Musicophilia

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘The Depths’ – (1971-2013)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on July 24, 2014

Continuing the tradition of Musicophilia’s most adventurous (and admittedly, least popular) mixes, the ‘Sensory Replication Series,’ comes ‘The Depths’.  Like its predecessors, this mix seeks to create an immersive experience through a virtual landscape.  This involves “heavy mixing,” testing the boundaries between harmony and discord, rhythm and arrhythmia, tension and release, layering seemingly disparate elements and weaving them into something else.  So there are moments where the elements may seem to pull in different directions, but then coalesce as one.  In most instances, there is a spine in the form of a song (or two songs) mixing and meshing with more abstract pieces.  While the sources are diverse, there is a concerted effort to sustain a narrative feeling and a cinematic scope.  So, casual listening it probably isn’t–it may only really make sense when you have a moment to listen without distraction (ideally in the dark with headphones, so that the soundscape can really substitute for all other senses).  But for those who can find beauty in imperfection, I hope it will be rewarding. Stream and download after the “more” link.  The tracklist this time around is only an approximation, not a sequential list, as many of the tracks are intertwined.

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[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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[Year-End] – ‘A Year in the Light’ (2010)

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

‘A Year in the Light’ began as the 2010 installment of the ‘Get Off My Lawn‘ series, but ended up as something I feel is more aesthetically coherent and emotionally compelling than those “year-ender” recaps, coming closer to the decade-spanning ‘A Decade in the Dark‘.  But rather than the millennial noir quality of that mix, ‘Light’ has, while hardly a sunny daytime feeling, a somewhat more buoyant quality.  It combines the contemplative and the beat-oriented, often at once; the spacious and the immediate; the narrative and the abstract.  Somehow, the electronic and dance sit comfortably alongside the art-rock and the singer-songwriter.  As is my tendency, I heard relatively little current music in 2010, maybe three dozen albums.  But I am impressed by the quality of what I’ve heard, most of it apparently free of the shackles of irony, playful with the weight of influence and occasionally sounding genuinely timeless.

I was particularly surprised, in some cases, by where this mature art came from.  A number of artists featured in this mix were those I’ve disliked in the past, but whose current work has forced me to reconsider.  LCD Soundsystem, Joanna Newsom, Squarepusher (here as Shobaleader One), Antony & The Johnsons all rubbed me the wrong way, years ago in earlier incarnations.  I’d assumed Will Oldham’s best work was behind him.  I’d seen Four Tet totally outpaced a few years ago by his opening act, Jamie Lidell, himself another act I’d thought had lost his way.   Probably the most surprising–and most recurring–personage here is . . .  Beck Hansen.  Yeah, didn’t see that one coming, myself. But he seems to have discovered a new talent: enabling other musicians.  Beck’s production for Jamie Lidell helped him escape the white-boy-plays-the-Apollo wannabe act he’d become to recapture some of the energy that made his electronic work and early vocal music exciting.  Beck also produced Charlotte Gainsbourg’s remarkably strong album, and he apparently wrote a lot of the music for it, too.  The most surprising “album” of the year, and among my top few, was the Beck-organized “Record Club” take on the entirety of Skip Spence’s ‘Oar,’ with the help of Wilco, Feist, Lidell and drummer extraordinaire James Gadson–the whole of which is well worth a listen (along with the other fun, if slightly less consistently good, Record Club cover albums).  Along with Caribou, who’d already won my heart with his previous album and now upped the ante; and newcomer James Blake, who makes music well beyond his years; and the always-wonderful Knife, this “year-end” mix hopefully transcends its ephemeral impetus sufficiently to overcome being a couple months late.  Download and tracklist beyond the “more…” 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 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] – ‘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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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Lullaby No. 2′ (1903-2004)

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

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

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

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[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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[1981] – ‘Convertible’ Mix (2005)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on October 31, 2008

The second posted mix from the ‘1981′ box set, the ‘Convertible’ compilation showcases a side of the post-punk sound that usually gets the least attention: its poppy, melody-oriented, hummable, playful persona. Some of this gets lumped under “New Wave,” but for many that term connotes a synth-based sound that ascended later in the decade. The sounds on this mix in some ways reflect a more traditional, sometimes even pre-psychedelic, singer-songwriter-oriented “pre-punk” or “un -punk” approach to songwriting. Some of it foreshadows the late-80s rise of “indie rock” as an ‘antidote’ to excessive perceived synthetic-glam, but in 1981 there’s not much of the anti-artrockist twee feeling of 80s indie. This is simply catchy pop music, a continuation of a long tradition, with a feeling that is nevertheless uniquely informed by the heady musical freedom in the underground of the era.

I put ‘Convertible’ together as further evidence that post-punk was fun, for those under the looming cultural shadow of Joy Division and the other dark-side mopers. The music found here isn’t nearly as “cool” as a lot of the other stuff on the ’81 set, but it simply doesn’t need to be: it’s just right the way it is, simple, well-crafted, cleanly produced. As usual, there are big names (Costello, REM, Go-Go’s, TheRamones, Pretenders) and less so (Go Betweens, Pylon, The Suburbs, The Stranglers, and the Necessaries, featuring Arthur Russell, transitional Scritti Politti, pre -Everything But the Girl Marine Girls), but to my ears again the remarkable thing is the parity, the consistently high quality of the era’s broad zeitgeist, between those who received lots of attention at the time or went on to become mainstream acts, and those who never came close (or never wanted to). More information about the ‘1981’ box set in general (as well as the first mix in the series posted toMusicophilia) can be found here. Keep your eyes open for more mixes from the ‘1981’ set in upcoming weeks, including synthy goodness, weirdo careening, and the very height of 1981 “cool”. Full tracklist and download link after the “more…”.

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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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