Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo shares cover of John Lennon song ‘Isolation’
(Credit: Mute Records)

From Brian Eno to David Byrne: Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo shares Mute Records playlist

Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo has shared a playlist as part of Mute Records’ new mixtape series.

Ranaldo is not only a founding member of Sonic Youth, but he is also an undoubted mercurial and influential guitarist. He, alongside Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, moved the collective guitar sound into brand new areas as part of the no wave scene in New York.

While Ranaldo and his former bandmates pioneered a sound of their own, the guitarist has never been shy to discuss some of the influences he has drawn from to help shape his creative vision.

While there’s no question about Ranaldo’s running influence in the guitar world, when we met with him in 2017 we were still curious if he had ever considered himself as such. “I never really thought about it on that level. Of course, I have been influenced by a lot of guitar players, some of whose work I hold really dear,” he explained.

As part of the new series with Mute Records, Ranaldo has been exploring the work of his contemporaries and compiled a playlist to fill the void left by the lack of live music. In it, the guitarist includes the likes of Brian Eno, David Byrne, Can, Moondog, Drake, Brigitte Fontaine, Suicide, Caetano Veloso, Jack Kerouac and more.

“I’ve found that during this period I’ve been more willing to break out of some long-held listening ruts, and listen to many different things, in some cases stuff I’d been wanting to crawl in deeper with for quite a while,” Ranaldo explains.

Stream the playlist, below.

In other Lee Ranaldo related news, the guitarist has spent his time during lockdown attempting to be as creative as possible.

Ranaldo, who released a collaborative new album with Raul Refree earlier this month, has again dipped into the archives to provide some light entertainment during this difficult time and released a cover of John Lennon.

“During this time of enforced global confinement – the ‘planetary pause’, as I’ve been calling it, I’ve been sorting thru some old releases, and came across my version of John Lennon’s ‘Isolation’, which was recorded back in 1991 and released on the 1998 album Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson),” Ranaldo said of the song.

“Our dear, departed friend Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps, These Immortal Souls, Crime and the City Solution) played drums on the track, and I’ve always loved both the original and the version of the song we made, almost 30 years ago now… I thought it could be timely to re-present this track as relevant to our current moment. For video accompaniment I sent a request to friends far and wide around the globe, asking for brief personal video clips of the confinement from wherever they were – what they saw out on their streets, in their living spaces; whatever subjective view on our current situation they wanted to send me. I cut them all together to the song as a sort of informal, intimate record of this moment.”

Stream the song, below.

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