12.04.13

Words by: Ruth Saxelby

The 10 best songs for Sunday morning, according to Mary Anne Hobbs

Radio DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is responsible for spreading the good word about much of the UK’s now established electronic music scene, from Burial to James Blake. With an ear for the experimental and a deep passion for championing new music, she ruled the waves at Radio 1 for 14 years before a primetime spell at Xfm in 2011/12. Switching things up at the beginning of this year, Mary Anne took over the breakfast slot on BBC 6 Music where her renowned love of dubstep rubs up against the sometime surprising records that have shaped her life. Here Mary Anne gives us a taste of the show by selecting her favourite sounds for Sundays.

  1. Kode 9 & The Spaceape – Sine Of The Dub [Hyperdub]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “In at the deep end. Sine Of The Dub was the debut single from Kode 9 & The Spaceape and simultaneously the foundation stone of one the most important independent labels in the UK, Hyperdub. A humid, intense and completely mind-blowing reconfiguration of Prince’s Sign Of The Times. If this record does not thrill you, we can’t be friends.”
  2. Nick Drake – Northern Sky [Island]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “One of the joys of re-imagining the Weekend Breakfast space for 6 Music is that I have an opportunity to share the music of many artists that I have such great passion for, for the very first time on the radio. Nick Drake’s Northern Sky resonates so blissfully, when I play it on a Sunday as the dawn breaks over our Salford studios.”
  3. James Blake – Retrograde [Universal]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “I was the first person ever to play James Blake’s music on the radio. As a broadcaster, I care especially deeply about those artists I’ve nurtured at the very outset of their careers. They feel like first-born children. Thus, I am thrilled to see James’s star in the ascendent right now. The uniquely beautiful atmosphere, suspense and fine detail of his work is so perfectly pitched in this single.”
  4. Alice Coltrane Journey In Satchidananda [Impulse]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “Alice was the wife of John Coltrane. She plays the harp like a wild angel, with the same kind of intuitive energy and elemental freedom that Jimi Hendrix played the guitar. I’ve bought every record of hers that I can find. ‘Journey In Sachidananda‘ was written as a homage to her Swami… I think we all need a Swami on Sundays.”
  5. Mala – Calle F [Brownswood]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “Mala is one of the founder members of the DMZ label and club night, and also one half of underground icons Digital Mystikz. He recently made a pilgrimage out to Cuba to work with native musicians whose sound had deeply inspired him. Calle F is my favourite track from his album ‘Mala In Cuba’, the horns are just astounding.”
  6. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
    _Mary Anne Hobbs:_ “My brilliant production team at 6 Music, Kate Cocker and Jack Howson, laugh at me when I say (in dismay) every week in the studio, “all my favourite people are dead.” That’s not strictly true of course. Still, if I were to make a list, Jeff Buckley would be close to the top.”
  7. Burial – Fostercare [Hyperdub]
    _Mary Anne Hobbs:_ “Burial changed the electronic landscape in the UK for all time. ‘Fostercare’ is one of the most tempestuously beautiful of all his pieces. I first heard his work in the Mix that Kode 9 laid down as part of my Dubstep Warz special on BBC Radio1 in January 2006. I admire the way he chooses to live, far away from the media glare, it keeps his artistic vision exceptionally pure.”
  8. Misty In Roots – Mankind (You A Sinner) [Nacksving]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: This live recording from 1979 has a profound spoken word introduction. John Peel loved it so much that he had it embroidered in cross-stitch and framed, and he hung it above his living room door at Peel Acres. It pricks all of my senses. Every time I hear it, I shed a tear for John. I miss him so much.”
  9. Flying Lotus feat. Gonja Sufi – Testament [Warp]
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “This was the first recording I heard featuring the voice of Gonja Sufi, and it has such a magic. I toured with Sufi coast-to-coast across America in 2011. It was amazing to see little children at airports gravitate towards him and completely fall in love with him. He’s an artist of extremes, moving between absolutely primal performances, and the most tender recorded moments, like this.”
  10. John Cage – 4’33”
    Mary Anne Hobbs: “Never underestimate the power of silence.”

Listen to Mary Anne Hobbs on the Weekend Breakfast show on 6 Music, every Saturday and Sunday from 7-10am (plus here’s what she has in store this weekend and next).