Features - The Thin Air

Track Record: Ellie Myler (ØXN/Percolator)

From Fugazi and Marvin Gaye, to Circle and Weidorje, Ellie Myler from ØXN and Percolator explores the records that have left a lasting impression on her life. Photos by Thom McDermott

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

I remember the first time I heard the title track on vinyl, through decent speakers, with intention. Feeling like I was in the room when the chatter of the Detroit Lions came in, that was the whole point I think. The choice Marvin Gaye made to produce it himself cracked it wide open and let the listener in. The lofty strings didn’t scare you off, it’s protest, observation and affection all encompassed in a spacious sound scape.

Solange – When I get Home

As soon as you get a grasp on a chorus/hook/mood, it wriggles away. The structure of this record and the individual tracks had me on my toes the first listen, but then you just have to let it do its thing. You can hear improvisations playing out and it’s the lack of strict structure that allows it to play out like a series of weird visions. The unmistakable sound of Chassol on a few tracks gave me a bit of a feeling of nostalgia, he brings his playful chaos to a few tracks. Solange’s vocals and harmonies are always interesting, she never seems to do what you expect, and her videos are unreal.

Mariah Carey – Daydream

Having not heard this album for a couple of decades, it surprised me that on sight alone, the cover brought back every single word, harmony and nuance. It has stuck, like a times table, in my spongey child-brain. I don’t know how I even ended up buying it, most likely purchased with my 11th birthday money. For a few months it was the most important thing in the black plastic cd rack next to the wrecked family hifi. Kate Butler mentioned to me recently just how important Mariah Carey was for producing her own work as much as writing/performing. But I think it was her vocal gymnastics that hooked me as a child, that and her curly hair.

Weidorje – Weidorje

You know that thing people say about dogs, about the ones with personality, they could nearly stand up and talk to you. That’s this record. Every element is yapping away and it’s all very exciting. I love Magma, and this is an extension of that. Not a second is lost on this record, it’s dense with melody, to the point of overwhelming, and it would almost make you want to start playing bass. There are moments that could easily accompany Mario on his 2-dimensional bounce quest through underground lava tunnels, then quickly elevated to the celebratory, spiritual space exploration as indicated by the cover art. It’s got bangers, I’m saying.

Francis Bebey – African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (compilation)

This was a lockdown record for me. Intense listens in the first few weeks of the big uncertainty. It’s warm and sweet and comforting, reminding me of the intense 2020 heatwave, doorstep cans, and having a dog for the first time. A lot of good memories folded inside of a bad one. In his career, Francis Bebey worked for UNESCO and did a lot of research on the music of Pygmy tribes and traditional african music in general. Behind this record is a tonne of knowledge and I think he got a lot of flack for merging traditional African music with western electronic elements at the time. He released quite a lot of records and this compilation is a lovely introduction.

Morena Y Clara – No Llores Mas

It came as a recent surprise to me that Morena Y Clara is not a translation of the two singers’ names, but just means “Brunette and Blonde”. Somehow this makes them even more lovable. This record is a party favourite of mine and usually my playlist response as soon as anyone puts on Abba. The way they just snap the vocals at you, the awkward dancing, and the latin/flamenco/prog hypnoticism. It’s just really good craic.

Circle – Prospekt

Circle are an incredibly joyous live band, They give a memorable and uninhibited show every time. There’s something a little bit ridiculous about them that I find fascinating. They engage in a sort of anti-promotion, one time exchanging names with Pharaoh Overlord for one release, then switching back again. Even their name is a hurdle when it comes to online searches. They churn out records at a pace I can’t fathom, and this one is a masterpiece. From the sudden introduction of the first track, it sounds more lush and spacious than some of their other work. That snare in particular, on Aarre, dreamy.

Jim White – All Hits: Memories

An incredibly important record, I was so happy when I heard it was being released. Jim had been talking about working with Guy Picciotto and I wondered how that would manifest. Seeing Jim up close, playing with Giorgos Xylouris in Xylouris/White, is always delightful. We’ve been lucky to have them play Dublin shows as often as they do. His melodious and instinctive work sets him apart from a lot of drum types, as does his showmanship, storytelling (gossip) and inability to button up his shirt properly. The video accompanying the first single ‘Names Make the Name’, sets the tone perfectly for this record; eerie, solitary and fascinating.

Fugazi – The Argument

Another mild obsession of mine when I first got my hands on it, as was the documentary Instrument. It sounded to me like controlled chaos. I’ve always wanted to play like that, even on gentler stuff. There are some moments on this album that still give me a physical reaction. The dynamics on ‘Epic Problem’ are delightful, it threatens full on guitar bullshit but quickly pulls that rug out from under you. One of my many regrets is never seeing them live.

Low – The Great Destroyer

Mimi Parker is the love of my musical life. Her voice always hurt a little and now much more so. I wouldn’t be a drummer if she wasn’t. I certainly wouldn’t sing if she didn’t. Compiling this list required listening back to some Low and it’s a welcome punch in the heart.

Katie Kim – Cover and Flood

Actually, Katie is the musical love of my life. This album was exceptional, but she never faltered musically either before or after. She’s easily the most interesting, tireless and confounding music maker I’ve ever known. Always full of surprises, she sucks up the world around her like a sponge and spits it back out in unexpected ways. She’s dragged me up out of murky times more than once and continues to do so for many others, just through her work.

ØXN play the Gig for Gaza Fundraiser on Sunday June 2nd at Vicar Street in Dublin. Click here for tickets.

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