My Favorite Album: SPELLLING on Minnie Riperton, Kraftwerk, and Iggy Pop | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Favorite Album: SPELLLING on Minnie Riperton, Kraftwerk, and Iggy Pop

"[Iggy Pop's The Idiot is] shameless, floppy, relentless, and the lyrics border on poetry."

Feb 04, 2020 My Favorite Album Photography by Catalina Xavlena Bookmark and Share

Chrystia Cabral (stage name SPELLLING) is a new star of savory soundscapes. Her rare 2019 full-length, Mazy Fly, was helped by her label Sacred Bones’ general ambition. Cabral is enamored by the past-she doesn’t listen to much contemporary music, resonating more with playful, messy 1970s and 1980s experimentation.

Respecting the roots is important, Cabral says; influences exist. “I can’t imagine someone believing that they are inspired by nothing, but I can understand the shut-off for being unique…artists do want to be unique.”

When Cabral reaches for her roots during the making of her cosmic chemical trails, there is no strategy. She knows which music is most impactful to her, and she’s ready to feed off of it. Cabral was tasked by Under the Radar to pick one favorite album to talk about here, but the 27-year-old who lives next to the University of California, Berkeley, could only narrow it down to three. “It creates a triangle of music for different reasons,” she says.

Minnie Riperton: Come to My Garden

Cabral starts humming “Lovin You,” probably Riperton’s most famous song, to herself. She says whenever her father would play Riperton’s music, it always sounded sweet and child-like. Later on in life, Cabral started searching Riperton’s catalog.

Come to My Garden is the one for me,” Cabral says of Riperton’s 1970-released debut solo album. “It’s super seductivethe way she singsI can’t sing like her, but I was moved. It’s bewitching and gentle. As pre-Mariah Carey, Riperton is overlooked. It’s dramatic orchestra, psych-soul bossa nova, cinematic, and heavy mood. I always have time to listen to it.”

“Only When I’m Dreaming,” the fourth track on Come to My Garden‘s second side, is Cabral’s favorite. “It has so much heart, and I am a sucker for romance. This album has a fullness of sound along with precision, but it is groovy1970s space grooves. It never gets tired.”

Kraftwerk: Computer World

Computer World is the first vinyl album that Cabral got, saying that her father wouldn’t give her his copy, so she just bought her own. “The vinyl package is great: bright yellow with a fold out photo book on the inside, poppy pictures and colors, and a ground control space center. They’re doing these poses as robots…it’s bittersweet loneliness in the computer world, which is hard to describe.”

Kraftwerk’s eighth studio album, released in 1981, was on heavy rotation during the making of Mazy Fly, says Cabral. “I haven’t been producing [music] for very long, so I was using my voice as a force. I was borrowing from Kraftwerk’s songwriting craft, and you can hear it in the percussion of ‘Under the Sun’ or maybe in ‘Golden Numbers.’ I thought, ‘How would Kraftwerk do this?’”

Cabral says that Computer World is about finding origin and transformation. “It’s so relevant to the here and the nowfour guys in a computer. It’s really clean and ahead of time, but manages to be super funky, talking about computers. It’s unforgettable, and easily gets stuck in your head. Sometimes, we listen to it and pretend to be robots. The rhythm is the soul in the computer.”

Iggy Pop: The Idiot

Iggy Pop’s 1977-released debut album, The Idiot, feels like the twin of Lust For Life, Pop’s sophomore album also released later the same year, but is completely different. The Idiot is Cabral’s night-driving album. Growing up with soul music, Cabral had to dig for Iggy Pop, and got to know the music while driving around in her basic Toyota. “It’s shameless, floppy, relentless, and the lyrics border on poetry. All the tracks are my favorite…The Idiot fills me with influence, like I want to push my luck and do something out of the normal.”

Cabral says that The Idiot helps her be okay with chaotic feelings or being low. “If Pop was coming out of something like that…it doesn’t matter…I just love it for being optimistic, heavy, and pessimistic at the same time. It goes between those tensions so easily.”

The drone and siren wail of The Idiot‘s closing track “Mass Production” passes through Mazy Fly. “The song ‘Real Fun’ was really hard to write, and Pop helped me get it out. Some people think his voice is annoying, but it’s passionate.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in the digital version (for smart phones and tablets) of Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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