Poetic Memory: Boomsnake (List)


Gabriel Rodriguez of San Diego’s Boomsnake initially met our Poetic Memory request with skepticism. In his own words, “I naturally become enthralled or influenced by the artist more than a record…I like becoming immersed in the creator: to view the world from their perspective, whatever it may be.” He adds, “The major influences of my life are probably those of most music listeners. Yes, I delve deep into the obscure, but those are not ‘life’ influences.”

For Rodriguez, though, the bottom line is this: “I enjoy music. All forms of music. If you put on ‘Thriller’ at a party, I’ll be dancing; ‘War Pigs’ at the bar, I’ll be drinking happily; ‘Sex in the Kitchen’ while making out, I’ll get freaky.”

Rodriguez’s list chronicles records that “strike the very being of the listener; records that play as if they were written for you.” His Poetic Memory is below.

Leonard Cohen – The Songs of Leonard Cohen: I start with Mr. Cohen because he is the pivotal artist that I admire. Everyone has a master, someone they answer to, someone who has walked the path before them. Anyone who says otherwise is either lost, oblivious, or lying. I try and follow, from a great distance of course. It’s not just his music, but much more his life in general. The lyrical content of this record is unparalleled.

The Beatles – The White Album: Before I was conscious enough to choose my own music, I was listening to The Beatles. Their catalogue could fill the entirety of this list, but then I would simply be the reflecting my parents’ tastes. [The Beatles] really are the best, and The White Album is a prime example.

Godspeed You, Black Emperor – F♯A♯∞: I was in the back seat of a friend’s car getting high when I first heard this record in its entirety. Ahhhh, high school—the sheer epic quality had my head spinning. The fact that they put a crushed penny in the vinyl jacket — incredible. This was one of the first LPs I ever bought.

The Velvet Underground – White Light White Heat: This album contains the sole four “core” members — Andy Warhol and Nico had no input, and John Cale was still around. The album’s lo-fi, aggressive atmosphere makes me want to do bad things — “it’s fun to do bad things.” White Light White Heat is one of those records that proves there are no rules (along with the rest of VU’s catalogue).

Steve Reich – Early Works: Reich is of the most important/influential composers of our time, and the concepts of phase, pulse, and counterpoint have played a large role in the way I record layers of instruments (Reich’s early works are mostly phasing). I heard he got some of his samples from passengers while working as a New York taxi driver. Since then, I’ve tried to carry a minidisc recorder to gather field samples; after all, the natural sound of the world has rhythm — cities breathe, trees talk.

The Microphones – Mt. Erie: It’s an emotional adventure. Phil Elvrum creates patience in the listener and howls about the struggles of trying to become a better person. It’s my favorite album for long drives at night — a time when you can reflect on where you’re going and why. I remember Elvrum saying, in an interview, that he’s human and that recordings should have mistakes, that it’s natural. As a result, his recordings sound purely organic and “humanly” perfect.

Don Caballero – American Don: Ian Williams opened my eyes to the possibilities of live looping. He proved that you can incorporate machines as members of the band. It’s more a modern composition than “math rock.” I attribute this record to my discovery of Ian Williams, but Storm and Stress also had a major influence on me.

Seven is a good number — I take leave at 7. In Tarot, the Seven of Swords reads as such: this card reveals issues of breaking free, doing things your own way, and abandoning group ideals. The Seven of Swords is seen as a card of saving yourself; this can have positive elements to it, as in many personal transformations, but it can be negative as well — revealing the core selfishness present in many of our decisions. There is also an element of haste in this card, an indicator of moving fast in a decision making process.

Download Re/visions, the new EP from Boomsnake, here.

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