Zach Cowie Shares His Favorite Albums

From Bollywood soundtracks to ambient Japanese records, Zach Cowie tells the tales of discovery behind his latest favorites. And, as you can see, he has a lot to choose from.

Though he can't pinpoint the moment that he became a collector, Zach Cowie has been frequenting record shops since the age of 14, even clocking some hours working at a local mainstay in Chicago, and has amassed the most diverse (and expansive) collection of music we've seen in a long time. Here he plays us a few of the albums inspiring him at the moment, and shares how they've made their way to his record player.

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Scott Walker – Climate of Hunter, 1984

"These three all go together. 4AD is one of my all-time favorite record labels, and I've been reading the book Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD. I've always had a weird obsession with the album Love by Heidi Berry, but it doesn't totally fit into musical places I usually go, so I've always wondered why I like it so much. When I read the chapter on Heidi being signed to 4AD by the founder Ivo Watts-Russell, she tells the story of how Nick Drake's Pink Moon was one of her favorite records–and this is one of my favorite records—and she had a stoned moment of realisation hearing this. But then she talks about how she and Ivo both had a love of Scott Walker's Climate of Hunter, which I always thought was an album that only I liked—it's so far off the mark of what's good by him. But the same producer actually worked on her album, which really brought it full circle. Listening to the albums in a row, you hear some of the same sounds. Finding those connections is so fun for me, it happens all the time."

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Nick Drake - Pink Moon, 1972

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Heidi Berry – Love, 1991

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Pharoah Sanders – Pharoah, 1977

"I love Pharoah Sanders, but I never knew about this album until recently. I was DJing at this club in London called Brilliant Corners—it's sort of an audiophile club, it's probably my favorite place to play. At the end of the night they cleared everybody out and we just sat on the floor listening to jazz records in the dark, and one of the brothers that owns the club played this and it floored me. It was crazy because I love this guy, I have like 15 of his records, but had never heard this one."

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Kalyanji-Anandji – Vidhaata, 1982

"I went to India in August for the first time, which was awesome because I love Indian music, and got to use a bunch of my favorites in Master of None. But I'd never been there to find records. I love Asha Bhosle, who is a huge superstar there, and it happened to be her birthday when we arrived so all of the cabs had the radio on and they were all talking about 'Queen Asha's Birthday.' The record scene is a total hustle there—this is a great soundtrack I picked up that she sings on, and it's just an insane cosmic Indian disco record."

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Hiroshi Yoshimura - Mori No Yoake, 1984

"This is a record by Hiroshi Yoshimura, a really beautiful Japanese ambient record that I think is as good as the Eno ambient series, which are Holy Grails to me. But this was actually commissioned by the Shiseido company [the makeup brand] and given away with a perfume in 1984. I was reading this little note on Discogs where people are saying, 'Does yours still smell like the perfume?' The record itself is beautiful."

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Şenay – Honki Ponki, 1980

"I love the music in Istanbul, from the psychedelic stuff of the late '60s and early '70s, to the Turkish cosmic disco sound, and this one by Şenay is the ultimate Turkish disco record. There's even a cover of 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy.' She almost has a Donna Summer-like following in Turkey, so you can really tear a party up with her records."

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Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat, 1985

"Robert Wyatt is one of my favorite dudes. He has made so many records in so many different eras, and they're all good—he's the only artist I can think of that made a banging record in the late '60s and also has something from the past 10 years that I'd say is some of his best work. Because he has so much different stuff, there's always a new zone I settle into, and Old Rottenhat is where I'm currently at."

Zach Cowie even made us a playlist! You can listen on Spotify, just search "WeAreSweet."

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