Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Alex ‘Sinks’ Sinclair, Echo Drama – Gil Scott Heron’s Pieces Of A Man
Dear Pieces of a Man – Gil Scott Heron
I discovered Gil Scott Heron in my late teens and was immediately entranced. Considered by some as the godfather of hip-hop, I instantly recognised his influence on the culture. There’s something fulfilling as a listener to be able to identify musical evolution through tracing the path. Heron represents an origin for what provided inspiration for many of my contemporary music heroes, establishing both a lyrical template as well as numerous samples for classic production.
Pieces of a Man, you are, in my mind, the magnum opus. As one would expect on a magnum opus, every song is exceptional. The most renowned track ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ kicks it all off and provides the perfect canvas for the social critique to follow throughout the album. It depicts a post-heyday America with a declining manufacturing industry in the midst of a rapid mutation into the corporate consumerist nightmare it is today. In perfect juxtaposition the whole record is thematically bleak while sonically sweet.
The weight in Heron’s writing really showed me the importance of lyrics in a whole new way. Highly political and an exceptional social commentator, I really took a lot on board from my experiences listening to this record. The album has also proven to be more rewarding and resonant upon re-listening, especially the title track as I have since witnessed stress induced alcohol addiction and subsequent terminal illness in my family. Heron is an incredible artist and Pieces of a Man, you are sheer brilliance.
Echo Drama’s new single ‘Insanity’ is out now.