Steve Davis' Interesting Alternative

We’ve all been asked the question, “What does the music you listen to actually sound like?” I usually consider two possible replies.

Option one: “Fuck off!” This is my preferred choice, albeit never actually used. It is also without doubt the best response, especially as the vast majority of people who quiz you are only feigning interest at best. The more polite option two is: “Take a bit of classical, a bit of jazz and a bit of rock in a variety of mixes and proportions, whack them in a blender and prog’s your uncle!” This is usually followed by them looking like a dog who has just been shown a card trick. If they respond with, “What, like Hooked On Classics?” you are then within your rights to employ option one.

Our preferred music of choice is quite tough to explain to the uninitiated. The only real way is to compile a CD (or reel-to-reel, as is your wont) and let them listen for themselves. This usually achieves the same result as option one because they never bring the subject up again. Should you want to dip your toe into my own personal blender then may I suggest you either fuck off or check out the following artists and these albums…


Daniel Denis has often cited Béla Bartók and Albert Huybrechts as influences on his band Univers Zero. Their first three albums Univers Zero (aka 1313), Heresie and Ceux Du Dehors are worthy of committed investigation. Scott Johnson’s Americans is another take entirely. It’s classical in composition but with a Zappa-style heady mix that on the brilliant title track utilises the spoken voice as an instrumental framework.


You can stick your Mozart where the sun don’t shine! For me, it’s Stravinsky all the way. Filthy Habits Ensemble have a wonderful take on his L’Histoire Du Soldat (OctoberXart label). Also essential for fans of the 20th-century composer is Brazilian band Projeto B and the track Rondes Printanières from their A Noite album.


Not into scatting? Perhaps these could change your mind. Chilean band Zeptelar have released El Color De Las Cosas, a superb album full of well-crafted, beautiful melodies. There are more female “do-be-dos” from legendary 70s French band Zao. Their first release Z=7L is a classic. I strongly urge you to seek out Ataturc before turning the page.


When it comes to blending these three genres together, Magma are the magimix masters! Rïah Sahïltaahk is a recent gem waiting to be discovered.