[Go here for an profile of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson, who compiled this list.]
Forever Changes, Love
This album took me years to understand properly. The denseness of it is something that can’t be digested on the first listen. Arrangement, melody, lyrics, instrumentation—all really mysterious.
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett’s mind got blown, but it’s lucky he completed this album before that happened. I feel like it must be the ultimate expression of the baroque spirit of experimentation and whimsical freewheeling of London at that time.
The Soft Machine, The Soft Machine
I like how this album had so much influence from the jazz at the time. There’s this John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sun Ra thing going on, which gives it a different, more arty kind of sound.
Odessey and Oracle, The Zombies
It’s just full of cool melodies and strange chord changes. It’s really beautiful, and when I discovered it my songwriting started to warp. I’ve always been more a fan of the more sophisticated, baroque type of psych. I was listening to Liars and Lightning Bolt, and when I heard this I was suddenly listening to Bach.
Uncle Meat, The Mothers of Invention
Say what you will about Frank Zappa, but even people who hate him have to admit he’s a genius. I like the first bunch of Mothers of Invention albums because the band was dirtier, crazier and sloppier. I used to sit around listening to this stuff when I was a teenager and thought I was the coolest kid in New Zealand.