers. I’m a huge Robert Wilson fan and his setting of three Arvo Part compositions – including this – inside a former submarine factory in Tallin is one of the most elegant, minimalistically beautiful, and extraordinarily moving things I’ve ever seen.”

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