Doing the Desert Island Dicks page of Surf Europe can at times be a bit like… eating sweaty bum crack – except not as fun. Then at other times, you think, holy mushroom biryani, this guy is good! When Cornish malibu enthusiast Sam Bleakley revealed his must-take LPs to me in a Chinese hotel room this October, I semi got a demi. He had some awesome selections and some righteous reasoning. Check he:

CRYSTAL CASTLES – Crystal Castles
‘These guys are like gritty, glue-sniffing Brits who make hard electro punk 80’s synth fusion. The kind of stuff that makes you feel carefree or gives you that sense of bravado for taking risks, climing that coconut tree or charging that razor sharp, one inch deep coral reef ledge.’

THE KNIFE – Deep Cuts
‘This album is upbeat but morbid at the same time, with that sense of realism. It’ll inspire you make the most of it, but also realize that you’re alone on a desert island, and are probably gonna die in about forty days.’

– Muchiyedza
‘One of the first big African bands popularized in 70s/80s world music, playing Zimbabwean ‘Jit’. They were influenced by jazz but mostly had rock instruments, so they slackened strings on electric guitars, had epic, polyrhythmic drums and heavy reggae style bass. A raucous sound, yet with everything kind of tinny and upbeat at the same time. They made money, lived the high life going from total poverty to stardom, slept with prostitutes, got on the heroin and died of Aids. Such a waste, a reminder of the importance of keeping your feet on the ground.’

MANU DIBANGO – Makossa Man
‘This Cameroonian has been playing amazing music for decades, and is still going strong. He gets off the beaten track and gets influences from local musicians, doing epic concerts all over Africa. He’s probably seen so many epic pointbreaks, I often think of that stretch from Angola to Mauritania, which probably has more unridden perfect waves than anywhere.’

ART PEPPER – Gettin’ Together!
‘A West Coast jazz icon who got addicted to heroin and spent most of his career in prison, so when he did get to play he was either too high, or was with B-grade musicians. Even so, he still recorded some of the best saxophone in history. He had a sea view from one prison cell he had somewhere in LA, and could see this beautiful woman sunbathing on the beach each day. The day he got out, which was in the morning, the very first thing he did was go to beach an introduce himself to the woman, and basically eventually won her over by playing music, because he really was that good. His music is just white hot.’

All this and much more in Surf Europe 87, out right nowsers!


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