Lust is one of those topics that you might not want to go to Mitski first. The singer-songwriter has plenty of material on love and loss, but when it comes to raunchy sex jams, she probably isn’t exactly the first artist one would think of. But thanks to her broad scope of musical knowledge, Mitski can undoubtedly give you a good bump-and-grind soundtrack – if you’re into that kind of thing.
While being interviewed by Vinyl Me, Please about five of her favourite albums that every music fan should own, the Japanese-American singer picked mostly from the world of jazz. That included Charles Mingus’ Ah Um, Chet Baker’s Chet Baker Sings, and Thelonious Monk’s Monk in Tokyo.
“I’ve got to be honest, I hate how most live jazz recordings are panned, including this one,” Mitski explained about the latter. “I get it, the piano was stage right. But I was born in the ’90s. I need to hear everything in one earbud. Anyway, I love Monk, and I have a soft spot for live jazz recorded in Japan. You can find the footage on YouTube, too.”
For her final two picks, Mitski chose to focus on classical music and experimental compositions. Her first choice was Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, which contained “the best string piece, in my opinion” with ‘Transfigured Night’. For her last pick, Mitski opted to highlight one of the classic examples of minimalism with Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.
Featuring eleven selections all based on different chords, Music for 18 Musicians was centred around Reich’s fascination with human pulses. That humanistic element to the music came out in Reich’s decision to include wind instruments like clarinets and even female voices in the piece. For Mitski, it actually represented the height of musical sexual expression.
“Fun fact: Music for 18 Musicians is the best, most tender sex soundtrack in the world,” she claimed. Music for 18 Musicians was a highly acclaimed piece when it was first released on vinyl in 1978. David Bowie was a noted fan of the record, calling it “Balinese gamelan music cross-dressing as minimalism.” Reich would continue to perform and revisit the piece over his career, with the composition also finding its way into the repertoires of more progressive classical ensembles over the years.
Check out Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians down below.