This week’s Mid-week Mixtape has been put together by Sydney performer Sui Zhen. Known to her family and friends as Becky Freeman, Sui Zhen has been sharing her beautiful and bittersweet music with audiences since 2003 and is about to release her debut album. You can check out her music here.
Always endearing, always delightful and always fun to have on the radio, Becky will be joining me on In The Pines soon to talk about her recent experiences at the Red Bull Music Academy in London. But first, she’s agreed to share her Top 5 with us online. Thanks, Becky!
Arthur Russell – Wild Combination
This song breaks my heart to hear. I first truly understood the sentiment on the bus route from the suburb where I grew up to the city, driving over the Harbour Bridge in the morning and texting the person I loved most in the world, who’d texted me simultaneously. The last time I listened to this I cried for the entire duration, twice. Arthur Russell’s music has that affect on me, he has a sadness and beauty that is most attractive to me. This wonderful, gentle, fragile nature that transgresses genre, blending soul and folk with experimental disco beats and then the abstract and loving lyrics which carry infinite joy and melancholy I can’t help but cry for it.
Lou Reed – Heroin
I can’t help but feel safe within this song. It carries so much that I feel and to hear this song in entirety is really liberating and refreshing for me. Lou Reed has a wild, wise and destructive quality that I find so engaging. There is nothing hidden just this journey of a song, a window to his experience of the world, an addiction, it doesn’t really matter. I feel like a battery being charged for life. There is some sense of freedom here to, a moment where you don’t know what will happen next, and I guess that is how I like to live sometimes.
Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
I don’t even need to talk about this band. They are one of the most important bands in the last four decades for me. An experience that has come close to watching the Stop Making Sense film for the first time was recently experiencing The Dirty Projectors live whom I wanted to include on this mix but haven’t formed quite the same relationship with, yet. This song is all encompassing, a mantra, a surrealist spat from David Byrne. It never ceases to get me to where I need to be in any situation. I love this band with every inch of my body.
Karen Dalton – Something On Your Mind
This woman’s voice melts me and makes me proud to be about to sing. I guess it’s empowering to hear this song. Even if the arrangements feel almost alien around the purity of voice there is a first time played or incidental quality to the strings and percussion, an immediacy to her performance that makes it all seem so unrepeatable. There are few voices that come close to the fragility and beauty of Karen Dalton.
Telegraph Avenue – Happy
This is a newly discovered song for me, showed to by someone while I was in London recently. I liked it then, but I fell in love with it when I returned to Sydney after going through a hard break up. In those situations I feel vulnerable to new music. Sometimes it works and sometimes it is too strange and new and sometimes that is just what you need. The approach to English when it is spoken as a second language is endearing to me. I feel there is an overwhelming charm to this song, a sublime contradiction of sadness for a song so Happy. Telegraph Avenue’s self titled album encapsulates all the necessary moods to make me feel some sense of purpose and understanding with the world through the feeling it evokes.