Musicophilia

[Post Post-Punk] – ‘Circuits’ – (1983-2013)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on March 9, 2014

Tracklist, stream and download after the “more…” link.  Rather just let the music do the talking on this one, hope you enjoy it.

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[1981] – 10 Year Anniversary!

Posted in Mixes, Uncategorized by Soundslike on August 28, 2013

Ten years ago this month, I started making the first mix that grew into three that grew into the nine-disc physical ‘1981’ box set. In celebration, I’m posting all of the original mixes–and working on at least one new mix–to my Mixcloud profile at

So check it out, and spread the word–it’s time for another round of rediscovery, as this music still sounds like the future, even at 32. The other mixes will be up shortly, added to this post over the next couple of days.

http://www.mixcloud.com/musicophilia/musicophilia-1981-feet-2003/

http://www.mixcloud.com/musicophilia/musicophilia-1981-heart-2004/

http://www.mixcloud.com/musicophilia/musicophilia-1981-car-2004/

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[1981] – ‘Ice’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 15, 2011

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Superficially, the ‘1981‘ box set tells the story of just one year; not even really the whole year, but one year for a particular scene.  It is what Woebot described as an act of “potholing”.  But that partial history of one year of post-punk was chosen because it was not a one-off (like “real punk”), but rather a nexus, an intersection of many other stories that suggests many other directions backward and forward (“frantically out-branching” as Pitchfork put it).  Moments and movements of extreme artistic fecundity are perhaps always this way: as exciting as they are in and of themselves, the particular mechanics of their expression, and especially the places and people who make them happen, are fleeting and finite; but if they’re really tapping into something, the energy carries on in many directions.  Why I love post-punk in the year 1981 is because it wasn’t really just about itself, even as exploring it consumed countless hours and energy and plenty of dollars in my life.  It was perfect at the time because it rekindled the excitement of all my musical “discoveries” to that point, and has provided the fuel for my exploration and enjoyment since.  Even though sharing it represents an end–it’s the last of nine mixes– ‘Ice‘ is perhaps the best example of the fact that ‘1981’ isn’t just an isolated incident: these sounds are the most out-of-time, ageless, in some ways oddest but most enchanting of the set’s dozens of tracks (hundreds, if you include the ‘Briefcase).  I hope the mix and the box set will provide you with fuel for further exploration, too.

Ice‘ is not definitely not meant to imply coolness in the sense of detachment.  Bill Laswell’s Material quickly prove that, along with Talking Head Jerry Harrison, Was (Not Was), the Honeymoon Killers, and The Slits, as they bring the movement and the (earth)beats.  ‘Ice’ is about mystery, as explored by Brian Eno and David Byrne, the Comsat Angels, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Selecter, Phew, or Ryuichi Sakamoto.  ‘Ice‘ is also about being just plain, un-fuckwith-ably cool, like Ex-Can Holger Czukay, Grace Jones, ESG, Jim Jarmusch’s Del-Byzanteens, the Gun Club, or our hero Robert Wyatt.  But there’s also meditative contemplation, as with the Delta 5, Echo & The Bunnymen, or the creator of perhaps 1981’s most timeless and compelling contribution of all, “O Superman,” Laurie Anderson.  Full tracklist and the download link are after the “more…” break.

The Del-Byzantines – “Girl’s Imagination”

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[1981] – ‘Amplifier’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 8, 2011

This is the fourth posted mix from the 10-disc, 400+ band ‘1981’ Box Set I put together in 2004-2005.  (For more information regarding the set as a whole and the impetus behind it, check the first mix, ‘Feet’.)  1981 probably wasn’t the peak year for any sort of “pure” cultural or musical strain of what defined “post-punk” as an ethos or as a sound (I’d give that title to 1979).  But I chose to focus on 1981 in such depth because it seemed to me the year that that sound and way of looking at music had spread farthest without diminishing in intensity (few would argue, no matter how much they love the music of 1982, that even in that one year later there was not a bit of a come-down, or at least a diffusion into more disparate strains).  The heroes of the first wave of post-punk were about to retire (like Wire, Buzzcocks, first-run Pere Ubu) but still hadn’t lost a step, and so many others were at their peak (and still many more greats just getting started).  So this mix, ‘Amplifier,’ exemplifies the breadth of post-punk in ’81, when set next to any other mix from the set.  While much of the rest of the set might attest the ascent of the art school or art house over the arena in rock, the artists on ‘Amplifier’ are less artsy, more visceral, less equivocal about the guitar, and probably the punk-est of the post-punk.

But while riffs and chops still had cache amongst the nascent hard-core punks and plain-out rockers found here (not much Oi here, as to my ears it’s usually too reactionary and conservative to qualify as post-punk in any way) there’s still an undeniable artiness creeping between the fuzz boxes that qualifies it as more than simply temporally “post-punk”.  This might be the last mix I think of when I think about the ‘1981’ box set, but when I listen to it again, it always surprises me how much I enjoy it—it’s certainly not “least” of the set.  Looking past the omnipresent guitar, there’s a surprising variety here: drama, irony, silliness, melodicism, anger. And it’s a lot of fun, and it’s what you can play for your little siblings or nieces and nephews who just picked up their first studded belt and got their first faux-hawk, to start them on a journey to wider waters.  Plenty of the names you’d expect are here: the Minutemen, Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys, X, Buzzcocks (with their triumphant final single from the original phase), Agent Orange, The Cramps, Mission of Burma, Stiff Little Fingers, The Replacements and Bad Brains.  Also along for the ride are less-knowns like The Gordons, Au Pairs, MX-80, Empire, Josef K, the Zoomers (with thanks to Hyped 2 Death), and Portland’s beloved Wipers.  Toss in a few voodoo oddballs like Flipper, the Flesh Eaters, 100 Flowers, Swimming Pool Q’s, Gun Club, and the early Virgin Prunes, and you’re read to turn it to 11.  Full tracklist and download link after “more…”.

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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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[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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[Post-Punk Covers Classics] – Various – ‘No Heroes’ (1982)

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

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[Update:  5/3 Download Link is down again.  If you are an artist or label responsible for a particular work but do not wish it to be featured, please let me know and I will remove it.  My sincere intention, as always, is to promote the artists' work and help people discover it and purchase what is available.   So listeners, as always, the music shared here is not intended to replace purchased music.  Please support the artists involved, especially via independent shops like those linked in the right-hand column. ]

[Check out 'No Heroes'-style bonus tracks, with links to the originals, as part of an ongoing series at Musicophilia Daily.] For a bunch of supposed futurist Marxist Modernist post-historical art-weirdos, the post-punk/New pop set were actually remarkably affectionate toward the music they grew up loving, “I Hate” graffiti t-shirts notwithstanding.  And not just toward their Can and Roxy Music and Lee “Scratch” Perry albums that they all had, naturally, when they were 13 years old proto-Art School students.  Sure, there’s an LP worth of voidoid Rolling Stones anti-covers of varying quality that can be pretty backhandedly complimentary in a Warhol sort of way.  But at least in music, if not rhetoric, there was a lot of love for the radio of recently-lost youth: for Motown, for psychedelic bands and garage (the “first punk” kind) rock, for the Beatles, even for the occasional movie theme and crooner standby.  The covers on this “newly discovered 2xLP” compilation “from 1982″ are certainly not reverent, and few are straight (most are decidedly a little bent, befitting the zeitgeist), but few of them are detached, (wholly) ironic, or dismissive.

Post-punk is often quite catchy in its way, and so there’s plenty of singability, listenability, pop ability on display–some of which actually had some popular impact in the grand tradition of the commercial cover tune.  The Beatles get channeled by Yellow Magic Orchestra, The Feelies, and Hecter Zazou.  Lee Dorsey and Al Green are both faves, fueling Devo and Trio, Talking Heads and Orange Juice, respectively.  There’s Motown and funk love to spare, with A Certain Ratio, Flying Lizards, Soft Cell and The Slits being careful to avoid direct theft they can’t pull off, but honoring the sources with their own quirks firmly displayed.  Straight-up pop is in evidence with Lydia Lunch, Tom Tom Club, Lene Lovich, Plastics and Antena joining the Oldies parade–and even Psychedelic Furs tackling “Mack the Knife”.  As for the “I Hate Pink Floyd” sentiment, Dolphins aren’t having it, and The Pretenders clearly don’t hate the Kinks.  Lizy Mercier-Descloux and the Selecter take you to the movies, and XTC and The Cure of all people show Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix love.  The Gun Club reach back to Robert Johnson, and Siouxsie’s Creatures laud The Troggs.  Only Bauhaus and Japan cover material you’d think of as post-punk-approved–Eno and The Velvets–but they do it with aplomb.  I can’t say most of this music eclipses the originals–be sure to check below for links to all of the source tracks–but it’s all a lot of fun.  Full tracklist, artwork and download link–along with those originals links–at the “more…” link.

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[1981] – ‘Briefcase, Volume 2′ (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Tracks by Soundslike on May 18, 2009

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As you hopefully know, the principle nine mixes from the ‘1981’ Box Set are all now available for download here at Musicophilia.  For those who just can’t get enough of the post-punk fecundity, the adventure continues roughly every weekend with tracks from the ‘Briefcase‘ disc (a catch-all mp3 disc that added another 250 tracks and artists/bands to the box set) at Musicophilia Daily.   Periodically, these tracks will be collected and presented here at Musicophilia in unsequenced, alphabetical order; this is the second such collection, featuring tracks #21-40.

Highlights from this 20-band collection include Bow Wow Wow, the Bunnydrums, the Cardboards, Cancer, Buzz, very early ChameleonsCCCP-TV, Ceramic Hello, Hyped2Death faves Chemicals Made From Dirt, Christian Death, The Clash in dance-remix mode, Bouncing Czechs, Colours Out of Time, and perhaps my faves of the bunch, Club Tango.  Tracks are in low VBR and include cover art; download link below the “more…” link.

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[Musicophilia] – The Complete ‘1981’ Box Set

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on May 13, 2009

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All nine mixes from the ‘1981’ Box Set are now available in full! That’s hundreds of key artists, the famed and the forgotten, from the apex of post-punk and the ascent of new-pop, synth-pop, and related artforms.  Links to every mix are below, at the “more…” link.  Don’t be shy–say hello, let me know if you dig what I’m doing here.

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[1981] – ‘Briefcase, Volume 1′ (2005)

Posted in Talking, Tracks by Soundslike on April 6, 2009

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So far, eight of the nine ‘1981‘ mixes from the box set released in 2004-2005 have been “reissued” here at Musicophilia, with over 3,000 downloads between them, hopefully helping many of you hear music that’s new to you.  But there was a whole other element to the box set where the carefully sequenced and themed mixes ended: the ‘Briefcase‘ disc, which was a catch-all grab-bag from the endless corners of what could be called “post-punk” in 1981.  It added another 250 tracks and artists/bands to the box set, and while not a mix in the usual sense (tracks were simply presented alphabetically), there was a lot of great stuff in there, and the ‘Briefcase’ is what makes the box set something closer to an historical record than simply a collection of mixes.  Every weekend, more tracks from the ‘Briefcase‘ are made available for streaming over at Musicophilia Daily; but due to their apparent popularity, I’ve decided to make the tracks available for download here at Musicophilia on a periodic basis.  Here’s the ‘1981 Briefcase, Volume 1‘, with the first 20 tracks; depending on whether anyone downloads this set, another 11 or so volumes will likely follow over the next year.

Among the highlights from the twenty artists in this collection: 1000 Ohm, Absolute Body Control, and Beranek (also featured in higher quality as part of the “1981 addendum” mix, ‘How To Say 1981 in German‘); early A Flock of Seagulls and ABC; Adam & The Ants; Alternative TV; 49 Americans side-group Avocados; pre-Bangles The Bangs; The Work-related Black Sheep; Blondie; and Cyndi Lauper’s first foray, Blue Angel, amongst others.  Tracks are in low VBR and include original cover art; download link below the “more…” link.  [My thanks to the true geeks who discovered this download last week via my little April Fools trick/self-satire/wishful thinking.]

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[Full Album] – Chalsa Nepal – ‘Let Them See’ (1983)

Posted in Albums by Soundslike on April 1, 2009

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A Musicophilia first: sharing an utterly out-of-print album in full!  I’ve scoured the internet, including the encyclopedic Mutant Sounds, and nobody seems to have shared it yet, so I’m happy to make a first-source contribution.  The album is truly one-of-a-kind, and unfortunately almost a total mystery: its nine tracks are untitled, and I can find almost no information beyond what is written in the liner notes of the Russian “import” reissue promo that I picked up at Exiled Records.  So I’ll simply quote the notes here:

Let Them See‘ is the long-lost cornerstone of the nearly-forgotten but deeply influential post-post-punk Circuscore scene based in La Digue in the Seychelles from the early 1980s through the fall of the Berlin Wall. The album was produced jointly by Robert Gotobed of Wire and Albert Kuvezin (later of Tuvan thoat singing combo Huun-Huur-Tu), and features guest contributions from bassist Lemmy Kilmister, trombonist Peter Zummo, ex-Shangri-Las Mary Weiss, and string arrangements by future Fraggle Rock music director Don Gillis.

Chalsa Nepal combine their obvious debt to Crass, the bands of Les Disques du Crépuscule, and an abiding love for classic skiffle 78s with the longstanding Seychelles tradition of Circus Music derived from the islands’ French, African, Indian, and Chinese populations’ roots. ‘Let Them See’ (a title taken from a quote by band-hero Henry David Thoreau) is a free-wheeling set of neo-psychedelic disco-dirges and xylophone-led post-Soul proto-dubstep pop confections–albeit with a tendency toward Marxist-Feminist death metal darkness.

Says Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, “The first time I heard it, I hated it; but the second time, my brain turned around backwards in my skull. It changed me forever; I think it changed all of us.”

This is one you have to hear to believe.  Full tracklist and download link below the “more…”

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[1981] – ‘Fire’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on March 31, 2009

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One element of post-punk that’s generally overlooked in the prevailing narratives (grey overcoats, “art school,” edgy guitars, politics) is that it directly countered the lockstep of punk by vastly expanding, if not exploding, the rhythmic possibilities of “rock” music.  Gone was the polka-like punk stomp, gone was the prog 20-piece-kit pomp; and in their place, a cultural pluralism of percussion, groove, shake, surf, shimmy, disco, jazz, skank, and free-form funk.  You might call it renewed cultural imperialism after 20 years or so of rock-whiteyfying; but perhaps Malcolm Mclaren-touched projects aside (think Bow Wow Wow), the sound to me is one of liberation, not domination; honor, not theft; it’s exploration, not usurpation, in earnest joy.  As evidence, here is the 8th mix from the 1981‘ Box Set: ‘Fire‘.  This is perhaps the most generally encapsulating mix of the broader zeitgeist of post-punk (at least as I see it) after the first mix posted six months ago, ‘Feet;’ and both share a prevailing danceability and buoyant pace, making this another good mix to share with your post-punk neophyte friends.

Loosening up the beats across 24 tracks and 80 minutes are plenty of well-known names: New Order (from their underrated debut, the gloom already beginning to lift); David Byrne going solo and mirroring his contemporaneous work with Brian Eno, along with Talking Heads and beside the Tom Tom Club; The B-52s; INXS (telling you something about just how vibrant 1981 was by being actually quite decent); Wire, in one of their last first-run releases; Prince, already stirring up controversy.  Then there’s queen Banshee Siouxsie in her fantastic polyrhythmic side project Creatures; David Thomas really going all out like a parade, from his first solo album, and sounding about as far from contemporaneous Pere Ubu as you could imagine; The (English) Beat; The Specials with their all-time great and post-Specials Fun Boy Three; Japan with Mick Karn’s singing bass; and A Certain Ratio demonstrating Factory’s shifting modus oparandi.  Rounding it out are Fad Gadget, the Raybeats‘ surf stylings, Loung Lizards‘ snake-skin jazz, The Suburbs, indefatigable Lizzy Mercier-Descloux, Bauhaus, The Raincoats marching to their own drummer (in this case This Heat’s Charles Hayward), and a barn-burner from my favorites, Family Fodder.  And that leaves one more to go–the counterpart to this mix, ‘Ice,’ so keep on the lookout soon.  Full tracklist and download link at the “more…” link.

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[1981] – ‘How To Say 1981 In German’ (2005)

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

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How to Say 1981 in German‘ is a Musicophilia’s first “addendum mix” to the ‘1981’ box set (and is based on a mix I put together partially from tracks in the ‘1981 Briefcase‘ in 2005).  It explores the tip of the iceberg of Deutsche Neue Welle and DNW-inflected music, and in terms of quality could well have been the 10th “main disc mix” in the box.  If DNW is new to you, this should serve as a reasonable introduction, despite being limited to just one year: ’81 was as peak for Germanic-speaking synthy, dark, reassuringly non-virtuosic  pop as it was for post-punk at large–though like Italo Disco, DNW seems to have carried on strong longer than non-New Wave/New Romantic post-punk in Britain and the U.S. did.  Within basic parameters described above, this compilation reveals the considerable breadth within the DNW umbrella: songs of tuneful joy; sultry saxed-up rockers; dubby or D.A.F.-lite dance-pop; playful squelchy synth-funk silliness; sentimental romanticism; minimal ambient horror-shows; odes to evil robot CIA/KGB; precient proto-house (if Pole tackled house instead of dub); “dance-punk” that you’d swear came from 2003; and of course a good dash of pre-apocalyptic rumination, as expected from the front-lines of the cold war, but offset by an equal measure neo-kosmiche optimism.

Few generally recognised names are found here (unless they’re better known in Germany): Neonbabies are sort of the German Bush Tetras; theres Absolute Body Control, Grauzone, Palais Schaumburg, Beranek, Geisterfahrer, Pyrolater (perhaps the best-known name here); Klopferbande, Sudenten Creche, Din a Testbild, Kitchen and the Plastic Spoons, Metro Pakt, Kosmonautentraum, Mythos, 1000 Ohm, Les Vampyrettes (actually Holger Czukay & Conny Plank, but which fits right in); and Deutsche Wertabeit, Matthais Schuster, Van Kaye & Ignit, Starter, Exkurs, and Weltklang.  Not a great deal of this stuff is readily available, though there are a few scattered “best ofs” and the occasional CD reissue of some of them; others are still waiting for their due.  As a couple of these tracks have been shared from the ‘1981 Briefcase‘ at Musicophilia Daily, I’ll stream them below as a preview of the mix.  Full tracklist and download below the “more…” link. [This mix is presented in its original form, as individual tracks, non-mixed.]

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[1981] – ‘Briefcase’ Tracks

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on March 7, 2009

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For those of you who enjoy the mixes from the ‘1981’ set–there’s a whole other side to the box that until now I haven’t had a good way to share.  But with the advent of the Musicophilia Daily blog, I think there’s now an appropriate forum.  So starting today, every weekend I’ll be posting tracks both from the ‘1981 Briefcase’ proper, and additional ’81 tracks I’ve discovered since I made the box in 2004.  Of the 250+ tracks originally included on the disc, I’d say fewer than a dozen were included for “context” or in order to “paint a full picture,” stuff I didn’t really enjoy musically (though you might); the vast majority are, in my opinion, high-quality stuff that just didn’t fit for one reason or another on any of the themed mixes.  So this is not barrel scraping–if you like what you’ve heard so far, you’ll hear plenty to love.

Check it out at Musicophilia DailySubscribe to Musicohpilia

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[1981] – ‘Computer’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 10, 2009

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As exciting as it must have felt if you were in the right place with the right people in 1981, my guess is that within a couple years it was evident that 1981 was a high-water mark for arty weirdo fusion un-rock rock music, and things had moved on.  Most of the music on the ‘1981’ box set represents this climax, and it doesn’t sound much like what your average person on the street thinks of when they think of “80s music”.  And not just because some of it was obscure even in its day; but rather because although it would inspire a small minority, a lot of music on the ‘1981’ set is actually the sound of the end of something, not a beginning.  By contrast, the music on ‘Computer,’ the seventh disc of the 1981 set, presents the birth of what most would identify as “80s music”.  This is “Electropop,” this is “New Wave,” this is “New Pop,” with a little bit of “New Romantic” for good measure–unabashed pop melodiousness, accompanied by synths and lead by keyboards, informed by the beginnings of an obsession with chorus, delay, and reverbed drums.  But–this is still 1981, so it all feels a little innocent, a little rough around the edges; the art-school diplomas and the bedsit squats and the situationist screeds still peek out from behind the bigger hairdos and the pleated trousers and the faux-corporate rhetoric about band-as-brand and taking on the system through the system.  ‘Computer‘ is the sound of turning at a crossroads.  But I would say it’s far from a lamentation of something lost–this music is above all else about smiling in the face of uncertainty.

This isn’t electro-disco or Italo or Hi-NRG.  This is electronic-based pop and some of it was quite popular: Depeche Mode, Devo, Human League, Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Soft Cell and the Cars you’ll recognise from the radio even if you were in diapers in 1981.  And most will most likely know Thomas Dolby (at least by way of John Hughes), Annie Lennox’s Eurythmics (with half of Can), Cybotron, OMD, The Buggles and of course the godfathers, Kraftwerk (here with probably one of my top 5 tracks of 1981).  But the trick is, this isn’t quite these bands as you might best recognise them, though depending on your proclivities, it might be these bands as you best enjoy them.  These staples are joined by the darker or slightly odder likes of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, The Associates, Heaven 17 (ex-Human League), the Plastics, Yello, the lovely New Musik, Manuel Gottsching quietly “inventing” House, Tuxedomoon, Chris & Cosey (the softer side of Throbbing Gristle), Moev, Classix Nouveaux, and the wonderful Blue Nile with a song of pure unadulterated joy.  Full tracklist and download link are after the “more…” link.  And keep on the lookout of the next couple months for the final two mixes from the ‘1981’ box.

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[Women of Post-Punk] ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 3′

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 7, 2009

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Completing a triology (for now) of mixes focusing on leading female artists of the post-punk milieu, here is ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Volume Three’.  Taken with volumes One and Two, the mix serves as an introduction to what is arguably the least male-centric, most maleable and voraciously all-encompasing form rock and roll has ever taken in post-punk of the late 70s and 80s.  I generally view post-punk an extension of the artistic sensibilities of outre music of the late 60s and 70s (from the Velvet Underground and the Stooges to Can and Faust to Kraftwerk and Roxy Music, but also infused with heady funk, dub, Afrobeat and even musique concret); but even these predecessors tended to work in male-dominated idioms (though giving us major post-punk fore-mothers like Nico, Yoko Ono and Brigitte Fontaine).  One could argue for both a political and artistic “feminine/feminist” quality in post-punk (as made by women, but also by many men); and music on these mixes could be cited as evidence of newly heard female qualities brought to an interpretation of rock in these years.  But what’s interesting to me is that the women of post-punk seem to have felt completely free to express their feminine and masculine and simply human qualities freely. Few female musicians of post-punk seem to be “playing a man’s game,” nor presenting a “version” of the main channel, nor catering to male expectations of the Rock Chick (certainly not in an unproblematised, unironic way).  These figures stand as central to my understanding of this sort of music as any men.  And I feel they’re recognised broadly as pillars of the music.  But having presented these mixes, I’d be very keen to hear your ideas: had you ever thought particularly one way or another about women in post-punk; are there identifiable ways in which women shaped post-punk, or was post-punk simply rock’s first androgynous embodiment; do you agree women are central to the story of post-punk, or were they in fact marginalised at the time? (I’d be especially curious to hear the experiences of those of you who were “there,” and not in diapers like myself.)  As for ‘Volume Three’ specifically: this mix is perhaps slightly spookier, more off-kilter, and a little darker than the previous two mixes.  And yet–I think you’d be hard pressed to fit much of it into a traditional “femme fatale,” “chanteause” mold.  There are as many unique and individual voices here as there are artists.

Included artists this round are the Creatures, Siouxsie’s percussion-centric vehicle; early Eurythmics and Phew, both featuring the ryhthm (and loops) section of Can; beat-happy ESG, Maximum Joy, and Los Microwaves; ever-enigmatic and very underrated Ludus; scuzzy electro-weirdos Crash Course in Science, primed for rediscovery; Grace Jones at her most post-punk, making her own thing of Iggy Pop; New York queen Lydia Lunch with her own inimitably cracked and macabre take on “Gloomy Sunday;” under-heard Marilyn & The Movie Stars of the fecund post-No Wave scene; the quietly forceful Young Marble Giants; and the unabashedly epic and “rock-y” Pretenders.  Full tracklist and download link follow “more…”.  [I'd like to welcome the readers of the Typical Girls mailing list--I'd certainly love to hear your take on what all this music means!  Your intro page alone captures the bulk of the remaining artists I've got in mind for future volumes of this series.  You'll also want to check out the '1981'  and 'Post-Punk Miniatures' series and the 'Post Post-Punk' mix, if you get a chance--but I imagine you'd find a lot to like in the pre-punk material on which Musicophilia also focuses.]

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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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[1981] – ‘Cassette’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 22, 2008

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‘Cassette’ is the sixth of nine mixes from the ‘1981’ box set to be posted here at Musicophilia (the first five can be found here, with detailed information about the project at the first mix, ‘Feet‘).  The mix began with a focus on the lo-fi and twee strains of post-punk in the box’s 1st edition.  By this, the 4th edition revision, the disc had mutated into something rather broader.  There’s still a commonality of unabashedly amateur means, a certain ramshackle sensibility, and a decided quirkiness that means you’ll mistake none of it for, say, Echo & The Bunnymen.  But stylistically and sonically, ‘Cassette’ became one of the most eclectic mixes in the set.  Partially this can be credited to its ‘Miniatures‘-like emphasis on brevity: 35 artists and tracks in its CD length means it never lingers any one place too long.  But in the odder, proto-home-recording edges of post-punk, limited means did not shape the aesthetic as much as with later, more voluntarily “lo-fi” music.  So here you’ll find cassette-trade-worthy takes on perfect pop, bristly punk, electropop, DNW, proto-Indie, Rock in Opposition, avant garde feminist art-rock, with an emphasis on the scruffier, scuzzier end of early synthpunk.

There are a few “known” names here (now, whether they were so much at the time): The Clean, Felt, Tall Dwarfs, Half Japanese, The Fall, Television Personalities, and the Violent Femmes.  But this disc almost certainly has the highest percentage of any ‘1981’ disc of unknowns-to-be-known-later and pretty-much-always-unknowns.  The artists you do know, but in early permutations or flying solo: Laughing Apples feature Andrew Innes later of Primal Scream; Ben Watts shows up here solo, best known as one half of Everything But the Girl with ex-Marine Girl Tracey Thorn; Biting Tongues included Graham Massey, later of 808 State; Plasticland is here in their earliest iteration (with Brian Ritchie of the Femmes), as are Aztec Camera.  There are Midwesterners (including many Hoosiers) like Social Climbers, Dow Jones & The Industrials, Dancing Cigarettes, Amoebas in Chaos, Philosophic Collage, and Human Switchboard; West Coasters The Beakers, Nervous Gender, Monitor, and Voice Farm; and excellent New Yorkers Thick Pigeon.  Not American are the 49 Americans, a well-connected London artist-amateur coalition that included David Toop; along with other Brits like Ludus (sometimes known for being Morrissey’s pals), The Fall-related Blue Orchids, recently-reissued Diagram Brothers, and Flux of Pink Indians; lovely French Young Marble Giants doppelgangers Fall of Saigon; and Germans Der Plan and the very reissue-worthy Neonbabies.  All this, on two sides of the elusive C80: the perfect sound for your new Walkman or Stowaway.  Full tracklist and download link after the “more…” link.

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[1981] – ‘Heart’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 15, 2008

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‘Heart’ is the fifth compilation from the ‘1981′ box set, originally compiled and released 2004-2005 (the previous four can be found here, and more information about the project and as a whole and photos of the box are here).  Most of the time, “post-punk” has a spiky connotation, and an artsy reputation; words we would commonly associate with the period/movement/ethos are iconoclastic, political, contrarian, weird, Modernistic, futuristic, maybe even danceable and funky, in a wiry sort of way.  But one idea we might not think of very quickly is “emotional,” unless the brooding, gloomy sub-genre dominates our perception.  But even “gloomy” is almost more of an idea of an emotion than an emotion itself; a pose of sadness, a melodrama that does not particularly convey itself directly to any listener not already striking a similar pose.  This mix, then, was meant to shed a little light on the occurrence of more mature, fully-fledged emotion: the earnest, the hopeful, the broken, exultant, desperate, dreaming, nostalgic, regretful, passionate, uncertain, and sometimes viscerally angry heart of post-punk.

Most of the other discs in the set were compiled primarily around particular sonic criteria, so in some ways this is one of the more eclectic of the nine.  Musically there is a tendency toward simplicity, a degree of spareness, an un-punk sense of restraint; but other moments snarl or get a little anthemic, and others are unabashedly poppy.   Among the tracks here are some of my very favorite from 1981: The Cure‘s inimitable (would that none had tried) “All Cats Are Grey,” post-Young Marble Giants the Gist with “Love At First Sight,” Gang of Four‘s Achilles-like tale of “Paralysed,” OMD‘s bones-exposed “Romance of the Telescope” (one of the best b-sides of all time), Raincoats‘ “Only Loved at Night,” Talking Heads‘ biting-or-inspirational “Once In A Lifetime,” and perhaps most haunting, Japan‘s “Ghosts” (which, were it not for Laurie Andersons chart-penultimate ‘O Superman,’ would have to be one of the most unlikely singles of all time).   But the Passions, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello, Durutti Column, Buzzcock Pete Shelley, The Sound, New Order, This Heat, Gary Numan, Psychedelic Furs, MX-80, Ultravox, and the other post-Young Marble Giants act featured here, The Weekend, are all represented here by some of their best work, too.  This would have to be the darkhorse contender for best disc in the set, so if you have hesitated to check them all out before, pick up again here and work your way back.  Full tracklist and download link after “more…”.  Four more ‘1981’ mixes remaining. . .

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[One-off] – ‘Post Post-Punk’ (1983-1994)

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

As I’ve said before, I find “post-punk” to be a term of minimal descriptive accuracy, in terms of the character of the music to which the label is attributed, nor even in terms of any meaningful timeline. The types of music we call “post-punk” have less to do with “punk” to my ears than with forms of music and art created in the 60s and early 70s. All that said, for convenience we usually talk of “post-punk” as peaking between 1978 and 1982, being supplanted (ostensibly) closely thereafter by the mainstream ascent of “New Pop,” “New Romantic,” “New Wave,” and soon enough outside of MTV, “indie-” or “college-rock”. And I’ll agree that between the quantitative peak of 1979-1981 to 1983, something does seem to have significantly changed. Plenty of the flag-bearers of post-punk adopted a more through- rather than against-the-system approach (some to great effect, like Scritti Politti or Depeche Mode; others less so, like Simple Minds). But the good thing about “post-punk” is that it was always more of an approach and a sensibility than a close-cropped aesthetic or production value, and it was less overtly based in the typical youth-oriented trappings of pop/rock music; so it never really died as a fount of new energy either for many of its premiere proponents (like David Byrne or David Thomas or Sonic Youth) and younger artists inspired by the freedom it expresses.

‘Post Post-Punk’ is a playful glance at the continuation of the ‘Spirit of ’78 to ’82’ (to put it awkwardly) through the mid-80s and a little of the 90s. Many of the artists featured are directly carrying on from the “peak” years—ESG; Liquid Liquid; Wire’s Colin Newman; Pop Group’s Mark Stewart; the Specials as Special AKA; or Siouxsie’s Creatures—who didn’t fit the slicker sounds gaining dominance. Other included here ‘predate’ the peak and never lost the tack, and simply kept going regardless of fashion, perhaps reinvigorated by their slightly younger peers, like David Thomas; Arthur Russell; or This Heat’s Charles Hayward, carrying on with Camberwell Now. Others were there in the day but became better known for later work, like post-Urinals 100 Flowers; Neon Judgment; Thick Pigeon; The Ex (perhaps the most successful long-time miners of the post-punk zeitgeist); Cybotron; the Blackouts; or Sonic Youth. Finally, a few represent the best of the generation more typically associated with indie-rock or Brit-pop, whose sensibilities had more in common with the ambitions of post-punk artists: Dog Faced Hermans, Biting Tongues (featuring Graham Massey, later of 808 State and Bjork renown), and Disco Inferno (who seem to me a bridge between post-punk, what was called post-rock, and the post-whatever good stuff being done today). Ultimately, though, the mix makes no attempt at any comprehensive argument or any sort of historical revision: it was just meant to be a mix of some of my faves who “carried on” the weirdness. Full tracklist and download after the “more…” link.

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[1981] – ‘Brain’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on November 10, 2008

‘Brain’ is the third Musicophilia-posted mix from the ‘1981′ box set, and pretty much the precise inverse of the poppy, breezy, songwriter-oriented sound and feeling of the last mix posted, ‘Convertible‘. And I’d concede it’s probably a little less accessible than the first mix posted, the beat-oriented ‘Feet‘ mix. These tracks are the mutant sons and daughters of musique concrete; late 60s/early 70s weirdos like the Residents, White Noise, Bruce Haack; Germans like Cluster and Faust. This stuff is often aggressive, frequently dark, a combination of the visceral and the experimental. That said, there’s a distinct sense of humor running through it all, even if the humor is a little black, and the music manages to be pretty catchy, too. If you’re at all post-punk-curious, this is essential territory.

Featured names include Germans Klaus Nomi, Trio, Einstruzende Neubauten; Brits like Matt Johnson (of The The, presaging Disco Inferno), Fire Engines, Flying Lizards, and the Birthday Party; No Wave elites DNA and Glenn Branca; post-Henry Cow RIOers Art Bears, Homosexuals and This Heat; agit-prop Crass and The Ex; and essential American art-pranksters like Chrome, The Residents, Negativland, and Pere Ubu. It might have made more sense to post this one on Halloween, and the closer-to-celebratory ‘Convertible’ mix after the recent good news here in America. But this is a good one for those flashbacks to the creeping paranoia and anger of the last eight years—this is the sound of smiling through it all, with panache and wit. For more information about the whole ‘1981’ series, read more here. Full tracklist and download link after the “more…”.

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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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[1981] – ‘Feet’ Mix (2005)

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

[Note: All nine mixes from the '1981' box set are now available to download here.]

From the ‘1981’ box set, the ‘Feet’ compilation is a rhythm-oriented collection that makes a nice introduction to the set and to the period. Featuring some well-known heavyweights of the post-punk milieu–Gang of Four, Kraftwerk, OMD, Public Image Ltd.–it’s one of the more immediately accessible discs from the box. But it also has a features a few artists who get less general recognition, like Dome (post-Wire); Family Fodder (possibly the anti-Joy Division for me, in terms of more accurately capturing wildly expansive ethos of post-punk); Massacre (Fred Frith’s most bracing, prog-less stab); Dif Juz (post-rock what?); Trio (great band, misfiled as novelty one-hitters); British Electronic Foundation and Heaven 17 (post-Human League); and Goat that Went Om (courtesy of Phil at No Night Sweats, I gather they only recorded this one track). A good mix to pass on to friends. Tracklist, notes and download after the break.

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