Ultramarine

Ultramarine’s Paul Hammond reveals the first and last records he bought and one he turns to in an emergency

FIRST

ELO
Mr Blue Sky
Jet, 1977

“I can’t recall why this symphonic pop classic caught my 12-year-old ears but, in retrospect, it feels like a relatively sophisticated entry into record buying. I didn’t stick with this type of thing for long, rapidly moving on to The Jam, but it still sounds incredible to me. Perhaps I can trace my love of Prefab Sprout – similarly ambitious, emotive, beautifully arranged pop – to this formative moment.”

LAST

Jean-Marie Mercimek
Le Flourenn En Mars
Aguirre, 2020

“A lovely jumble of lo-fi synthpop, instrumental collages and ambient electronic interludes. Arranged as two unbroken sides of mixed tracks that leave out just enough, allowing the listener to use their imagination. It has a charming, homely feel. Maybe the curious, episodic arrangement holds a private meaning to its makers. It’s loose, possibly performed live or based on improvisations. Despite the name, they’re actually a duo from Marseille.”

ALWAYS

Tortoise
TNT
Thrill Jockey, 1998

“‘TNT’ takes me back to an exciting period of change when genres were starting to dissolve into a much freer area of cross-fertilisation, taking in a more organic, electro-acoustic approach, folding jazz, dub, improvisation and experimental forms into the mix. ‘TNT’ captures a band that sound like they have more ideas than they know what to do with, revelling in a rich seam they’ve unearthed. It feels like joyous and optimistic music to me.”

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