Studio Tracks: Artist Dario Robleto on Being Inspired by Morrissey, Marianne Faithful, and Conor Oberst

Studio Tracks: Artist Dario Robleto on Being Inspired by Morrissey, Marianne Faithful, and Conor Oberst

"I often have to get into very specific states of mind to even handle some of the loaded materials I use: excavated bullet lead, bone, lockets of century old hair, glacial runoff, lovers' heartbeat recordings, et cetera," says Dario Robleto. "Music helps get me there." The Houston-based artist, whose exhibition "The Minor Chords Are Ours" is now on view at D'Amelio Terras in New York through April 16, tends to avoid upbeat music when working in his studio. "Because the materials and topics I'm drawn to generally deal with real historical stories of extreme states of grief, mourning, and death, it is part of my responsibility to get as close as humanly possible to understanding these stories and materials, and music enables this process to happen on an emotional level," he says. "But I want to stress that my work is always ultimately about survival and the creative response to loss and mourning, and the music I love also tends to reflect that as well."

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Here's what the artist is listening to now: 

MORRISSEY, "Late Night, Maudlin Street (Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2002)

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"A song about finally finding the gene for loneliness, but then deciding to put it back. Wait for the final moments of the song when you can hear a fan scream/gasp as she more than likely didn't quite make it onto the stage to embrace her idol and Morrissey asks, 'You OK?' Well, no."

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CONNIE FRANCIS, "You're Gonna Miss Me" (1959)
"If melancholy is passed down generationally, then many of our parents must have picked some of it up from this girl with a tear in her voice. I love trying to decipher my mother's (and her generation's) teen years through the notes or names they scribbled in the margins of the labels on their 45's."

THE RAVEONETTES, "Red Tan" (2005) 
"Christmas bells. At dusk. One of the ways to bear a Texas summer for me."

BASEMENT JAXX, "Feelings Gone (Featuring Sam Sparro)" (2009)
"Dance-floor realism at its finest."

SILVER JEWS, "I Remember Me" (2001)
"Can heart-brokenness be a philosophy? Makes me want to bottle it and label it 'A Tincture of Tears No One Remembers Shedding.'"

CONOR OBERST, "Danny Callahan" (2008)
"Be ready to welcome Sisyphus into your heart."

MARIANNE FAITHFUL, "Dear God, Please Help Me" (2008)
"Her voice is a measureless cavern and an ark that never arrives. Defiance and fragility almost perfectly balanced. Wait for the final outro refrain. I usually must have this section on when I'm handling the most delicate materials. Plus, it's what Morrissey would sound like if he was tougher."

ceo, "Come With Me" (2010)
"Ambiguity in a sweetly poetic form. Dissolves my ties to time every time."

TITUS ANDRONICUS, "The Battle of Hampton Roads" (2010)
"History's tear stains on ocean waves. Each generation adds another drop. This song reminds me that music can be an antidote to total forgetting. Epic and honest."

GIRLS, "Hellhole Ratrace" (2009)
"Uncomfortable emotionalism sung with the best dignity he can muster. There's nothing more punk rock to me than not giving up. After hearing, I always feel I want to play this to all the ears of the not yet born. I wish I could put headphones on all pregnant tummys."