5 Songs that inspired Michael Sele

The Beauty of Gemina's mastermind presents five tracks that influenced his art.

A warm welcome to a Weekly5 special edition

Today, it won’t be me who recommends five songs but a guest writer. To celebrate (over) 150 subscribers to the Weekly5 newsletter, I asked Michael Sele, the mastermind of The Beauty of Gemina, if he would present music that has significance in his life and influenced his work.

I first encountered The Beauty of Gemina on a sampler back in 2008. Shadow Dancer was unlike anything I ever heard. Since then, I’ve been closely following them. This dense structure, the hypnotic repetition, this omnipotence surrounding the sound were a pure fascination. Their distinct style was designated as “Gemina sound.”

Founded in 2006, the band of Michael Sele had a breakthrough with their first single, Suicide Landscape – making them the spearhead of Swiss dark wave. The Beauty of Gemina’s first four albums remained in the obscure underbelly of the gothic scene.

For me, songs like Kings Men Come, June 2nd, and Kingdoms of Cancer especially were emotional anchors.

Then, in 2013, The Beauty of Gemina released The Myrrh Sessions, an acoustic interpretation of their previous songs. To this day, it’s astonishing how Sele and his fellow musicians managed to recreate the sound’s essence.

In hindsight, it’s obvious that the acoustic experiment had an enormous impact on the band’s fate. In the following albums, Ghost Prayers and Minor Sun, Michael Sele was looking to combine the old and the new sound. Although the two albums certainly featured some great songs, they didn’t fit quite right. And covering Calvin Russell’s Crossroads seemed like a perfect metaphor of The Beauty of Gemina’s state.

I'm standing at the crossroads
There are many roads to take
But I stand here so silently
For fear of a mistake

Ultimately, Michael Sele stripped most of the opulent arrangements. With Flying with the Owl, he created a very sinister and melancholic album that was clearly more on the acoustic side.

Last year’s Skeleton Dreams is more multifaced, featuring driven tracks like Dark Suzanne and creeping songs as I Come to Grief or Rainbow Man. Drawing from blues, folk, country, Americana, rock, and wave, it’s finally the perfect amalgamation of their earlier work’s atmosphere and musical variety.

After dealing with major health issues, Sele’s writing on Skeleton Dreams also feels more personal than previous records. The ‘I’ transformed from a lyrical persona to something that speaks from one soul to another.

Listening to The Beauty of Gemina’s full body of work, the development is astonishing. One could doubt that it’s still the same band. But actually, they are. And at the same time, they’re not.

The evolution of the band shows that Michael Sele has a colorful musical background. For Weekly5, he opens his personal songbook and presents five songs.

He deliberately chose only songs from pop and rock genres. “Including classical music, jazz, popular instrumental music, chanson and even world music would have exceeded this scope,” he says. “The idea was to choose a key song from each decade, which accompanied me and certainly also shaped me.”

David Bowie – Starman

This song from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust time was my door opener into the gigantic musical and artistic cosmos of David Bowie. I have followed his entire oeuvre and have bought and collected most of his recordings.

Unlike many of his contemporaries or other pop and rock stars, his work, except for a few weaker albums, has not faded until today, is of incredible quality and depth.

U2 – Bad

The band around Bono and The Edge I had at the Live Aid concert in 1985 for the first time really noticed, especially the guitar playing and The Edge's sounds simply had an enormous aura and attraction.

Albums like The Joshua Tree and then especially Achtung Baby were and still are rock history classics and will endure.

Björk – Army of Me

With the exceptional artist Björk, I associate on the one hand the London of the 90s. Again and again, I was at that time in the English metropolis; the club scene was great. Also, there were countless CD stores. There were countless things to discover.

Then, of course, it reminds me of the good old MTV times with Ray Cokes and all the legendary presenters.

Archive – Again

The musical grab bag around the masterminds Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths are among the very few bands who have saved this conceptual power into the new millennium, which bands like Pink Floyd invented, established, and mastered absolute perfection.

Archive's songs and arrangements also bristle with enormous musicality and sophistication. They are, despite all the electronics, latest recording technology and possibilities, above all accomplished musicians.

José Gonzales – With The Ink Of A Ghost

When you've already heard so much music in your life, attended countless concerts and also played yourself, it doesn't get any easier to get involved with new artists. But the Swedish singer and songwriter José Gonzales is certainly one of them.

His style, his reduction to the essential and his fine sense for atmosphere and subtle songwriting make him unique!

Thanks to Michael Sele for the time to compile the songs. Please support him and his band by listening to their music or buying merchandise.

And thanks to all of you, dear subscribers, for sticking around and help Weekly5 to accomplish its mission: Sharing the passion for music.

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