The songs on Quilt's third album, Plaza, were stitched together from old voice memos and lyrics written at various times throughout the Boston band's seven-year lifespan. The result, however, feels anything but patchwork, as the group delivers its most potent blend of folk and psychedelia yet. Vocalists Anna Rochinski and Shane Butler take turns leading the four-piece through impeccable arrangements of meditative drones, fluttering flutes, and lush strings. It's no wonder, then, that instrumentation matters deeply to the band. Below, Rochinski and Butler offer six instrumental tracks that inspire them:
1. Date Palms, "Honey Devash"
Rochinski: "I like to put this record on at night when I need to chill out. They remind me of another band I like called Expo 70. I saw them play in Allston [Massachusetts] at a vintage store a few years ago and loved it. It's kind of like Brightblack Morning Light without the singing and is much more mantric — you can really get into the space they create here. It's like drone music with much more movement."
2. Miles Davis, "Shhh/Peaceful"
Rochinski: "One of my favorite tracks off one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite musicians. Every time I listen to this album I hear something new. This album lifts me up. What is there to even say. Miles is really important to me."
3. Arzachel, "Queen St. Gang"
Rochinski: "Pretty straightforward groovy jam. But immensely satisfying, nonetheless. My favorite track off of their album. Would be a good tune to take a leisurely bike ride with. Makes me nostalgic for living in Cambridge, when it was in almost daily rotation in my old apartment."
4. John Coltrane, "Alabama"
Butler: "Coltrane is an easy pick for instrumentals, but a hard one to choose a specific moment of since there are so many. Recently my friend Jon turned me on to this live recording of 'Alabama.' After watching Kendrick Lamar's incredible performance at the Grammy Awards I feel like this composition hits home even stronger. There is an important moment happening right now with the Black Lives Matter movement and a lot of music [and] art that is being influenced by its strength. Coltrane himself wrote this composition in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on Sept. 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham that killed four young girls. The tones Coltrane and his group find themselves in explore such an incredible understanding of the grief found in that heavy moment. At the same time a strength is gathered from the intensity of the moment that is found in each climax of the song."
5. Madvillain, "Great Day (Instrumental)"
Butler: "I've been a heavy fan of MF Doom & Madlib since I was a teenager. I used to spend a lot of my time skating around New York City listening to the work they've done together. 'Great Day' is one of those songs where both the vocal version and the instrumental are just as potent. Of course, the version with Doom's words is just insane... like one of the best moments ever... but, I've always been obsessed with the samples in this song. It's taken from a composition called 'How Can You Believe?' I'm pretty sure but have never found the version that matches the song. That's the magic right there; the fire. This drop just makes me want to jump up and down and get stoked all day. Love this song."
6. Ariel Kalma, "Almora Sunrise"
Butler: "I discovered Ariel's music last year due to a reissue put out by Matt Werth over at RVNG. He's been making amazing collections of some experimental musicians and putting out beautiful packages with their music. I'm really grateful to him for the work. I've fallen in love with Kalma's music as it takes cues from a lot of music that I've been exploring for a while; Indian classical, dissonant jazz, French folk music, early electronic sounds, etc. This version of 'Almora Sunrise' has glimpses of a few of these moments. If you can, you should really grab some of his long-form music as it brings it to another level. I know a lot of people don't like to listen to music while they read but I've been getting a kick out of soundtracking certain books. I recently read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and found myself reading most of the book with Ariel Kalma as the soundtrack — it was truly magical."
Plaza is out now on Mexican Summer.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Watch the video for "Roller" by Quilt below:
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