[Year End Mix] – ‘Get Off My Lawn, 2008!’ (2008)
Finally, the year-end mix nobody’s been waiting for! It will probably come as no surprise to those who’ve downloaded any of Musicophilia’s mixes that I’m not particularly focused on the tiny sliver of all recorded music history that is now. It’s not that I doubt there’s good stuff being made—I’m completely certain there’s a lot of it. It’s just that sometime around 1999, I remember buying a Mogwai CD, puting it on, and suddenly having the realization: “I have no interest in this music whatsoever”. (In fact specific to the disc, I hated it, and in a fairly rare act of dramatic symbolism I literally threw it away.) It wasn’t that it was particularly surprising that another disc of generic post-rock would let me down—it’s just that it made me realise I never wanted to buy another disc full of music I wasn’t viscerally excited by, or that didn’t at least expanded my understanding of music. And I also recognized that I’d been (denying) having a lot of similar let-downs whilst trying to “keep up” with “all that was going on,” because I was young and wanted to feel like I was where it was at; that in truth I often felt burned by what magazines and websites told me was cool; and that my resources were finite (not just money, but time and energy). So I gave up the New Releases sections on Tuesdays or Mondays; and embraced the fact that where I’d really had most success for years, and the fewest empty let-down feelings, was deeper in the shops, in the old stuff, in the Jazz section, in the Funk sections, in the International sections. And with that new sense of direction—which is to say, any direction, not bound by the false teleology of the passage of time ever forward—I came to find the lions share of the music I love most, from across a wide spectrum of times, places, sounds—almost everything you hear at Musicophilia. (More rambling, full tracklist, and the download link after “more…”)
Ever since then, I’ve felt that music respected me, and warranted the love I’m bound to give it, and I am constantly excited by it, a feeling I hope all of you share. It seems that the distance of time, and the disolve of hipsters in it for the cool into dorky record geeks in it for the love, has two seemingly contradictory effects: it separates the wheat from the chaffe, letting the tertiary and the temporary slip away; but it also reveals just how broad and deep the pool of great music is at any time, which nobody can see from the ground-level of “now” no matter how obsessively they look around. So with time, enjoyment can become both more selective and more expansive. That’s why you’ll find me talking up 2008 on a hypernet holo-blog sometime around 2021. (I trust the listeners of Musicophilia implicitly, though, so if anyone wants to give me a head start, recommendations are much appreciated.) All that hopefully explains the jokey title of this mix, ‘Get Off My Lawn, 2008, and You Too, 2007!‘: this is a mix about these damned kids these days, made by a (happy) curmudgeon. But the truth is, while I heard so little music from 2008 (essentially most of it by accident) that my end-of-year mix also dips into 2007—nevertheless, stumbling about in the dark (mumbling to myself,) I feel like I’ve already found a lot of good music from “now”.
An aesthetic palette and a theme to this mix seemed to emerge again almost by accident. I just picked songs or artists that stuck with me, and started sequencing. On first listen to the sum total, I realised this was a mix either about living in apocalyptic times; or, a glimmer of hope suggested, a mix about people who’d just survived apocalyptic times. (If it’s too hard to tell, the image blended with grass on the cover is a lovely warm mushroom cloud.) “Apocalyptic” isn’t to say it’s dreary stuff, as most of it is actually upbeat or aggressive or funny when it isn’t just beautiful. But it’s a mix that makes sense for 2008, or at least the last eight years; and it makes me suspect (or hope) that if not by the end-of-year 2009, then at least by the end-of-year 2010 the year-in-review mixes will sound slightly less paranoid, death-fixated, callous, spooked, and the hints of optimism might be less subtle. Yes, I’m a hope-mongering curmudgeon, though I suspect most curmudgeons are—it’s not actually that we think things were so much better back when, but rather that we’ve been so deeply moved by the beauty and the good that human beings can achieve that everything that counteracts that good wounds us deeply. Thankfully, hip fixations on mediocre music are a shallow wound, in the scheme of things; and good music sans “cool” is always good medicine.
Perhaps my favorite track of the year hasn’t technically been released yet: Matt Anders‘ mix-leading “Are You Afraid To Die,” but he’s one to watch out for in 2009 (though he’s not a new arrival—he’s been making wonderful sounds for better than a decade, just keeping most of it secret). There are great tracks I loved from albums that left me a little cool, by Erykah Badu, J Dilla, Gnarls Barkley, The Roots, Burial, Clipse’s Re-Up Gang, and Glass Candy. There are the surprises from bands I’d loved in youth who I expected little of in my old age: Radiohead, Portishead, Matmos, and Spiritualized. There are recent discoveries like Caribou (much improved, to my ears, from the cute, tepid IDM of the Manitoba days,) Voodoo Economics (who recall the best elements of Ludus) and soundscapist Tauchsieder (from an album featuring Colin Newman, JD Twitch of Optimo, and others). And finally there’s Low’s kind and gentle Alan Sparhawk letting out his inner Rawk Devil with the Retribution Gospel Choir; Alig of top-ten-post-punk-band Family Fodder here as Idol Fodder; and Robert Wyatt, still on his decade-plus revival roll. There you have it: a curmudgeon’s guide to fun during the apocalypse. See you in 2009!
Various – Get Off My Lawn, 2008, And You Too, 2007!
A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Fun During the Apocalypse
01 [00:00] Matt Anders – “Are You Afraid To Die” (Unreleased, 2008)
02 [03:07] Ayatollah – “Charlie Is Brown” (Louder, 2008)
03 [05:03] Erykah Badu – “The Healer” (New Amerykah Part One, 2008)
04 [09:05] Idol Fodder – “Analyse My Life” (Babytalk, 2007)
05 [12:06] Re-Up Gang – “Money” (Clipse Presents: Re-Up Gang, 2008)
06 [15:32] Retribution Gospel Choir – “Easy Prey” (Retribution Gospel Choir, 2008)
07 [17:48] Matmos – “Polychords” (Supreme Balloon, 2008)
08 [21:12] Glass Candy – “Rolling Down the Hills” (Beat Box, 2007)
09 [24:24] Burial – “Archangel” (Untrue, 2007)
10 [28:06] Portishead – “The Rip” (3, 2008)
11 [00:00] J-Dilla – “Say It” (Jay Loves Japan, 2008)
12 [02:50] Caribou – “Sundialing” (Andorra, 2007)
13 [07:13] Gnarls Barkley – “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” (The Odd Couple, 2008)
14 [10:21] Tauchsieder – “Clubbed” (Louder, 2007)
15 [13:55] Spiritualized – “Death Take Your Fiddle” (Songs in A&E, 2008)
16 [16:52] Voodoo Economics – “”What if Those Heavy Things. . .” (If : Then :: Iminami, 2007)
17 [19:39] The Roots – “Get Busy” (Rising Down, 2008)
18 [23:09] Robert Wyatt – “Stay Tuned” (Comicopra, 2007)
19 [26:48] Radiohead – “4 Minute Warning” (In Rainbows, Part 2, 2007)
[Total Time: 63:01]