Musicophilia

[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Nouveau Son’ – Vol. 4 (1969-1976)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 18, 2014

On my latest trip to Paris, in a little hole-in-the-wall in the Montparnasse, I chanced upon another forgotten compilation from the venerable Musique du Monde label, which has also given us the ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series, ‘Les Miniatures,’ ‘Le Mystere de la Musiqe,’ and ‘Les Rythmes du Monde. . .  Ok, I admit it.  There is no Musique du Monde, sad to say (nor do I make it to Paris very often, sadder to say).  Truth is, these are some of the hundreds of tracks I’ve earmarked over the last few years (along with a few old favorites I never mixed before).  Making mixes with any regularity hasn’t been feasible, but I’ve continued to seek out new music as voraciously as ever.  Over the last few years I’ve had the good fortune to live in Portland, Rome, New York, Chicagoland and now New England, and I’ve collected the tracks I feature at Musicophilia at some of my favorite shops (Exiled, Soul Food, Rockit Scientist R.I.P., Dusty Groove, Weirdo Records).  These are some of the tracks that that have really stuck with me, and I think anyone who is still listening will be pleased.  Those unbelievable beats and hooks are there, as usual (some of the best, in fact), and there’s an emphasis on the synthesizer, but on the whole ‘Le Nouveau Son’ is an enchanting, mysterious an moody, late night affair.  The second disc especially enters deep into goosebump territory, the realm of the timeless.  I hope you enjoy–spread the word, and as always, please support these artists and the labels that reissue their work.   Tracklist and download after the “more…” link.  Edit: download link corrected.

Artists featured include Todd Rundgren, Silver Apples, Ananda Shankar, Eroc, 10cc, Amon Duul II (sounding rather post-punk, a la Television), John Cale, Syreeta (with Stevie Wonder), Duncan Browne, Hall & Oates, Sensations Fix, Catherine Ribeiro, Francisco (who also does quite amazing abstract work), Brian Eno, Placebo (whose Marc Moulin is the Zelig of Belgian art rock/jazz–look him up and you’ll see what I mean), Harry Nilsson, Marcos Valle, Roxy Music, Wolfgang Dauner, D.R. Hooker, These Trails, Tim Buckley, Franco Battiato, Michael Chapman, Jacqueline Thibault, and Comus (sounding nothing like you’ll expect, if you’ve only heard their first LP).

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[Singer-Songwriter] – ‘Their Hearts Had Six Strings’ – Vol. 3 & 4 (1967-1976)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on November 29, 2013

Three years on from the first two volumes (‘His Heart Had Six Strings‘ and ‘Her Heart Had Six Strings‘) here are the third and fourth volumes in Musicophilia’s singer-songwriter series exploring the surprising depth and alluring warmth of the post-folk-revival scene as artists came to trust their own voices and the ability of the guitar-and-voice core to take on wide-ranging influences.  While the music is certainly lovely, there’s a lot of sophistication and variety on display here, with roughly equal parts American and British participation drawing from their unique but intermingling traditions.  These two volumes feature 35 more brilliant artists/acts, some very well known, others prized jewels, and yet others virtually unknown.  I hope you’ll enjoy, and pass it on!  Stream, download with artwork and full tracklist after the “more…” link.  Update: had the wrong download link before–too out of the habit, forget how this is done!  Corrected now.

To all those still sticking with Musicophilia as we’ve gone from a mix every couple weeks to a couple every year: thanks for listening!  I hope these sounds will add a little something to your end of the year.   As always, I’m always listening to as much music as I can, and making mixes in my mind.  I’ll do my best to share all that “real life” allows!  As always, I greatly appreciate any tips on artists or albums you think me and other Musicophiliacs would enjoy!

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[One-Off] – ‘The Gold and the Silver Dream’ (1971-1982) (After Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on June 10, 2013

Hello!  Musicophilia is at this point mostly a memory–but it’s back from the dead, at least for a little while!  If you’re reading this, thanks for remembering.  Architecture grad school is in the rear-view after three years of all-consuming work, so I finally have a little time for mix making.  I’ve been listening and buying music as much as I could, and I’ve started (in my mind, at least) a dozen mixes, so who knows, maybe life will allow the opportunity to finish them.  Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ was release two days after I graduated, and listening to it (again and again) has felt like a celebration.  It’s an album tailor-made for fans of this blog, connecting the dots between so many sonic obsessions that are the motivation behind the Musicophilia mixes.  So it seemed only natural–and honestly, I couldn’t shake the desire, even in the midst of finishing a thesis–to honor the album with a mix.

‘The Gold and the Silver Dream’ isn’t a Daft Punk influences mix, and it isn’t meant to correspond to the album in any direct way.  Instead, I put it together as a way of spending more time in the space ‘Random Access Memories’ occupies.  It’s filled with the same warm, wonderful sounds of funky, melancholic robots skirting around the edges of the discotheque, alternately wondering what life’s about and deciding it’s all about forgetting to worry what it’s all about. There’s space disco, library funk, sophisticated rhythmic orchestrations, savvy art-rock, psych-poppers and proggers gone dancefloor, and a singer-songwriter or two–all meeting in those blissful sonic years 1971-1982 from which Daft Punk brewed their latest potions.  So if you like Musicophilia’s faux-vintage ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series, or the dance-oriented ‘Les Rythmes du Monde‘ mixes, or the spooky ‘Le Mystere de la Musique‘ series, you probably love ‘Random Access Memories’ and I think you’ll really enjoy this mix.  Stream it or download it after the “more” link.

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[One-Off] – ‘Zygotic’ (After the Flaming Lips’ ‘Embryonic’) (2009)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on November 9, 2011

I would never have guessed I’d be making a mix in response to a Flaming Lips album, in 2009.  But the Lips, purveyors of grinning, gleeful quirk-pop, festooned by confetti and bunny suits during the last decade–a recipe with initial charm but diminishing returns–have, according to Wayne Coyne, killed off their “former selves . . . Our more crafty or calculated selves. Our less brave selves . . . Our less spontaneous selves”.  Thus in their 26th year, the band has created what I feel is their strongest work ever: ‘Embryonic,’ (which can be streamed here at NPR).  I was so floored by the strength of the album–a total surprise, including its staggering cover–that rather than trying to review the album, I felt compelled to respond in mix form, with ‘Zygotic‘.  The Flaming Lips’ new album borrows from the production techniques and stylistic eclecticism of their previous best, ‘Zaireeka,’ and from the manic energy and freak-out distortion of their 80s and early-90s albums.  The stylishness and cinematic scope of their most acclaimed album, ‘The Soft Bulletin,’ is channeled into a darker, sparer, more visceral direction.  Though there are moments of silliness and optimism, most of the cartoonish clowning (“She Don’t Use Jelly,” “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”) and scrubbed-clean brightness of their mainstream successes is gone.  The lyrics remain largely abstract, but a more lifelike character voice is conveyed, one wrestling with the ambiguities of humanity that can be “evil” but can “be gentle, too, if they decide”.   It all adds up to their most sonically vigorous, sometimes most soothing, sometimes most ferocious, and certainly most emotionally evocative work to date.

Looking back, I see that 1997′s ‘Zaireeka‘ was a truly mind-altering experience, formative in my expectations of what music could do in terms of sound, increasing my appreciation of how sounds could be produced and arranged on a record.  Without it, I doubt I would have traveled as readily during the next couple of years into Can, 70s Miles Davis, early Reich, Faust, Silver Apples, early dub, or the more experimental side of post-punk–to say nothing of music concrete favorites like Bernard Parmegiani or Pierre Henry a few years later.  ‘Embryonic‘ proves the link was no fluke, as it reflects a deep connection with many of the sounds that are central to the Musicophilia aesthetic–to the music they propelled me toward.  ‘Zygotic‘ is not meant to suggest, however, that Coyne & Co. have created a pastiche; the mix isn’t an attempt at sonic genealogy, and I wouldn’t claim that any of this music is definitely a direct inspiration for the Lips’ resurgence.  ‘Embryonic‘ is imbued with a here-and-now quality, and it maintains a wit and vocabulary that is uniquely Flaming Lips–ultimately it sounds like nothing else.  Rather, ‘Zygotic‘ is primarily intended as an echo (or pre-echo, as it were) of the spirit of the album; and only secondarily is it an attempt to illustrate the sound-heritage from which the Lips may have drawn inspiration.

I’ve followed the overall form of the album: two halves totaling roughly 70 minutes, in 18 parts, all interlinked with repeating motifs and sounds.  I’ve also attempted to match the careful blend of the beautiful and the ugly, the ambient and the massively heavy, that characterizes ‘Embryonic‘.  The result is hopefully a nice counterpart to the album–but certainly not a replacement for it, and I highly recommend you buy it from the band or at your local record shop.  If you need some convincing for the download, I’ll break down the mixes after the “more…” link, along with the full tracklist.  Personally, I recommend that you surprise yourself and listen to the mixes first, and then look at the artists and tracklist later.  So, if you trust my mixing heretofore, here is the download link.

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[Singer-Songwriter] – ‘Her Heart Had Six Strings’ – Vol. 2 (1965-1977)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 23, 2010

Finally following up ‘His Heart Had Six Strings,’ here’s the second volume in Musicophilia’s singer-songwriter series, representing the women of the movement as it expanded through the 70s from its neo-traditional folk revival roots.  Like the men on the first volume, there’s perhaps more range here than might be expected, subtly incorporating elements of the gestalt of the late 60s and early 70s, from jazz to folk to even a touch of Stockhausian electronics and avant-garde experimentalism.  The overall palate certainly emphasizes blues, purples, greens: the emotional intimacy and sensitivity for which the genre is known.  But there are explorations of both darker and sunnier territory to match the longing and the hopes.  To be sure, the central strength of the singer-songwriter approach was that it suited the voices, literal and figurative, of men and women equally.  This is simply music about being human, seeking universality through the honest expression of the personal and specific.  Download with artwork and full tracklist after the “more…” link.

I’ll forgo the usual breakdown of specific artists, and instead apologize for the mothballing of Musicophilia over most of the last year, if anyone is out there who noticed.  I can only say that almost every aspect of my life has changed radically in the last year, mostly for the best (happily married, graduate school in traditional architecture) but with the result that I’ve had almost no time for even listening to music, much less making mixes.  I certainly miss it, and sharing its joys through this blog.  Hopefully somehow I’ll manage to make a few mixes during the new year.  Regardless, I hope Musicophilia continues to be found by a trickle of new folks, and isn’t too dependent on “new” work, but rather acts as an archive of worthwhile listening.  Do check out the “back pages” and see what might be new to you, and pass it on.  Many thanks for your kindnesses, and I wish you all the best in the new year.

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[Singer-Songwriter] – ‘His Heart Had Six Strings,’ Vol. 1 (1968-1977)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on April 11, 2010

Say the words “singer-songwriter” to some music geeks, and you may induce a Pavlovian cringe.  It’s a much-abused term, no doubt, often applied to every M.O.R. woman to sit at a piano and wail, every goateed doofus to wallow over his mother-of-pearl-inlaid Taylor or Ovation.  But taken (as a start) as a natural progression out of 1960s folk revivalism into music with more potential for both sonic breadth and popular appeal, it is one of the bedrocks of the greatest decade in popular music, the equal of funk or post-punk or Krautrock.  It’s sometimes spare and unadorned, sometimes verges on baroque pop, and often brings in jazz and chamber music touches to become something that just doesn’t fit under a more accurately descriptive ready-made label.  This mix is intended as evidence that if handled with care, a few unabashedly poetic lyrics, a little soul-searching confession, some sing-along melodicism, and an acoustic guitar can add up to a very good thing.  ‘His Heart Had Six Strings, Vol. 1‘ features (as the title suggests) male songwriters; it will be followed up soon with a feminine counterpart–and probably a sequel, since I left so many favorites of this volume.

Starting things off are Duncan Browne and the Zombies Colin Blunstone; both excel at more spare and introspective sounds (please don’t miss Blunstone’s heartbreaking chamber masterpiece, ‘One Year‘), but are featured here in a more uptempo approach.  I haven’t avoided the well-known and the beloved favorites–Cohen, Simon, Dylan, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, and (stretching the term a bit) Eno and Kevin Ayers are all here.  But fewer may know Canadian wit Lewis Furey, or Uruguayan hero Eduardo Mateo (of the beautiful El Kinto).  I hope you all know Arthur Russell, but if you missed the most recent facet of his work as revealed in Audika’s ‘Love Is Overtaking Me,’ you’re in for an unexpectedly treat (if anything can really be unexpected from Russell).  Frenchman Areski Belkacem is best known for his work with Brigitte Fontaine, but his first solo album may be even more adventurously mysterious; his countryman Henri Texier diverted from his Mingus-influenced jazz bass work for a trio of truly unique and accessibly experimental albums of wordless vocals and bass-driven rhythms that call to mind Morocco or Turkey as much as France.  Procol Harum is far from a one-hit wonder, and the aching voice-and-organ “Too Much Between Us” is a longtime favorite of mine.  Leo Kottke‘s resonant voice is underrated, as is his often funky second album, ‘Mudlark‘.  Curt Boettcher (of The Millennium/Sagittarius) takes a slightly more stripped-down approach to his sunshine pop, Jorge Ben brings a little Brasilian sun of his own, and Bill Fay makes sure the End Times will sound good.    Download with artwork and full tracklist after the “more…” link.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ Volume Three (1972-1977)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on October 6, 2009

Finishing up the ‘Le Mystère de la Musique‘ trilogy (for now) after ‘Volume Un‘ and ‘Volume Deux,’ I’m happy to present ‘Volume Trois,’ which visits a darker, moodier, but no less catchy territory.  As with previous volumes, the focus here is the mid-70s, and the music which links the ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ and ‘Les Miniatures‘ sounds with the ‘1981‘ and other post-punk work.   ‘Le Mystère’ blends art-rock, sophisticated funk, and artful soul with elements of dub, songwriter-noir, subtle fusion jazz, and even minimalist country, alongside music that belies the “post” in “post-punk”.

At the nexus of all the sounds on ‘Volume Trois’ is the proto-post-punk music (going to show how inaccurate the “post-punk” moniker really is) of Roxy Music and Pere Ubu, but things quickly expand far afield in terms of genre while maintaining these artists’ artfulness.  David Axelrod kicks it all of with some deep-groove funk that is simply irresistible.  Big Star and Bob Marley (in an instrumental dub treatment) brings things into the nighttime.  Stevie Wonder carries on the contemplative mood, while Ennio Morricone adds a dainty chamber orchestra touch.  Jorge Ben‘s emotional voice soars above his psychedelic orchestral tropicalia (which is in the emotional tradition of the music tristeza of Astrud Gilberto).  Willie Nelson is equally emotive, in his understated fashion, and Miles Davis‘ last great group adds fire to heartbreak in an incredible tribute to Duke Ellington–stunningly and completely timeless music, it exists outside of all genre boundaries.  Lard Free provide an abstract electronic transition into the unbelievably soulful simplicity of trans-Carribean-South-American-British group Cymande.  This is accessible music, but it is in no way shallow, and I hope you find the combination of sounds rewards return visits.   Full tracklist and download link for this LP-length mix (with full “sleeve art” and “liner notes”) at the “more…” link.  If you like what’s going on here at Musicophilia, please take a moment to participate in our 1st Birthday poll and CD giveaway drawing.  Your feedback is very much appreciated!

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ Volume Two (1974-1977)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on September 21, 2009

Following the first volume of the ‘Le Mystère de la Musique‘ series, here’s ‘Volume Deux,’ which continues to explore the music that links the seemingly disparate sonic strands on which Musicophilia mixes have focused–especially early 70s funk- and art-rooted music and late 70s/early 80s post-punk.  This mix retains the off-center, mysterious quality of the series, but is perhaps a little funkier and more pop-oriented, featuring some very catchy music indeed.

Volume Two‘ begins and ends with quiet ruminations on the joys and pitfalls of love from Kevin Ayers and long-lost German chanteuse Sibylle Baier.  The nebulous territory between “Prog” and post-punk, “proto-punk” and new pop is mapped out here by artists like David Bowie, (very early, very catchy) Laurie Anderson, and Television, with Brian Eno and This Heat adding minimalist textural links.  French artists Emmanuelle Perrenin (usually a more pastoral musician, but here found creating a completely out-of-time hip-hop beat) and Albert Marcoeur add a touch of RIO sophistication.  Robert Wyatt approximates a New Orleans jazz funeral dirge through a lamp-lighted street, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers brings the big-beat  jazz-funk to close out Side A.  Luciano Cilio creates sensitive, minimal music that presages the understated experimentation of beautiful modern chamber group Penguin Cafe OrchestraAugustus Pablo floats his famous melodica over one of the funkiest dub tracks ever made.   Among the least known artists found here, Canadian Lewis Furey struts confidently through his sophisticated art-pop that envelopes many of the sounds found elsewhere on the LP–jazzy drumming and brass arrangements, funky bass, pop harmonies, vibraphones and a sweet-and-sour wit.  Full tracklist and download link for this LP-length mix (with full “sleeve art” and “liner notes”) at the “more…” link.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ Volume One (1973-1977)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on September 15, 2009

The ‘Le Mystère de la Musique‘ series progresses the Musique du Monde label into the under-appreciated mid-70s, bridging the gap between the late-60s/early-70s ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ and ‘Les Miniatures‘ mixes and Musicophilia’s post-punk mixes.  Appropriately for a time that sits in the shadow of the more well-loved musical “peaks” before and after, ‘Le Mystère‘ explores a nocturnal, ambiguous territory that is perhaps more understated but also more bewitching than the other Musique LPs.  The fantastic beats are still featured, and the genre-eschewing, world-spanning ethos remains in place.  But there is a greater emphasis here on spaciousness, noirish shadow and light, and slow-boiling sexiness–on mystery.

Volume One‘ opens with three tracks–by Henri Texier, Joni Mitchell, and a very young but already ambitious Arthur Russell–that set the mysterious, unclassifiable tone of ‘Le Mystère‘.  Osama Kitajima amps things up with an avant-metal-cum-kabuki sound.  Musique concrete master Bernard Parmegiani provides an abstract interlude, while Lou Reed brings the first side to a close with a dose macabre humor.  Alan Parker and John Cameron, sound library kings, open Side B in a mellow grove, and Brigitte Fontaine and Areski echo Texier’s French-via-Central-Asian exoticism.  Italians Le Orme follow the direction laid out by Franco Battiato into sci-fi-tinged Prog that doesn’t need to show off its chops to be effective.  Sun Ra simmers one of the Arkestra’s funkier, more laid-back numbers, and Harmonia bridges to Iggy Pop‘s dark masterpiece “Nightclubbing”.  The untouchable Hamilton Bohannon closes the record with one of his sexiest, most intoxicating sophisticate-disco grooves, sending us off into late-night ecstasy.  Full tracklist and download link for this LP-length mix (with full “sleeve art” and “liner notes”) at the “more…” link.

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[One-Off] – ‘Still’ (1630-1999)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on June 30, 2009

Note:  Some listeners report getting an error when unpacking the .zip file containing the mix, leaving them with only “Part I”.  I found I had no problems using a freeware program like ExtractNow, but did get the error on one machine using the built-in unzip function of Windows Vista.  On Macs, the situation seems to be reversed–the built-in OS unzipping utility works, program(s) may not.  Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for visiting. I’ve added a new download link with a new zip here, which hopefully has none of these problems.

A majority of the music I share here at Musicophilia could be described as oriented around movement: the kinetic, sometimes frantic energy of post-punk; the rhythmic fluidity of the Musique du Monde-style blends of funk, jazz, Krautrock, sound library music, etc.; the space-disco march of the ‘Rhythmes du Monde‘ mixes; or the narrative journey through the dense, quasi-three-dimensional landscapes of the ‘Sensory Replication‘ series.  These are generally the sorts of music to which I listen most often.  But there is always a need for music that focuses inward, that slows our minds and draws our attention to the smallest, simplest details–for me such sounds remain my foundation, whatever far-flung branches my path through music takes.  This is the music found here in ‘Still‘.  This is a mix I could have made (and probably virtually did make) a decade earlier in my musical searching–but this, I hope, is a good thing, an indication that this is music that remains constantly evocative, elemental and essential.

There’s piano-based and fusion jazz, singer-songwriter balladry, harp- and flute-like instrumentation from Italy, Japan, Indonesia, England, and the Ivory Coast.  There’s neo-chamber music, modern compositional sounds, folk music of the South Pacific, and the generally unclassifiable.  But the common thread is a spaciousness, a carefulness, and a simplicity that I think makes everything coalesce.  Among the mostly well-loved artists are Dave Brubeck, Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, Moondog, Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Toumani Diabate, Colin Blunstone of the Zombies, Low, Keith Jarrett, and Arthur Russell.  Less known but no less beautiful are Renaissance composer Giovanni Maria Trabaci, Brigitte Fontaine & Areski, the Noday Family, L.S. Gelik, Rachel’s, and Gerald Bole.  This may not be Musicophilia’s most ambitious mix, but many of these are among my very favorite songs, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.  Full tracklist and the download link are at the “more…” link below.

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[Full Album] – Phantom Band (with Jaki Liebezeit) – ‘Phantom Band’ (1980)

Posted in Albums, Talking by Soundslike on June 21, 2009

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[UPDATE: Great news--the album is set to be reissued in 2010 on the Bureau B label (home of Faust, Cluster, Wolfgang Riechmann, et al) on CD and 180g LP, as per a representative of the label in the comments below.  If you downloaded and enjoyed the album, please support them and Jaki Liebezeit & Co. by buying the reissue when it's available.]

This is a very unusual post for Musicophilia, but it’s one I think needs to be made.  For the most part, the out-of-print albums I’d like people to hear are already shared at places like Mutant Sounds, Egg City Radio, the Library Hunt, Never Enough Rhodes or Decoder Blog.  My primary objective in sharing music at Musicophilia is to encourage the further discovery and support of featured artists, by getting you the listeners to make new purchases.  But for (very) out-of-print music, this is not an option–if you bought the overpriced LP on eBay nothing goes to the artist anyway–so all bloggers can hope for is to foment enough interest that a (legitimate) reissue eventually happens.  This is one of those cases of an album being severely out-of-print (going for $150+, if you can even find it for that; or on a similarly rare bootleg “twofer” CD), and amazingly this wonderful album doesn’t seem to have been shared on the blogosphere.  I simply ask that you support Jaki Liebezeit and Phantom Band by purchasing the one album that remains in print, 1984′s equally good ‘Nowhere.

Phantom Band, as featured at Musicophilia Daily and in the recent post-Can compilation here at Musicophilia, was Jaki Liebezeit’s principle ongoing project after Can.  On this, their first LP, they were in many ways a direct extension of Can, further developing the fusion of art-rock, Afrobeat and South American and African pop, reggae, spacey funk, and disco and electronic dance music that the former band originated on ‘Saw Delight‘ and ‘Out of Reach‘.  In my opinion, though, ‘Phantom Band is a stronger and more cohesive album than any of the late Can albums.  It’s definitely a better showcase of Can collaborator, vocalist and bassist Rosko Gee.  As I mentioned previously, it reminds me most of Hamilton Bohannon‘s warm-but-spooky disco-funk. It will also appeal to fans of the Rail Band, King Sunny Ade, Magazine, Maximum Joy, A Certain Ratio, Tony Allen or Fela Kuti, ET Mensah, fusion-era Miles Davis; 70s soundtrack work by Alain Goraguer or Roy Budd; or the funkier side of 70s sound library recording, like Alan Parker‘s ‘Afro-Rock’ LP or Janko Nilovic‘ ‘Supra Pop Impressions’.  The music is shimmering, serpentine, catchy, joyous and often wonderfully melodic.  It is rich with delectable beats, judiciously polyrhythmic percussion, slinky and bouncing basslines, glistening Rhodes and shimmering synths, minimalist funk rhythm guitar and Karoli-like leads, and unexpected flourishes like harmonica, dub production or brass arrangements, all stitched together by Rosko Gee’s sweet vocals.   It desperately deserves a reissue, and I can only assume there’s some sort of legalistic hang-up preventing Mute from getting it (and its fairly disparate but very good follow up, ‘Freedom of Speech‘) out there.  Regardless of the Can connection, this is an album that should be much more broadly heard.  Full tracklist and download link after the “more” break.

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[One-Off] – Can – ‘The Church of Latter-Day Can, Book Two’ (Beyond Can, 1977-1984)

Posted in Mixes, Talking, Tracks by Soundslike on June 16, 2009

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Following the mix of later-era Can from a few days ago, this new collection of post- and extra-Can tracks, ‘The Church of Latter-Day Can, Book Two‘ should be perhaps an even bigger surprise for those who’ve bought the hype that Can was all downhill after ‘Future Days’.  Putting together this collection, it even surprised me just how great the boys of Can continued to be after the “split” in 1979–if anything, this period was even more fertile than ’74-’79.  They might not have been years ahead of their time as they were with ‘Tago Mago‘ or ‘Future Days,’ but they were very definitely right in the thick of the zeitgeist of the day, mixing up a glorious “post-punk”-ish blend of reggae, funk, electronics, musique concrete, post-Krautrock, Afrobeat, and dub, with occasional pop melodic flourishes.  This collection covers both “solo” projects by various members (which always included other members of Can) and collaborative efforts with luminaries and lesser-knowns of the post-punk and dance worlds.  Given the breadth of years and the number of releases (17) and the vast number of participants, there is a remarkable cohesiveness in the diversity, proving that even after a “breakup” Can continued in spirit for quite a while.  This set is especially illuminates the fact that whatever Can were in the early days–art-rock, proto-punk, prog rock, Krautrock–is very much part of a strong progression of music through the 70s (reaching out laterally to funk and even sound library music) directly to the very best of post-punk, the latter’s name notwithstanding.  If you find yourself thinking of Talking Heads, The Slits, Arthur Russell, The Pop Group, Pere Ubu, Public Image Limited, This Heat, Family Fodder, Flying Lizards, Antena, Trio, Raincoats and the Tom Tom Club–along with Lee Perry, KPM library records, Brian Eno, Nonesuch’s ‘Explorer Series,’ King Tubby, et al–it’s surely no accident.

The collection begins in the 70s reaching back to Neu!, with Jaki Liebezeit playing the role of Klaus Dinger with aplomb alongside the real Michael Rother and Conny Plank (the latter of whom, along with Inner Space Studios, remains ever present through this set).  Next Holger Czukay demonstrates both the “Turtles Have Short Legs” humor of Can, as well as his Stockhausen-trained musique concrete roots, all set to an easy disco groove provided by Liebezeit and frequent late-era Can collaborator Rebop Baah; it ends up sounding like a silly counterpart to Eno & Byrne‘s ‘Bush of Ghosts,’ a disco-era update of Bernard Parmegiani‘s “Pop’eclectic” or Francois Bayle‘s “Solitude”.  His second solo track here (also featured in the ‘1981‘ set)  proves balding Germans with goofy mustaches can be sexy.  In ’81 Czukay and Liebezeit helped launch Annie Lennox and Phew in style with fantastic bouncing rhythms and brass instrumentation; and Czukay also found time to Goth it up in a one-off with Conny Plank as Les Vampyrettes, who provide a horror-movie soundtrack to match the Bauhaus “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” or The Normal‘s “Warm Leatherette”.  Irmin Schmidt largely exited the pop music world, focusing on soundtrack and experimental work, which his track here with Bruno Spoerri captures well, reminiscent perhaps of Ryuichi Sakamoto.  His other appearance here is nearly a full Can reunion, with Liebezeit, Karoli and Rosko Gee, taking a Meters-like New Orleans-funk feeling into outer space.  Both Liebezeit and Damo Suzuki show up–from different years–with minimal Afro-funk German group Dunkelziffer.

Jaki Liebezeit is unsurprisingly the core of Can even after Can, appearing on nearly every track here.  His excellent Phantom Band is represented as it evolved over four years, starting as a polyrhythmic troupe that I think Hamilton Bohannon would’ve dug (with vocals from Rosko Gee, late-Can member).  By 1981 Phantom evolves into a trippier post-punk dub outfit, and finally by 1984 a pop group that calls to mind Talking Heads or the Urban Verbs.  Liebezeit also helped out with Gabi Delgado-Lopez‘s transition from S&M DNW industrialism with Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft into Mediterranean New Pop territory more befitting his native Spain.  Jah Wobble is here in multiple instances bringing the woozy low-end that Public Image Ltd. lost.  He joins up with Czukay for probably the most surprising moment here–a NYC-style no disco synth workout that would have fit right in on Larry Levan‘s decks, with guitar from The Edge (yes, of U2) and produced/programmed by proto-house legend Francois Kevorkian.  While he was apparently less prolific than others in his post-Can output, Michael Karoli rounds things out (with the aid of Liebezeit) on two beautiful tracks from ’84 that would fit in right beside the “Earthbeat” phase of The Slits or the Raincoats‘ underloved ‘Moving’ LP, with Polly Eltes (who sang on Eno‘s ‘Taking Tiger Mountain’).  I won’t claim all this music will be a guaranteed hit all at once (though if you read all this, odds are good); but there’s a goldmine in this music.  Sadly, much of it is currently long out-of-print; but I ask that you support the artists by buying what is available. Full tracklist and the download link (with individual mp3s and relevant cover art) is after the “more” link.

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[One-off] – Can – ‘The Church of Latter-Day Can, Book One’ (1975-1979)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on June 14, 2009

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If you’re listening here at Musicophilia, odds are you’re a devotee of Can’s early records.  But the ‘received wisdom’ says that the later Can is vastly inferior, perhaps not even worth listening to, and so many people have never looked past the first few albums.  I know it took me years before I explored beyond ‘Soon Over Babaluma,’ and a little while further before it could hit me on its own terms. It’s true, the later albums are not what their early albums are, as so little is; when Can began, they were essentially inventing a whole new sound and aesthetic almost from scratch.  But if later-day Can were a separate band free to create its own legacy, I believe ‘Can II’ would be held in equal esteem alongside the “Krautrock” bands that rate just behind early Can, like Faust, Neu! and Cluster, certainly up there with Harmonia, early Kraftwerk, Agitation Free and La Dusseldorf.  And as much as post-punkers no doubt loved their copies of ‘Ege Bamyasi‘ and ‘Tago Mago,’ the truth is this music sounds more post-punk, as it’s tapping into the same diverse sounds–funk, dub, reggae, Afrobeat, sundry “world musics,” and surely not least disco–as the best post-punk would do a couple years later.  So give it a try–just please support the artists, do yourself the favor, and buy the albums you may have missed.  (And it almost  goes without saying, if you don’t know Can well already–run, don’t walk, and buy the first few albums as soon as possible.  Then come back to this music after your mind has exploded and you’ve put it back together as best you can.)  A second mix will follow shortly of extra- and post-Can tracks and collaborations by members of Can during the post-punk and new wave years.  Tracklist and download link after the break, for a limited time. I ask that if you enjoy the music found on this mix, you purchase the relevant albums, and remove the mix from your devices–please.

Can – “Aspectacle” (1979)

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 14′ (1972-1975)

Posted in Albums, Mixes by Soundslike on April 14, 2009

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After an unintended hiatus, Musicophilia’s “reissues” of the Musique du Monde label are back, with the first of three more “10-inch LPs” from the ‘Les Miniatures‘ series following Volumes 3 and 12: ‘Volume 14,’ drawing from the years 1972-1975.  As with all the mixes in the broader Miniatures Series, the aim is to cover a lot of ground in very little time: all tracks are two minutes or less in duration; and the mixes are around 30 minutes total.  The ‘Les Miniatures‘ mixes are like morning commute-length portions of the 2xLP-length ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ mixes, so anything goes as long as it’s got a groove: funk of myriad permutations from New Orleans to Philly to France to Yugoslavia; musique concrete, psychedelia, singer-songwriter, sound library and soundtracks, proto-punk, Krautrock, early electro-pop, jazz, Tropicalia, and a little of the simply unclassifiable.  You’ll find the familiar and the new, each hopefully adding something to the experience of the whole.  (If you’ve been visiting Musicophilia primarily for the post-punk, I invite you to take a chance on some of the Musique du Monde stuff–it may be worlds apart from post-punk in some regards, but for my money, this is where the coolest sounds in the world were happening, presaging the radical artistic fecundity of the post-punk years.)

Franco Battiato – “Cariosinesi”  (1972)

Shuggie Otis – “Happy House” (1974)

Making up the thirty minutes of this mix are twenty artists from seven countries.  The better known include Marvin Gaye, The Residents, Kraftwerk, Big Star, Barry White, and Brian Eno.  Less well known in the U.S. but heroes elsewhere are Bernard Parmegiani (probably my favorite artist working with electro-acoustic experimentation), Franco Battiato, Brigitte Fontaine & Areski, The Aggrovators, Popol Vuh, the Soft Machine’s Hugh Hopper, and Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry.  Finally there’s key sound library figure Janko Nilovic; funk-pop prodigy Shuggie Otis; savant-garde group Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Curt Boettcher (of The Millenium, Sagittarius and the SoCal sunshine pop scene); and soundtrack maestros David Snell and Karl Heinz Schafer.  If you like what you hear, there’s plenty more where that came from: nine other Musique du Monde volumes so far, and several more in the coming weeks and months.  Full tracklist, “liner notes,” and download link after the “more…” below.

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[Women of Post-Punk] ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 2′

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 2, 2009

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Volume Two of ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook’ continues an exploration of some of the contributions of women to post-punk sounds and culture begun with Volume One, and which will be continued in a third volume.  As I stated previously, women don’t seem to be outside of or secondary to the main artistic and cultural thrust of the post-punk milieu, and so this mix is just as much an introduction to post-punk’s variety and energy as it is any sort of sub-story.  That said, several tracks on this mix can be heard as a feminine/feminist perspective on a number of the central ideological concerns of post-punk: questioning of the centrality of binary romantic love to life and society; gender inequality and its parallels to racial and economic inequality; and an ambivalent relationship with notions of hipness and “cool,” among other themes.  The titles might suggest a politicised or satirical reading: “It’s Obvious,” “Love und Romance,” “52 Girls,” “Boy,” “That’s The Way Boys Are,” “But I’m Not;” and they will likely reward such a listening.  But the post-punks were focused on the artistic, the musical, the visceral at least as much as the political and the polemical: they’d learned the lesson Fela, Bob Marley, or James Brown taught: that the message goes down best with a groove (even if that groove tended to be a little bent, with the post-punks).  If this is political music, it certainly isn’t po-faced politics.

Over a 45-minute mix, you’ll find Family Fodder, one of my top five post-punk bands who rarely fail to excite new listeners; Chris & Cosey (with the only track repeated from the ’1981′ set); Japan’s goofy-fun Plastics; Georgia’s Pylon and the B-52′s; The Slits, the Au Pairs, Vivien Goldman and less-heard post-No Wavers Y Pants with wickedly subversive skewerings of traditional gender expectations and concepts of romance (as well as of the traditional electrified masculinity of Rock); the slinky Swamp Children; the earliest, maddest Cocteau Twins; the smooth bossa-post-punk of Antena; and electro-tinged tracks from Siouxsie & The Banshees and Thick PigeonBe sure to grab Volume One if you have not already, and be sure to grab Volume Three in the near future.  Full tracklist and download link after the “more…” link.

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[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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[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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[Sensory Replication No. 5] – ‘The Somnambulist’ (1908-2007)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 17, 2008

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I’ve never really understood the practical reality of sleepwalking, but the idea has undeniable mystique.  Mainly what I’ve wondered is how the body’s action and interaction with its environment fails to jar the somnambulist into a conscious state.  I guess the case isn’t that one is actually asleep, but simply that the conscious, memory-forming parts of the brain are not engaged.  I take this to mean that in essence, the physical world has become as a dream, and the somnambulist’s actions in it equally as ethereal, incapable of inducing standard awareness.  This is the basis for this mix, then: to guide a virtual, thrill-seeking adventure in somnambulism; no walking to the bathroom or making a sandwich here, but rather, roaming through a dream-world made physical, full of strange landscapes, ghost-figures, fogs and miasmas, echoes and shouts, fear and beauty.  Like in a dream, nothing can quite be held in focus, and the laws of physics bend to the laws of imagination.  Like in the world of a somnambulist, the unremembered physical world becomes an imagined place of shadows, however solid it was before sleep arrived or will become again in the morning.

‘The Somnambulist’ is the third posted mix in the ‘Sensory Replication‘ series, which seeks to create an immersive aural environment through the dense intermingling of a large number of individual tracks, treated as source material.  For the first two mixes posted and a greater exploration of the impetus for the series, look here.  This mix is particularly dense, with sixty artists represented in just under forty-two mintues.  If you listen casually, you will still recognize music here: a “spine” of central tracks emerges more or less recognisable and intact.  But the point here isn’t any individual component, as there are often four, five, six or more bits of “source material” comingling, lurking around the edges, fading in and out of earshot in the landscape; solos, duets, trios emerge and recede.  The hope is that you will take the time to listen without distraction, letting all your usual sensory inputs other than hearing fall aside, to see how fully your ears alone will compensate.  I pretty regularly find myself standing on a city corner or in a laundry geeking out to the sounds around me, just shy of being brave enough to be that crazy guy who closes his eyes and stands still for a few minutes amongst the activity.  So this is a chance to just-listen freely, set in the most bizare bazaar of movement and interaction one could hope for.

Represented in the ether of sound are people like This Heat’s Charles Hayward; Dick Raajimakers; John Cage; Burning Star Core; Luc Ferrari; John Cale; His Name is Alive’s Warn Defever; Tod Dockstader; Funkstorung; Tortoise; Shuggie Otis; Miles Davis; Huun Huur Tu; avant-garde extra-Beatles George Harrison; Burial; Klause Schulze; Autechre; Pharoah Sanders; Maurice Ravel; Agitation Free; Deadbeat; Iannis Xenakis; Stockhausen; LaMonte Young; Steve Reich; Can’s Holger Czukay; Tony Conrad with Faust; Tibetan Buddhist monks from Bhutan; 23 Skidoo; Kraftwerk; Neu; Daniel Menche; Rhys Chatham; Peruvian folk musicians, and many others.  But I encourage you not to trainspot, at least the first listen.  Full tracklisting and download link after “more…”.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Tour du Monde, Volume 4′ (1968-1971)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 9, 2008

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Back again with the third “reissued” release in the ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series: ‘Volume 4,’ covering 1968 to 1971.  The mood here is a little spookier, a little funkier, a little rawer, the beats are more to the fore.  But if you’ve heard any of the previous volumes, you can probably anticipate what’s in store: a heady post-Psych, post-Funk stew from a time of boundless exploration and fusion and invention.  Crazy Moogs, slinky harpsichords and Rhodes, choppy guitars, break-worthy drums, soaring strings, Tropicalia- or Indian-tinged percussion, horizon-expanding musique concrete production techniques, fuzz-bass as a lead instrument, sunny pop melodies, heartbreaking singer-songwriting, literal bells and whistles—all unstoppably funky.  There is a proto-electro Beethoven cover, a Japanese take on Jefferson Airplane, a Greecian take on “All Along the Watchtower,” a Moog-and-choral take on “Peace Train”.   Library sound, West Coast psych-rock, soundtracks, experimental 20th century composers, Motown and Motown-on-the-Seine (or Motown in the Outback, etc.).  Over fifteen countries, thirty-five artists and tracks, 2LPs, 100 minutes.

Naming names: you’ll find The Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono (in ghostly ballad form), Isaac Hayes, Nico, Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis (featuring Sonny Sharrock’s echoplex madness), Can, and Stevie Wonder.  Then there are Brits Bill Fay, Roy Budd and weirdo-folkster Simon Finn; Moogists Gershon Kingsley and Hugo Montenegro; Italian purveyors of the beat Piero Piccioni, Giancarlo Gazzani, and Ennio Morricone in a poppy form; Jorge Ben from Brazil, Yuya Uchida & The Flowers from Japan, Swamp Salad from Australia, Saka Acquaye from Ghana and The Funkees from Nigeria.  Yugoslav sound librarian Janko Nilovic shows up here as Andy Loore.  Composers Vladimir Ussachevksy and Gyorgy Ligeti fit in with German Bruno Spoerri (a Can compatriot), Dionysis Savopoulos from Greece, and lesser-known Americans like The Open Window, Stark Reality, Black Heat, The United States of America, and revered jazz-funk bassist Monk Montgomery.  And of course, Musique du Monde represents la Patrie with Francis Lai, Trust, and Jean-Jacques Perrey with classic sample-fodder.  Tracklist, full album art, liner notes, and complete download follow the “more…” link.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 3′ (1967-1971)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on November 27, 2008

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‘Les Miniatures, Volume 3′ is the second mix in the ‘Les Miniatures‘ series, fifth in the ‘Miniatures‘ method. For more information and the first download, check here. In short (appropriately) these are mixes in the musical style of the globe-spanning, late-60s-to-mid-1970s sound-collecting ‘Le Tour du Monde’ series—but with every track coming in at under two minutes in length, and each mix under forty minutes (like the ‘Miniatures: Post-Punk‘ mixes did for the years 1976-1983). So give them a whirl—you don’t have much to lose, not even much time.

This volume features some very well known names like the Velvet Underground, Bob Marley, Ennio Morricone (though not in his better-known Spaghetti Western mode), Serge Gainsbourg, Syd Barrett, King Crimson and Nick Drake. But it also emphasizes the less-knowns like Sagittarius (for fans of the Beach Boys, The Millennium, or California sunshine pop in general); library hero Roger Roger (of Stringtronics’ ‘Mindbender’ “fame”—seek that one out) and other sound librarians like Oskar Sala, Roland Kovac, and Reg Wale; weirdos like Red Noise, Pearls Before Swine and the ever-wonderful Shaggs; Krautrock stalwarts Amon Duul II and Kluster (in their pre-electro Cluster, more cosmic abstraction days); and lovely Turkish Les Mogol (aka Mogollar) and Japanese artist Hiro Yanagida. Twenty artists and tracks, two “sides,” thirty-one minutes, nine countries—and I’ve got three more like this one nearly ready, so keep your ears open. Full tracklist and a download link to the mix with cover art and “liner notes” following the “more…”.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 12′ (1971-1975)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on November 24, 2008

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‘Les Miniatures’ is a new series of mixes combining the methodology of the ‘Miniatures’ series— sub-two-minute track lengths and sub-thirty-minute mix lengths—with the aesthetic and musical forte of the ‘Le Tour du Monde’ series. So you’ll hear sound library tunes, krautrock, psychedelia (especially in the Canterbury mold), proto-punk, a little singer-songwriter, funk (and Eurofunk), tropicalia, perfect pop, early electro-pop and musique concrete. You’ll hear artists from around the world, and more of those strings, those beats, those leaping bass lines, those production flourishes that could only have come from the brilliance of the 70s. A full helping of all of this—in thirty minutes or less. I’ve got four further volumes of ‘Les Miniatures’ finished. The five volumes feature over 100 artists and tracks, and they’ll be coming soon. In the meantime, check out the original ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ mixes for a more in-depth exploration of what’s going on here; or the post-punk-oriented first three volumes of the ‘Miniatures‘ series.

This first-issued volume of ‘Les Miniatures’ features heavyweights like Faust, Curtis Mayfield, Kevin Ayers, Sun Ra, Serge Gainsbourg, Paul Simon, Sly & The Family Stone, Lou Reed, Robert Wyatt and John Cale. But given equal time and weight by France’s ever-eclectic Musique du Monde label are cult figures like Henry Cow, Erkin Koray, Gil Scott-Heron, and barely-heards Seesselberg, Joe Ufer, Orchester Fritz Maldener, Sammy Burdson Group, and Franco Bixio. [I thank the blogs linked in the right column for introducing me to several of these—do yourself a favor and let this mix send you digging amongst the "primary source" blogs, they're doing the heavy lifting.] Full tracklist and download (including full “album sleeve,” liner notes, and “reissue” notes) follow the “more…” link.

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[Sensory Replication No. 2] – ‘Gloaming’ (1731-2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 27, 2008

Though it’s not the denotative meaning of the word, for me, “gloaming” connotes ambiguity, a tension between the waning day and encroaching night, a feeling that is beautiful yet tinged with some regret or trepidation—there’s more complexity and mystery to it than a simple synonym to “twilight”. And that beautiful tension is the feeling I’ve tried to create here, as well as a concept that informed the methodology behind the mix (more on that later). ‘Gloaming’ is the second mix I made seeking to create quasi-binaural “field recordings,” to create an immersive journey through an almost physical space constituted of (mostly) musical sound. (For convenience, I’m calling such mixes the “Sensory Replication Series,” an idea explored in somewhat greater detail here). You probably already know most of the artists featured in this mix—Tangerine Dream, Tony Conrad, Mozart, Xenakis, Keith Jarrett, Reich, Cage, Bjork, Eno, Low, 23 Skidoo, Holger Czukay, Vivaldi, Cluster—but I hope that the combinations, contextualisation and sum total make something you haven’t quite heard before. (I’d also like to make special mention of the track “Heathering Blues” by “unknown” Matt Anders, definitely the most emotionally satisfying thing I’ve ever known to originate with Fruity Loops)

This is my favorite short mix I’ve made so far, and despite its brevity (less than twenty-eight minutes) it feels like a full journey. It’s more or less the opposite of the spastic flailing of the ‘Miniatures : Post-Punk’ mixes, in that each section leads very much to the next, and there is a careful and unhurried sense of direction at all times. But like those mixes, it’s a good way to get a lot of listening done in a short amount of time—though this is “headphone listening” to be sure, not so suited for cruising down the highway or running errands. While I’ll tag it “avant-garde,” if you were to try any mix such tagged as a way in, it would be this one. A little more rambling, the tracklist, and full download after the “more…” link. If you do find you like this one, then check out the first posted ‘Sensory Replication’ mix posted here.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Post-Punk No. 3′ (1976-1983)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 24, 2008

Here’s the third and final (for now) mix in the ‘Post-Punk’ subset of the ‘Miniatures’ series–another very short mix (<35 min.) of very short tracks (<2:00). And this one is the best yet, in my opinion. It’s a rocket-fueled midget submarine race, featuring more of the Big Names–Wire, ESG, Devo, Pere Ubu, Suicide, XTC–and more of the should-be-big names, like the MX-80 Sound, the Diagram Brothers, Arthur Russell’s Dinosaur L, Jaki Liebezeit’s Phantomband, pre-awfulness (quite good actually, those first few albums) Simple Minds, RIO-licious Debile Menthol, Pyrolator, Dalek I, and more. You probably have the idea down already–if not, don’t miss No. 1 and No. 2. Between the three, you can try out seventy bands and artists in a little over a hundred minutes. Full tracklist and download link after the “more…”.

Coming soon to Musicophilia: another of the ‘Sensory Replacement’ series (which also happens to be a brief mix) of heavily “texture-matched,” segued and intermeshed sounds; another ‘Le Tour du Monde’ set featuring music from 1972-1974, and another focusing on 1975-1978; and ‘Miniatures’ mixes from genres other than post-punk. Hopefully within a month or two, I’ll be honored to feature guest mixes from friends covering territory such as the unexpected and best Bob Dylan covers ever made, a mix featuring “a couple of favorite dark bossa tracks,” and another introducing Russia’s post-punk-new-wave that I bet is unknown to most of us (certainly to me). Stay tuned, let me know what you’d like to hear more (or less) of, and please contact me if you’d like to contribute.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Post-Punk No. 2′ (1975-1983)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 20, 2008

This is the second in a series of “miniature” mixes, and the second in the post-punk-oriented subset. The ‘Miniatures’ series feature all songs less than two minutes in duration, and mixes under forty minutes. ‘Post-Punk No. 2′ stretches slightly, back to 1975/76/77 and well outside the bounds of what is normally considered strictly “post-punk”. However, in any way other than a purely chronological utility, I’ve always found the name “post-punk” to be a term of convenience only, and ultimately a misnomer that obscures the fact that the “post-punk sound” was merely a continuation (and later a popularisation) of the arty, but non-virtuoso-oriented strains of rock music that have their roots with the Velvets, Stooges, Roxy Music, Canterbury scene stuff, Red Krayola, Residents, and other assorted weirdos and kooks. While it’s arguable there was something of a lull in this strain around 1976, it’s clear that what Pere Ubu or Devo or Brian Eno and David Bowie were doing in 1975 has more in common with the sounds and approaches to art-making of “post-punk” than with the (briefly) culturally more significant but musically impoverished “punk proper”.

Anyway–all that to excuse a little reaching; and an idea to explore more fully later on. This second volume features some big names–Bowie, Eno, Costello, Beefheart, Raincoats–but also plenty of potential new finds I hope, like the Stickmen, Rosa Yemen (Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s band), Crash Course in Science, Matthais Schuster, Aksak Maboul, and Family Fodder (for me, the quintessential post-punk band in the counter-Joy Division-knock-off mold). Full tracklist and download following the “more” link. Check out the first volume here; and the 3rd is going to be a doozy, so check back if you dig this one.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Post-Punk No.1′ (1977-1983)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on October 15, 2008

Designed for those days when your messageboard- and text-message- and blog-addled attention span is particularly hyperactive, the ‘Miniatures’ series feature all songs less than two minutes in duration, and mixes under forty minutes. Despite their brevity, every track tells a full-scale musical story-no mere interstitials here. Above all, fun is the name of the game.

So, the kinetic, herky-jerk, anything-went playfulness of the post-punk period seems the perfect fit to kick it off. So here is the first of three post-punk-themed mixes in the ‘Miniatures’ mold, featuring favorites like the Swell Maps, Scritti Politti, the Slits, Young Marble Giants; as well as lesser-knowns like Industry, the Homosexuals, Dif Juz, Voigt-465 and 100 Flowers. Full tracklist and download following the “more” link.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Tour du Monde, Volume 7′ (1967-1973)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 13, 2008

The second release in the ongoing ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series, ‘Volume 7′ features more of the jaw-drop breakbeats, spinning bass lines, post-Psychedelic production flourishes, tape-manipulation and music concrete techniques, early electronic instrumentation, copious strings, harps, Hammonds, Rhodes, brass arrangements, matured post-folk singer-songwriter tunes, and illustrations of mutating funk as it made its way around the world.

Artists from twelve countries are represented, including sound library heroes like Janko Nilovic, Gerard Manset (a major discovery for those who love Serge Gainsbourg), Roger Roger, and Bernard Estardy; art kings Faust, Franco Battiato, and John Cale & Terry Riley (in supreme beat-centric mode); singer songwriter greats like Karen Dalton, Richie Havens, and Nick drake; as well as representatives of pure-pop, jazz-funk, post-psych and even surf-rock-supreme. Bobby Darin even makes an appearance, and if all you know is “Splish Splash” and the Las Vegas crooning, you’ll be in for a surprise. Tracklist, full album art, liner notes, and download link follow the “more…” link. For the previous release in this series, see ‘Le Tour du Monde, Volume 5‘.

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[Sensory Replication No. 3] – ‘Collide\Coalesce’ (1950-2004)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 6, 2008

‘CollideCoallesce’ is the third mix in an ongoing series of heavily edited and crafted mixes wherein many elements are layered, combined, remixed/dubbed, or otherwise altered into (hopefully) a singular whole. It’s not quite easy listening, but it’s more accessible than the unwieldy tracklist might suggest. Featuring mostly giants in areas of experimental, electronic, a little jazz, post-punk, and ‘world’ music–Can, Cage, Suicide, Bjork, Stockhausen, OMD, Bill Evans, Reich, Autechre, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, This Heat–the mix nevertheless aims to recontextualise all of these to a degree that makes hearing them here a unique listen for avid fans and neophytes alike. The aim is to create something akin to a 3D sound environment, something like a binaural recording, wherein a stereo signal is perceived with full spacial depth. Of course, this isn’t really possible–but I’d like to hope that if one listens to as many elements as carefully arranged as this, it becomes something close to multi-sensory immersion, hence the ‘Sensory Replication Series’. Notes, tracklist and download beyond the break.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Tour du Monde, Volume 5′ (1967-1971)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 4, 2008

A two-LP set of international beats, breaks, sophisticate funk, sweet organs, harpsichords, heavy bass lines, late psychedelia, bits of playful experimentation and musique concrete, squelching analogue synths, harps, strings, flutes, and a dash of autumnal musing as only the early 1970s could produce. A ‘found’ mix from the ‘legendary’ French Musique du Monde label and their ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series, more volumes to follow.

Featuring bands and artists from 18 countries, including the well known and the far from it, ‘Volume 5′ blends a wide range of genres through commonalities in instrumentation and production into a whole that is exciting and yet accessible. You’ll hear Kraftwerk with Donovan; Moondog with Nino Nardini; Leo Kottke, Geraldo Pino, Eugene McDaniels, White Noise, El Kinto, Jean-Michel Jarre, Silver Apples, Roland Kovac, Shuggie Otis, Pierre Henry, Ennio Morricone’s Feed-Back, et al. Track listing, liner notes and the download link (including full artwork), beyond the break.

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