Harvey Sutherland's favourite LPs: Guest Selector

Ahead of a live date at Soup Kitchen this month, one of Melbourne's finest lines up six of his all-time fave LPs – rippers all round

Article by Mike Katz | 01 Apr 2016

Arthur Verocai – Arthur Verocai
[Continental, 1972]

I can’t even begin to write about this record. It has a very specific energy, which I guess is why it's so seminal. I love the imperfections, the string arrangements, the tiny electronic details. It’s alternate-universe pop music. Definitely my all-time favourite album, if I had to choose. 

Arthur Russell – World of Echo
[Upside, 1986]

One of so many incredible albums from Arthur Russell. The music is so fragile, it’s like the songs appear for a split second before they dissolve into noise again. Pure rhythm and sound. Who needs drum machines when you have a cello and a distortion pedal…

The Necks – Sex
[Spiral Scratch, 1989]

The Necks are my favourite Australian act. They’re famously known to start from silence and improvise their entire show, starting with one idea and building it slowly over an hour or more. Sex is a hypnotic and beautiful trip, full of tiny incremental changes and piano motifs. Their 25-year catalogue is deep, weird and worthy of your undivided attention. 

Steely Dan – Aja
[ABC, 1977]

It was this or Minute by Minute, but I needed a classic West Coast chart-topper. I keep coming back to these records, partly out of childhood nostalgia, partly out of fascination with the mix and production techniques. My new tunes are very AOR-inspired. I’m trying to approximate the California FM big-budget studio sound with cheap microphones and Ableton Live. And that bit of the Steely Dan Classic Albums episode where Donald Fagan sings Lord Tariq is possibly the best ten seconds on the internet.

El Michels Affair – Sounding Out the City
[Truth and Soul, 2005]

I was pretty obsessed with the Truth and Soul/Daptone production family for a while there. They are crazy tight musicians, and the attention to sonic detail was pitch-perfect. The first El Michels Affair record is a great example of their “cinematic soul” approach – strong instrumental ideas, carried with conviction. 

Prince – For You
[Warner Bros, 1978]

There’ll be plenty of hardcore Prince fans that will scoff at this choice, but I really love his first record. There are some classics – Soft and Wet is a certified banger – and all the playing is super raw and loose. It’s unapologetically funky and minimalist, a concept I definitely try to emulate with my own music. I don’t understand people who don’t understand Prince.

Harvey Sutherland plays Percolate at Soup Kitchen on 7 Apr