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The Playlist Special: Clinton Cerejo

Anathaal founder and fusion multi-instrumentalist Clinton Cerejo’s playlist includes a groovy Peter Gabriel gem, a Stevie Wonder classic and a Porcupine Tree staple

Rolling Stone India Mar 29, 2016
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Clinton Cerejo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Clinton Cerejo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Composer and founder of the fusion trio Ananthaal, Clinton Cerejo grew up in a regular Christian household where the family would listen to Jim Reeves during Christmas time. His earliest memory of having his own music to listen to was in 1985 when his Muscat-returning uncle got him a Sony Walkman as a present. Says Cerejo, “He gave me a few cassettes too and one of them was the Beatles’ greatest hits. I remember hearing that tape backwards and forwards over and over till I knew every note and every lyric. I was introduced to a lot of other varied genres once I got into college and met some musical ly-minded fr iends.” The songs he picks as his biggest influences are predominantly a mix of the best of rock and pop from the Eighties and Nineties.

1. “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” Sting, 1993 

I was so influenced by the entire album Ten Summoner’s Tales when it came out. I’d play this song in particular on repeat. I think Sting was the first pop artist that made me really sit up and take notice of his backing band as well.

2. “Digging in the Dirt” Peter Gabriel, 1992 

Peter Gabriel was always prolific as a songwriter but this was when he really pushed his limits and started going left field but in such a groovy way. I just love the little twists and turns this song takes. It goes from really dark and slimy in the verses to really harmonically open territory in the choruses.

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3. “Art of Survival” Ivan Lins and The Metropole Orchestra, 2009 

This is one song in an absolutely stellar album called Regencia. What I always loved about this song from the first time I heard it, is the chord voicings in the chorus that are so refreshing and unexpected in an otherwise seemingly straightforward song.

4. “Too High” Stevie Wonder, 1973 

This song in many ways marked the beginning for me, of a very serious learning phase in my life. And this is the opening song of the album that truly changed my musical perspective forever – Innervisions.

5. “Babylon Sisters” Steely Dan, 1980 

When I first heard Steely Dan, it completely flew over my college boy head. It took several years of persistent listening to come to appreciate what they’re about. What I love about this song is that even if you play it today, over thirty five years after it was recorded, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that sounds so amazing in terms of everything ”“ the arrangements, the recording.

6. “107 Steps” Björk, 2000 

Björk has always been visionary for me and I don’t think there’s a music producer worth his or her salt who grew up in the Nineties that wasn’t influenced in some way by her music. I heard this album without having watched the film at first and it sounded amazing. Months later when I watched the film, this song took on a completely different meaning for me.

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7. “Blackest Eyes” Porcupine Tree, 2002 

If there’s a progressive rocker that I absolutely truly dig, it’s Steven Wilson. I hear so much of the early Beatles creeping into all his songwriting. And the way he combines that with his signature riffs is so special.

8. “Come Alive” Foo Fighters, 2007 

I’ve always been a Dave Grohl fan and for me this album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is not just my favorite Foo album but one of my favorite albums. The way this song starts so small and just builds and builds is absolutely crazy.

9. “Freedom is a Voice” Bobby McFerrin & Russell Ferrante, 1995 

This incredible collaboration between one of the greatest jazz vocalists [McFerrin] and one of the finest keyboard maestros of the jazz world [Ferrante] make this album so absolutely mental. This song is so gorgeous because of the rich tapestry of harmonic voicings Ferrante weaves behind McFerrin’s vocals.

10. “Prayer for the Dying” Seal, 1995 

This song absolutely blew me away in terms of production and songwriting and only cemented why we all love the combination of Trevor Horn and Seal. It was also instrumental in helping me discover its mix engineer Steve Fitzmaurice with whom I’ve had a very long and fruitful working relationship.

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