Starting off on a low note, this past week marks 41 years since the late, imitable Ian Curtis departed us aged just 23. It’s impossible to ignore the tragedy that is entrenched in his story, despite all the success he achieved in his all too short life.
Curtis’ mental health problems stemmed from his struggles with epilepsy, a condition that prevented him from living and, in the end, the musician tragically decided that suicide was the only way of seeking peace.
His life is perhaps the most well-documented cases of epilepsy in music, but his story isn’t an anomaly. The frontman was only diagnosed with epilepsy in 1979 after his seizures had worsened. The last two years that Curtis spent on the planet should have been full of exhilaration as Joy Division became one of the most talked-about bands in the country. The reality, however, couldn’t have been any more different.
Far Out looked at how epilepsy devastates lives and its impact, especially within the field of music. However, it would be remiss to ignore his achievements, too, and we counted down the 20-best songs by Joy Division, which you can check out here.
Elsewhere, there are few more iconic artists on the planet than former Talking Heads chief David Byrne, who turned 69 this week. To celebrate his birthday, Far Out have cooked a 305-track playlist that chronicles his career.
It’s hard to quantify the immeasurable influence Talking Heads had on rock and roll, but, luckily, it is quite easy to hear through the shape of one mammoth playlist. The group built its reputation on being supremely undefinable, and it’s only the music that can really chronicle the career of the most inimitable man on the planet — David Byrne. “Say something once; why say it again?” Byrne once remarked and, judging by the playlist; it’s fair to say he’s kept to that mantra.
Through a string of affected and unquantifiably rhythmic singles, the group’s prowess grew, helped in no small part by the inclusion of Jerry Harrison. With it, so did Byrne’s influence and talent. Though the group came to an end in 1991, Byrne would continue to pursue his artistic direction with a feverish pace. Never too far from a helpful collaboration, Byrne has accumulated quite the list of incredible songs in his time in the spotlight. It’s a list of songs that, when placed together, such as below, provides not only a crystal clear image of the singer and his journey but of creative integrity itself. Byrne never has and never will sit still.
It’s been a monumental week for rock ‘n’ roll birthdays, with Trent Reznor also blowing out the candles on his cake. Trent Reznor’s music always had a bit of orchestration. Whether it was the brighter synthetic buzzes of Pretty Hate Machine, the harsh ambient tones of The Fragile, or the lush experimentalism of the Ghosts album series, Reznor and Nine Inch Nails were never simply a rock band playing industrial music.
In recent years, he’s been able to express this side to himself freely by curating film scores, and he’s won the Academy Awards that his talent deserves. Rather than looking at his best tracks with Nine Inch Nails, Far Out looked at his six best scores, which have made him one of the most decorated arrangers in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, Flyte’s Will Taylor prescribed nine of his favourite records to Far Out for our ‘Doctor’s Orders’ feature in association with mental health charity CALM. With the band set to take their new album, This Is Really Going To Hurt, on a UK tour starting this August and including a show as part of this year’s scintillating All Points East Festival line-up, we touched base with Taylor to discuss the records that inspire him and his bandmates along their musical journey.
Can you guess which album Taylor is talking about here? Taylor dotingly said: “I dare you to listen to those opening four tracks and not drop your jaw a little. No band has ever been so bold. It is – whether you’re a fan or not – a masterpiece. And if it doesn’t grab you at first, give it time, it definitely will do.”
Check out the full playlist, below.
The Far Out Weekly Round-Up
- Flyte – ‘Losing You’
- Kawala – ‘Chasing/Wasting Time’
- Joy Division – ‘She’s Lost Control’
- Soundgarden – ‘Black Hole Sun’
- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – ‘In Motion’
- Queens of the Stone Age – ‘No One Knows’
- Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’
- Sammy Davis Jr. – ‘Feeling Good’
- Brian Eno – ‘Emerald and Stone’
- June Carter Cash – ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’
- Talking Heads – ‘This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)’
- BB King – ‘The Thrill Is Gone’
- Stevie Wonder – ‘For Once In My Life’
- Ian Dury – ‘Dance Little Rude Boy’
- The Rolling Stones – ‘I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)’