Track Record: The Late David Turpin


In the latest installment of Track Record, Dublin artist David Turpin (AKA The Late David Turpin) selects and talks about some of his all-time favourite records. The Late David Turpin’s concert Romances will take place at Project Arts Centre, Dublin on September 17 as part of Tiger Dublin Fringe. Photos by Abigail Denniston.

Bjork – Medulla

I love Medulla because it’s very beautiful, and it’s also very ugly – like the interior of a human body. Watching a documentary I was struck by how germane and technical Bjork is in the studio – which is not always how she’s presented as a persona. Maybe that’s because people can fall into this fallacy of believing that music must be either intellectual or emotional – when of course it can be both.

(Bonus point also for Mike Patton’s vocals, which are scandalously sexy.)

Frank Churchill and Larry Morey – Bambi

Early Walt Disney scores are one of my biggest musical influences. It always kills me when I tell somebody I like Walt Disney scores and they reply “Oh, like ‘Colours of the Wind’?” The early songs are from another universe. Bambi is my favourite for the way the arrangements evoke the natural world – especially ‘Little April Shower’.  This isn’t saccharine music, either – just listen to the main theme, ‘Love is a Song’.


Cat’s Eyes – The Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy is one of my favourite films from this year – it’s kinky and it’s wise. The film takes place in its own closed world, and a big part of what makes it work is the music. Cat’s Eyes are Rachel Zeffira and Faris Badwan (from The Horrors), and they’re channelling all kinds of misty ‘60s and ‘70s erotica and esoterica here. I particularly love the use of woodwind on this album – you don’t hear nearly enough woodwind on film scores these days.

Cocteau Twins – Garlands

Again, all the Cocteau Twins records are great, so choosing one is hard. This is their first album, and their sound perhaps hasn’t fully crystallised yet. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice has a little more of a youthful yelp here than it does in the later albums – although it’s obviously an extraordinary instrument. The real reason I chose Garlands is that the cover art epitomises that blend of gloom and glamour that I associate with 4AD. I have it framed on my wall.


Madleen Kane – Cheri

This is the epitome of tinselly Eurotrash. Look at the song titles: ‘Cheri’, ‘Forbidden Love’, ‘Secret Love Affair’, etc. It’s music for dreaming about a life of glamour and romance… Horseback riding wearing nothing but diamonds… Crying in the backseat of a limousine… Throwing your Babycham in an Italian count’s face after he sleeps with your chambermaid… Somebody hold me!

T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land (Read by Robert Speaight)

The Waste Land is one of my favourite poems. I used to teach it to undergraduates, and I always suggested that they listen to a recording of it to get a feel for it. A lot of people like Fiona Shaw’s performance – she really “acts” the poem. My favourite recording is this one, by Robert Speaight. It’s more of an incantation. This LP is an original from 1954. It plays perfectly – the ageing just adds to the effect.


Brian Eno – Another Green World

This is the album for which Eno devised his Oblique Strategy cards. I love the idea that the album was created laterally – that the instructions were metaphorical rather than literal. I don’t do flash cards, but when I work with other musicians, I try to lead in a more abstract way, from a tone or an image. That way there’s scope for people to find their own way in – which is the purpose of collaboration.

Sade – Diamond Life

People tend to dismiss Diamond Life as background music for aspirational living. I don’t hear that at all. Sade does one thing – great sadness held back by great dignity – but she does it better than anybody else. She’s been a cool breeze, untroubled by the prevailing winds of fashion, for 31 years, and long may she continue.


Harry Belafonte – Calypso

Like many people of my generation, I was introduced to Harry Belafonte’s ‘Banana Boat Song’ by
Beetlejuice. The rest of Calypso is just as transporting – it’s easy to see why it was the first album to sell over a million copies. Its allure was always how it spoke of a faraway (maybe imagined) place – now it speaks of a faraway (maybe imagined) time as well. So the decades have only made it more magical.

Laurie Anderson – Mister Heartbreak

I’ve put in a lot of hours listening to Laurie Anderson and I’ve never tired of her. Her intelligence, curiosity and humour cut through every time. She’s never made an uninteresting record, so trying to single out one was hard. I could as easily have chosen Big Science or Strange Angels, but I picked this one for sentimental reasons – my boyfriend gave it to me for Christmas.

is the co-editor / photo editor. She also contributes photos and illustrations to The Thin Air print magazine.