[caption id="attachment_15521" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Photo: Rickett and Sones"][/caption]
To prepare for his latest album Zig Zaj, experimental electronic producer Boom Bip hit the library, researching 19th century black magic and magicians and immersing himself in the study of the dark arts. And it had a profound effect. Case in point: After studying 200-year-old magic books, Boom Bip turned guest vocalist and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos on to occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley, who became the lyrical inspiration for standout track "Goodbye Lovers and Friends." We couldn't let all this newfound magic knowledge go to waste, so we asked the producer to tell us, in his own words, his favorite uses of magicians in music. Be afraid.
1. Ozzy Osbourne, "Mr. Crowley"
Crowley created his own religious philosophy, called Thelema, which has inspired countless musicians over the years. Led Zeppelin and the Beatles are just a few that publicly praised the writings and ceremonial magic of Crowley. My sister was a metalhead and this was a song I had heard a thousand times by the time I was in ten years old. [Listen here.]
2. Uriah Heep, "The Magician's Birthday"
This track celebrates the birthday of a magician by taking you on an intense musical journey. It has a great kazoo solo in the middle of it backed by a spooky piano only to finish with a shredding guitar breakdown worthy enough to have a place in any Tim Burton film. Danny Elfman has to be a fan of this track. [Listen here.]
3. The Marvelettes, "My Baby Must Be a Magician"
The mention of Houdini, pulling rabbits out of hats and decks of cards solidifies this as a perfectly-themed magician track. You have to love that guitar tone that is supposed to be the 'spell'! [Listen here.]
4. Kate Bush, "Houdini"
A beautiful, yet psychotic track where she talks, and seems to act out, the annual séance that Houdini's wife used to perform each Halloween to raise the spirit of her dead husband. You can also do this in the Magic Castle in Hollywood for a few hundred dollars. [Listen here.]
5. Flaming Lips, "In the Morning of the Magicians"
Probably one of my favorite Lips tracks. It starts off with those chopped drums and wobbly synths that move seamlessly into hints of Stravinsky, then opens up into a gorgeous ballad with incredibly reflective lyrics with just the right amount of darkness. It sounds like the morning after an intense psychedelic drug-induced experience. [Listen here.]