Musicophilia

[Women of Post-Punk] ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 1′

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 27, 2009

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The first mix of a three-part series, Volume 1 of ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook’ is Musicophilia’s first mix-by-request, based on a 2-disc set I put together several years ago [here are ‘Volume Two‘ and ‘Volume Three‘].  Yet another reason I view “post-punk” as both distinct from and superior to “punk” is that it has little need for the traditional machismo of hard/arena/punk rock; indeed, it might be argued that a degree of political feminism and personal androgyny were prized or even required qualities of the ideal post-punk artist.  While I’m sure the ideal was rarely achieved, it would be hard to deny that seldom in its history has the Boys Club of Rock and Roll been more infiltrated by women as equal participants.  In a way, it seems slightly odd to explore “the role of women in post-punk” because I don’t want to ghettoise or marginalise it–women were so central that there is none of the feeling of searching for exceptions to the rule here: many of the artists featured are Big Names, who’d make any top-40 list of Most Important Post-Punk Bands.  However, singling women out only illustrates their centrality: you could play these mixes for a post-punk neophyte, and they would come away with a good sense of the breadth and depth of the fertile era/ethos; but they might not even notice, if you didn’t point it out, that the mix focuses on women.   So listen with your Gender Studies and Subaltern Political History caps on if you want–but you certainly won’t have to.  As long as you’re enjoying the music–and there’s no shortage of top-shelf tracks here–you’re getting what is important about the shifts post-punk brought to art-rock music.

‘Volume 1′ features performance artists, No-Wave inheritors, gentle proto-indie singer-songwriters, ska revivalists, dance-funk-disco popularizers, artsy weirdos, west-coast pop-punks, agit-prop art-punks, and more from between 1978 and 1983.  You’ll find Laurie Anderson; Delta 5; The Go-Go’s revealing a more pensive side; Raincoats deconstructing rock; X; Flying Lizards; Jane Hudson; Crass; Blondie; very early Sonic Youth; Selecter; Marine Girls; Lizzy Mercier-Descloux; and the lovely post-Young Marble Giants project Weekend.  Further volumes feature Family Fodder, Au Pairs, Pylon, The Slits, B-52s, Y Pants, Cocteau Twins, E.S.G., Lydia Lunch, The Pretenders and others.  These mixes make a nice companion to the ‘1981′ series, and I’ve avoided any track overlap with that or other post-punk mixes.  Download link and full tracklist (along with an update on upcoming mixes) after the “more…” link.  [Update: and here is ‘Volume Two‘ and ‘Volume Three‘]

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Lullaby No. 2′ (1903-2004)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 19, 2009

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The second ‘Lullaby’ mix in the ongoing Miniatures series is (like its predecessor, the early-70s-oriented ‘Les Miniatures‘ mixes and the ‘Miniatures : Post-Punk’ mixes) an exercise in maximum variety in the minimum span of time.  So in roughly thirty-one minutes, you’ll hear twenty tracks all less than two minutes in duration, showcasing spare guitar sketches, folk whispers, one-line stories, minor-key Brazilian jazz, a plaintive Country reproach on the state of your soul, and singer-songwriters and indie-rockers and Jamaican folk-singers and Psych-popsters singing songs of regret and nostalgia.  And that’s less than half of it.  It all adds up to a nap-length dream of sweet simplicity, a little reverie tinged with sadness, before a far happier day tomorrow.

Heard here in miniature are John Cage, Astrud Gilberto, Colin Newman, Mike Redmann, the Shaggs, Tom Waits, Hank Williams, Built to Spill, Sam Phillips, Neil Young, Vashti Bunyan, Stan Getz with Charlie Byrd, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Ravel, John Fahey, The Zombies and Uncle Tupelo, as well as folk musicians from Jamaica and Peru.  Full tracklist and download link are after “more…”.

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Recent Technical Difficulties

Posted in Uncategorized by Soundslike on January 17, 2009

If you’d been trying to download Volume 4 of the recent ‘Les Rythmes du Monde‘ mix set without success, a new download at a new link is now available.  Please let me know if you encounter further difficulties.

There have been a number of outages and  non-functioning download links lately.  Hopefully this is a temporary problem.  If it turns out to be systemic, does anyone have another upload/download service they would recommend?  I’ve liked Mediafire so far–they seem to be less restrictive of downloads, they don’t try to sell download privileges a la RapidShare, and they let me organise and keep reasonable track of my uploaded mixes without deleting those that are not frequently downloaded.  Any advice is helpful, thanks.

[Ethicophilia] Mp3 Blogging and Mixes: A Request For Your Thoughts

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on January 14, 2009

drum_bw1Recent events and a continuing uncertainty/curiosity have prompted me to do another talky post (the bulk of which I’ll hide behind the “more…” link).  I’m my own worst editor, so my aplogies in advance.   But I would really appreciate your participation in creating a discussion on the ethicality of mix-blogging, mp3-blogging, OOP-Only-versus-All-Music-Shared, the relationship between artists and listeners, and “who still pays for music”.  If you’re in a hurry, I’ll post a couple polls here first, and you can certainly leave it at that.  But if you have a minute, read on and then share your thoughts—even if they’re just “you’re a worrywort, get over yourself”.  My thanks, either way. (Polls, questions, and something like an essay after the “more…” link.)

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[Listophilia] Top Couple Dozen Non-2008 Discoveries of 2008

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on January 13, 2009

drum_bw1Most music geeks do an end-of-year Top 50 or 25 or 100 albums each year; without one, a year doesn’t really feel complete.  But I haven’t really had one since about 200o and 2001 (Erykah Badu’s ‘Mama’s Gun’ and Sam Phillips’ ‘Fan Dance’ at #1, if I remember).  I tried my hand at a 2008 mix (cheating in some 2007) but I couldn’t say it was a “best of,” in either the “authoritative objective” school (“important”) nor the “personal subjective” (“good”) approach; it’s just what I heard that stuck with me.  As far as 2008 goes, I have a lot yet to discover.

But 2008 was an incredibly fertile year for musical discovery of music from the other 115-odd years of recorded music.  Many of those discoveries mingled with old favorites in the mixes here at Musicophilia.  So in the interest of those for whom my new-to-me discoveries remain new-to-them, here is a Best-of-2008-Non-2008-Discoveries list (in no particular order).  Perhaps it will provide another opportunity to peruse the BUY. MUSIC. links to the right, and help keep me an honest music-pusher. . .  To be sure, Exiled Records (Portland, OR’s finest) and Dusty Groove were good to me last year. Please share with us some of your top non-2008 discoveries of 2008 in the comments section–we’re in this addiction together.

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[Mega-mix] The Best of ‘Les Rythmes du Monde’ (1977-1981)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 12, 2009

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Note: Volume 4 has been down, and has been replaced with a new upload and a new download link.

‘Le Meilleur de Les Rythmes du Monde” represents the natural progression in the compilations of the Musique du Monde label from the late 60s/early 70s to the late 70s/early 80s.  Funk bass, latin percussion, soul breaks, electronic and musique concrete experimentation, sound library and soundtrack string flourishes, dub production, perfect-pop tunefulness, Kraut-rock drive—these are the key ingredients of the earlier ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ compilations.  And these sources make up the DNA of ‘Les Rythmes du Monde,’ as it mutates into disco, electro-pop, New Wave, post-punk and electro-disco.  If you know you love Giorgio Moroder, you’ll find a feast to devour here—all the vocoders, four-on-the-floor beats, sexuality and sensuality, stories of robot love, trips through outer space, and comic book science you could want.  But these mixes are not kitschy, so if you don’t know if you love Moroder, you don’t know if you can lose yourself in the beat—this mix will try its best to sway you, and it may well sweep you off your feet.  This is cool as cool as the iciest post-punk—and twice as fun as most.  It’s a 4xLP set, featuring over 200 minutes of music, much of it beatmatched; fifty-two artists and fifty three tracks from twelve countries and four years, 1977-1981.  It’s my biggest single-shot undertaking since the ‘1981‘ set, a long while in the making.  I hope you’ll enjoy it, and pass it on to friends who need to see the (disco-ball-refracted laser) light.

Italians do it better with il maestro Giorgio Moroder twice, and further featuring his indelible production for Three Degrees, Donna Summer, Munich Machine, and Sparks.   Telex are here, as well as related projects Transvolta and Electronic System; and fellow Belgians Trevor and Geoff Bastow, and pre-Honeymoon Killers Aksak Maboul.  Many of Daft Punks French forefathers are here:  Moon Birds, Space Art, Droids, Roland Bocquet, Jean-Phillippe Goude, Heldon, the elusive Black Devil, Venus Gang and Francis Rimbert.  Germany brings us godfathers Kraftwerk and Can (from their underrated late work), with  Tangerine Dream’s Peter Baumann-crafted Leda, Gina X Performance and Liaisons Dangereuses.  From Japan, Akira Sakata, Yellow Magic Orchestra and solo work from Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono.  Brits found here include Human League splitters B.E.F. and pseudonymic League Orchestra Unlimited; as well as Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, This Heat (with the seminal “24-Track Loop”), Ultravox’s John Foxx, XTC’s Andy “Mr.” Partridge, and Tortoise-blueprinting Brian EnoGrace Jones is here (Jamaican-American), along with South Africa’s Hot R.S. (with an unlikely but amazing cover of “In A Gadda Da Vida,”) Australia’s Essendon Airport, Canadian proto Hi-NRGers Lime, and the Soviets Zodiac.   The USA rounds it out with heros Patrick Cowley, Prince, Marvin Gaye, Hamilton Bohannon, Funkadelic, and Suicide; with lesser knowns Industry (whose psycho proto-jungle will blow your mind), Chromium, and hardly least, Arthur Russel’s Loose Joints.  This set is dedicated to my friends at the Rhythm Room, who’ve spun this web for years, and without whom I would’ve spent years in the musical wilderness without any of this music.  Let me know if you enjoy these mixes, and if you’re already in the know with these “Rythmes,” I’d love to hear any suggestions for further exploration.  Full tracklist, sleeve notes, reissue notes and FOUR download links (with complete album art) follow “more…”.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Lullaby No. 1′ (1957-2004)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 5, 2009

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While rather more ambitious things are afoot, I thought we could start the new year on a mellow note.   So the ‘Miniatures‘ series is continued with ‘Lullaby No. 1,’ the first of two such mixes currently completed.  The structure is the same here as on previous ‘Miniatures’ mixes: two-minutes-or-less track lengths, and mixes under forty-five minutes.  For the most part eschewing the post-punk sounds and Musique du Monde miasma of the previous ‘Miniatures’ incarnations, this mix follows its title with songs drawn mostly from the quiet, spare worlds of folk and singer-songwriter music, sprinkled with softer samplings of the avant-garde, indie rock, traditional “world” folk music, and even a little proto-punk.  So while this mix mostly whispers, it does so in a Musicophilia-style breadth of musical languages.

In just under thirty-one minutes, you’ll hear 21 tracks from those you’d predict, like Nick Drake, Jeremy Enigk (from his ‘Return of the Frog Queen,’ a minor chamber-pop masterpiece you shouldn’t overlook due to emo associations), Bob Dylan, Big Star, Syd Barrett, Willie Nelson, Low, Mark Kozelek, Leo Kottke, and Cat Power; and also from some you might not expect, like the Modern Lovers, Bjork, a Burmese choir, a Bali gamelan orchestra, Can, Moondog, Tyrannocaurus Rex, and Felt.  Download link and tracklist after the “more…” link.

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Three Months On. . .

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on January 3, 2009

One-quarter year in, and it’s been a heck of a trip so far.  There’s been so much greater a response than I ever considered possible, and what began as “just a repository for old mixes” has become a real project, something that’s made a habit of which I was almost embarrassed seem worthwhile and quasi-respectable.  Even my girlfriend has said she approves of my “time well wasted”.  Three months, nearly 16,000 visits, 3,400 mixes heard, 21 mixes and albums posted, dozens of comments and links.  I thank each and every one of you who has listened, downloaded, commented, corresponded, told friends, and linked to or blogged about the project.  Your participation makes what could otherwise be a rather solitary hobby into something that feels like a community undertaking, and I encourage anyone to talk to me about cross-posts, guest-mixing, co-blogging, or any other project we can come up with.  I’ve got a lot planned, nearly 20 mixes nearing completion or under way, so I hope the well won’t dry up any time soon, as long as people trust their ears to mine.  This love of music is that much better when it’s shared.  As always, comments are very much appreciated, so let me know what you’d like to see next, or suggest ideas, make requests, etc.  Click the “more…” link for a visual summary of all the mixes issued thus far in chronological order, and a sneak-peak of what’s soon to come.  Check here and here for more information about Musicophilia in general.  Thanks, and I hope you’re enjoying the music.

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