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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[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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[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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[Ethicophilia] Musicophilia’s Two Cents (and $50k) on Paying Artists for the Music We Love

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on June 23, 2012

drum_bw1Musicophilia has been in defacto semi-retirement for most of the last couple years, as life has made mix-making infeasible (and even music listening far too rare). However, I am working on a few things, and several equally musically-obsessed friends are at work, too. The mixes still seem to get a few downloads every day, so I’ve left things up in the hopes that the mixes will continue to turn people on to music they’ll love.

Which brings me to the real topic of this post: loving music enough to share it, and what I hope is the result. I’ve been explicit about it elsewhere, along the lines of “please support the artists featured in these mixes,” but on the internet that might seem like some sort of pseudo-legalese ass-covering. I hope that it’s always evident, however, that in the case of blogs like this one–sharing mixes, sharing very deeply out-of-print music–that we really mean it, that the objective is to support and promote artists. Prior to Musicophilia, I grappled with the ethics of mix-sharing on a broader scale when distributing the ‘1981’ box. On the one hand, I was “giving away” music that I did not create; on the other, I did so with the (non-legally-binding) approval of nearly every artist I spoke with who had made the music, with only one dissenting voice. Perhaps more importantly, nearly every person with whom I talked after they’d had the mix a while said something like “darn you, you’ve made me spend so much money buying albums on stuff I first heard on the box”. I wanted people to experience the thrills and joys the music had given me. But my “ulterior motive” was very definitely that they should then go out and be a big dork who buys lots of music and thereby supports the sort of shops that sold such music, and the artists who made it.

What has me thinking about all this at the moment is the exchange between a college student who wrote about having 11,000 songs in her collection while having purchased only 15 CDs in her life, and musician David Lowery, writing about the ‘new paradigm’ her attitudes reflect and foster. As is my wont, I’m late to the discussion and you probably have already read it all. But it’s a subject I imagine people who would come to this sort of blog–which arguably straddles both sides of the argument by its nature–might have interesting insights on the matter. So I invite you to discuss the issue here, at least in part picking up a conversation we began years ago here.

For myself, I spent just enough years (a decade or so) as a music-lover before downloading (legally or illegally) became an option that I deeply value both 1) physical media/record stores/real-life conversations about music and 2) the potential equalizer of the internet, wherein you weren’t limited by where you lived or who you knew or how much money you had, but only by your interest, in your path to musical discovery. This was no small matter to someone with voracious ears who lived in the hinterland, without a hip older sibling, without money–the sort of person who, without the internet (and some lucky opportunities to travel), might have faced years of frustration instead of years of discovery.   As a result, I’m neither old-school nor new school: I think of the internet as a great tool for discovery and turning others onto discoveries–but I still believe record shops, physical media, and supporting artists/labels/shops directly are essential to a sustained musical culture.

I’ve probably spent around $50k in my twenty years of buying music, a sizable portion of every dollar I’ve ever earned. From around 1998 onward (the year I was a college radio DJ, like Ms. White, and gained access to high-speed internet) almost all that music almost could’ve cost me $0. So maybe I’m a rube and a sucker, a consumerist weighed down by meaningless discs.  Maybe I’m arguing broad access to music is a game for the rich (or, in my case, the financially stupid).  But for all that music has given my life–and it really is a huge part of what gives me my hope for humanity, and on a personal level is intertwined with almost every memory I have–don’t I owe something to the people who made it?

I don’t say all this because I think I’m inherently more moral than younger folks “spoiled by the internet”–maybe they can’t imagine music being anything but free.  And I can see how that could be the paradigm for the casual listener, satisfied with the limited supply of music propagated through mainstream channels at any given moment.  But it’s impossible for me to understand the mentality of someone who says “my world is music-centric,” yet thinks that this “center” of their life just appears out of thin air–moreover, someone whose main approach to music’s central role in her life is how “convenient” it is to hear.  I have to admit, that mindset makes me question the validity of something like Musicophilia as a help rather than a hindrance to musical culture.

Perhaps the optimism I’ve always had about the internet as part of a hybrid approach (virtual + real-world musical discovery) is unfounded. Maybe mix-sharing is just another way of creating a false notion that music is “free”–and cheap. Maybe physical media will die, and all the shops will close (I’m living in New York right now, and it feels almost as barren as my hinterland home 15 years ago, for decent shops), and music is mostly a fashion accessory these days anyway. I can get very old-man-grousing “get off my lawn” about it. But then–so much of the music I’ve mixed on Musicophilia is in print and can be bought, and I feel like more and better music is being reissued than ever, and on physical media to boot.  Contemporary independent, theoretically artist-driven music has never had deeper inroads into the mainstream. Even if half the ones I knew are gone, there are still shops selling all this music.; and while I may find it baffling, people can and apparently do spend money on mp3s. It all leaves me completely unsure which way the wind is really blowing.  Is there a generation out there that really thinks the way Emily White thinks?  Are all the great reissue labels just experiencing one final flourish selling to the last of the “record geeks,” soon to disappear?  Is online music selling going to boil down to whatever “convenient” gatekeepers like iTunes decide to sell, and on their terms–putting people back into a virtual hinterland? I guess I can only hope that for every “music lover” who thinks everything is free now, there are two who recognize it’s never been easier to find the music you were born to hear–and doesn’t think it’s too inconvenient to “support the artists” in a very real way.

So share your thoughts, anecdotes, statistics, sad stories of shops closing, triumphant experiences of all this complicated mess working out for the best. And hit up some of the “BUY. MUSIC.” links to the right, while we still can.

[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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[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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[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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[Musicophilia] – 20,000 mixes!

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on February 19, 2010

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Sorry for the lack of new mixes lately, everyone. The demands of planning for graduate school and other life-concerns have kept me from finishing mixes lately.  But I promise good things are afoot.  I’m working up multi-mix series focusing on Sound Library music, ‘issued’ under the Musique du Monde banner; another featuring more “post-post-punk” music that carries on the spirit and sounds of the post-punk pinnacle through the 80s to the 2000s; and an exploration of my favorite singer-songwriter music from the underrated early 70s period.  There are also new Le Tour du Monde and Les Miniatures mixes I need to finish up.  But odds are, there’s stuff already up you haven’t heard, so I recommend taking a look at the 52+ mixes that went up in Musicophilia’s first year–which I’m proud (and astonished) to say just went over 20,000 total listens earlier this week!  I sure hope that means people are hearing (and then buying) things they never knew before!  Thanks for listening and spreading the word.

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[Decade-End] – ‘A Decade in the Dark’ (2000-2009)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 22, 2009

Ten years out from 2019, it’s pretty clear ‘Blade Runner‘ was a little off the mark in terms of flying cars, bio-engineered supermen, a resurgent retro-Deco architecture (alas), and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.  But as this first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, I can’t help but feel like the film nevertheless got more right than we might like to admit.  Not the least is the pervading sense of darkness; no, things aren’t literally gritty, wet and ever-dark, but it’s not hard to feel after this bungled decade that things might not be soon enough if things carry on with current trajectory.  The upside of this noir condition is that uncertain times, a futurism that isn’t optimism, and the melted cultural edges of an internet age have produced a lot of fantastic music that wouldn’t sound the least bit out of place in the sin dens and street bazaars (and cold storage laboratories) of ‘Blade Runner‘.

A Decade in the Dark‘ began gestation as a more traditional end-of-decade best-of mix, a la Musicophilia’s annual ‘Get Off My Lawn‘ series, based on my recent ‘Top Albums of the 2000s‘ list.  My favorite albums and singles of the decade included plenty of love songs, pop tunes, wistful singer-songwriter fare, etc. (which I’ll visit in future mixes).  But as I gathered pieces, I noticed a more compelling (if less comprehensive) story emerging.  The result is remarkably singular and cohesive, all parts sharing common threads of minimalist exoticism; spartan electronics that verge on organic; a judicious balance of wet and dry sound; and a haunted, longing emotional quality.  This is not the sound of realism: it’s not meant to convey the religious and imperial violence, political bitterness, or economic depression of the closing decade.  Rather, it is a romantic exploration of the emotional territory of this future-past, one we never dreamed of as kids when imagining life beyond that far-off year 2000.  It’s a dark story, but an evocative and enchanting one.

The twelve main songs that make up ‘A Decade in the Dark,’ along with two textural interludes, feel like individual vignettes set in a shared cinematic world.  The characters here are played by The Knife, Daniel Menche, Erykah Badu, Bjork, Burial, Portishead, Junior Boys (channeling Frank Sinatra), Low, Flaming Lips, David Sylvian, Thom Yorke, David Thomas with Two Pale Boys (re-envisioning the Beach Boys), The For Carnation, and Fennesz.  All play anti-heroes, like Deckard and Roy Batty–their motives and their motivations are complex, their outlooks informed by unresolved romanticism and pessimism, uncertain nostalgia and even less certain hopes.  I hope you enjoy the “film”–best played in the dark.   Download with artwork and full tracklist after the “more…” link.

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[Musicophilia] – Top Albums of the 2000s

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on December 5, 2009

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It’s probably no surprise to any long-time Musicophilia listener, but I’m pretty disinclined to spend much time concentrating on the thin slice of all-available-music that is “now”.   That said, I did manage to hear quite a lot of stuff I really love during the 2000s–which are suddenly at a close, while albums from 2004 still feel “new” to me.  I’ve put together my highly personal, in no way shape or form comprehensive list of favorite albums from the decade.  But my real purpose in posting it is to solicit suggestions from my listeners who’ve been more in touch about all the great stuff I missed!  Keep your eyes peeled for the 2nd annual ‘Get Off My Lawn’ year-end mix (the least-well-informed year-end mix series you’re likely to hear); and maybe a ‘Get Off My Lawn, 2000s’ decade-spanning mix.

Here’s a ranked Top 20, followed by a year-by-year list of albums that have stuck with me to varying degrees after the “more…” link.  Who knew it was a decade about electro-pop, female singer-songwriters, artists creating their best work in their 2nd/3rd/4th decades, and Mornons from Duluth?  Probably only for me.

01  Bjork – Medulla (2004)
02  Sam Phillips – Fan Dance (2001)
03  Knife, The – Silent Shout (2006)
04  Badu, Erykah – Mama’s Gun (2000)
05  Low – Drums & Guns (2007)
06  Burial – Burial  (2006)
07  Herbert, Matthew (Herbert) – Bodily Functions (2001)
08  Flaming Lips – Embryonic (2009)
09  Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere (2006)
10  J Dilla – Donuts (2006)
11  Portishead – Third (2008)
12  Knife, The – Deep Cuts (2003)
13 Herbert, Matthew (Herbert) – Scale (2006)
14  Thomas, David – Surf’s Up (2001)
15  For Carnation, The – The For Carnation (2000)
16  Low – Trust (2002)
17  Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)
18  Caribou – Andorra (2007)
19  Burial – Untrue (2007)
20  Sylvian, David – Blemish (2003)

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[Musicophilia] – An Update

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on November 16, 2009

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Just a quick update, since things have been quiet here lately: “real life” has once again intruded on the important business of mix-making and musical geekiness.  However, there are a number of projects waiting on the back burner: a new Musique du Monde series focusing exclusively on the titans of Sound Library; a number of follow-ups to the “Post Post-Punk” mix, exploring the genre as it mutated and spread after its heyday through the 80s and 90s; and Musicophilia’s first jazz-only and global-folk-musics-only mixes.  Some of these may be ready sooner than later, but I can promise things will be back in full-swing by late January 2010–and from the tracks I’ve already got selected, I’m excited for what’s in store.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll browse the back catalogue of over 50 mixes–if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s new to you.  Thanks as always for listening, and spreading the word.

[Musicophilia] – Musicophilia’s 1st Birthday! (With a Poll)

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on October 4, 2009

October 4th marks the one-year anniversary of Musicophilia’s first post and first mix, and in that time the blog has featured almost one mix for every week (indexed here), which between them have been downloaded over 15,000 times with nearly 70,000 views and at least 200 subscribers.  The “internet famous1981 Box Set from 2005 was finally made available in full to a broader audience; a whole new (fake) reissue label was born, Musique du Monde, to explore the wonderful sounds of the 60s and 70s; the Miniatures Series provided you full listening experiences in 2-minute doses; and the experimental and cinematic Sensory Replication Series hopefully found its way through a few headphones in the dark.  Toss in a bunch of one-off mixes, single-artist features, fantastic guest-mixes and even a few full albums, and the blog now has a pretty substantial “back catalogue”.

[Note: Please take a moment to participate in the year-one Musicophilia poll, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for free Musicophilia-approved CDs, 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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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ Volume One (1973-1977)

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

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

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

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[Musicophilia] – Visual Mix Index

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on September 13, 2009

Musicophilia’s 1st birthday is coming up soon, and by then the blog will feature over 50 mixes! In order to make them easier to find, I’ve created a Visual Mix Index. I’m posting it here as a blog post, but it will be permanently available (and updated) at this page. So if you’ve missed some mixes–go grab them, and I hope you’ll hear new sounds to love. Thanks so much for listening!

[Musique du Monde]

Musique du Monde is a faux-reissue series focused generally on the music of the 70s, bleeding slightly into the 60s and the 80s. Across the “LPs” from the “label” you’ll find an eclectic but carefully crafted blend of the well known and the unknown, from around the world. On any one “side” you’ll find funk, pure pop, psychedelia, fusion and electric jazz, prog, proto-punk, progressive folk, singer-songwriter, sound library recordings, Euro-funk, art rock, early electronics, musique concrete, and on later-era mixes, disco, proto-electro and a bit of post-punk. The Musique du Monde label never existed–but it should have.

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

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

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

[Musique du Monde] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 12′ (1971-1975)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 3′ (1967-1971)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 14′ (1972-1975)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘The Best of Les Rythmes du Monde, Volume 1’ (1977-1981)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘The Best of Les Rythmes du Monde, Volume 2’ (1977-1981)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘The Best of Les Rythmes du Monde, Volume 3’ (1977-1981)

[Musique du Monde] – ‘The Best of Les Rythmes du Monde, Volume 4’ (1977-1981)

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

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

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

[Sensory Replication Series]

The ‘Sensory Replication Series‘ mixes are my personal favorites at Musicophilia. My aim is to create a new whole from existing parts, inspired by cinema and binaural field recordings, that hopefully offers a new listening experience even if some of the music is familiar. These are by far my most intricately constructed mixes, weaving together up to half a dozen elements (songs, tracks, and custom-made remixes, versions, and new additional sound) at any given time, spanning decades and cross-pollinating genres, and creating a seamless journey. Headphones recommended.

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘Collide\Coalesce’ (1950-2004)

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘Gloaming’ (1731-2005)

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘The Somnambulist’ (1908-2007)

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris’ (1915-2007)

[Sensory Replication Series] – ‘Adrift’ (1969-2001)

[Post-Punk Mixes]

These mixes explore the endlessly innovative, past-gobbling and future-seeking world of “post-punk,” a term so meaning-stretched as to be almost meaningless that you nevertheless know-it-when-you-hear-it. My aim with post-punk mixes is to give the well-loved names their due but to celebrate the unadulterated fecundity of the years 1977-1983 (or so) through equal exploration of the much less well-known names and sounds.

[1981] - 'Feet' (2005)

[1981] - 'Convertible' (2005)

[1981] - 'Brain' (2005)

[1981] - 'Amplifier' (2005)

[1981] - 'Heart' (2005)

[1981] - 'Cassette' (2005)

[1981] - 'Computer' (2005)

[1981] - 'Fire' (2005)

[1981] - 'Ice' (2005)

[1981] - 'How To Say 1981 In German' (2005)

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

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

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

[One-Off] - ‘Post Post-Punk′ (1983-1994)

[Women of Post-Punk] - ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 1′ (1978-1983)

[Women of Post-Punk] - ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 2′ (1979-1983)

[Women of Post-Punk] - ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook, Vol. 3′ (1979-1983)

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

[One-Offs and Albums]

While Musicophilia tends to concentrate on creating curated series, there’s always room for one-offs, single-artist mixes and other excursions. I’ve also shared a few albums of my own, very tiny music as Soundslike, which might appeal to fans of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Christian Fennesz, or Nick Drake.

[Soundslike] – ‘Complicity’ (2001)

[Soundslike] – ‘The Irish Sea’ (2001) + ‘Full of Blue-Green Blood’ (2004)

[Soundslike] – ‘A Where Was And Isn’t Anymore’ (1999)

[One-Off] – ‘Get Off My Lawn, 2008!’ (2008)

[One-Off] – ‘Still’ (1630-1999)

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

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

[One-Off] – ‘Musicophilia Daily - Week One Sampler

[One-Off] – ‘Electromance’ (1969-2006)

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

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

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

[Guest Mixes]

Musicophilia has had the honor of hosting a number of fantastic guest-mixes put together by talented musicians who also happen to be passionate listeners. These mixes dovetail nicely with the Musicophilia sensibility, but add their own much-appreciated flavors.

[Guest Mix] – ‘Human Heads’ (Mixed by Ettiem)

[Guest Mix] – ‘Spring2009Mix’ (Mixed by The Subcons)

[Guest Mix] – ‘Good Morning,’ (Mixed by The Harvey Girls)

[Guest Mix] – ‘Afternöön Röck Blöck’ (Mixed by The Harvey Girls)

[Guest Mix] – ‘Somniloquies’ (1931-2009) (Mixed by Love, Execution Style)

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[Musicophilia] – Thank You

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on August 7, 2009

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Hello everyone.  My girlfriend posted last week to let you know why I’d gone silent, and I’m happy to be able to post myself today to let you all know I’m home after ten days in the hospital.  The doctors say my illness is very unusual (a “lightning strike” of bad luck), and I remain on I-V treatment and have to return for many visits, but they seem confident I will recover fully.  I want to thank all of you for your kind words and positive thoughts, and for your patience as Musicophilia and Musicophilia Daily have been silent.  I’m regaining a lot of energy, and as I’m stuck home from work I hope to be able to finish up some mixes this week.  Keep your ears open for further guest mixes from friends of Musicophilia The Harvey Girls this coming week.  Thank you all.

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[Guest-Mix] – ‘Somniloquies’ (1931-2009) [By Love, Execution Style]

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on July 20, 2009

Today I’m very happy to present ‘Somniloquies,’ mixed by our fourth guest contributor, the sound-obsessed mind behind the truly uncategorisable Love, Execution Style (described on one website as making “”Music” for those who love sounds just as much as songs,” which is almost exactly how I’ve classified myself).  L,ES is, in the best possible way, close to what you’d get if you took every good track ever shared on Mutant Sounds and hit random–perhaps on several stereos at once.  (For a quick sense of at least the non-musique concrete side of what I mean, check out the “WAWL Local Show Theme Song” on L,ES’s MySpace page, which expertly runs through surf rock, early jazz, dub, disco-funk, indie rock, country, metal and chamber pop in an incredible 49 seconds.) I’m very honored that the mix L,ES has crafted is envisioned a “sequel” to ‘The Somnambulist,’ one of my ‘Sensory Replication Series‘ mixes (which are my favorite mix undertakings: densely mixed, spacial, cinematic, seeking unexpected synergy in new combinations and de/re-constructions of tracks).  L,ES’ unabashed love of sound is the perfect match to the Sensory Replication approach, and he’s coalesced a heady blend of thirty tracks by thirty artists in exactly 30 minutes.

Among the artists found here in previously unheard contexts are such Musicophilia favorites as La Dusseldorf, Edgar Varese, Sun City Girls, Jean-Claude Vannier, Z’Ev, Muslimgauze, The Flying Lizards, Faust, Boredoms, John Fahey, Nurse With Wound, Derek Bailey, Can, and Family Fodder, amongst many others.  The full tracklist and download link are after the “more” link.  Here are L,ES’s thoughts and narration for his rich nightmare/dreamscape:

“Thomas Edison would unlock his creativity by entering a “twilight state” between sleep and consciousness, and during these sessions, he would hold a handful of ball bearings.  If he fell into a deep sleep, his grasp would loosen, and the resulting racket would awaken him, allowing him to vividly capture the current state of his wandering mind.  A previous entry in the Sensory Replication series, ‘The Somnambulist,’ was an absorbing, sleepwalking journey through “an immersive aural environment,” and I strived to make ‘Somniloquies‘ a worthy sequel to ‘The Somnambulist,’ beginning with a shared fascination with unconscious states.  However, this time the focus is on spontaneous creation—sounds, melodies, syllables—all arranged with Edison’s twilight state in mind.  Quiet, lulling passages are punctuated with startling jabs, intended to be the equivalent of ball bearings, to stir the listener from a slumber, and such arresting moments are scattered among the mix, including the blood-curling shrieks of “Black! Black! Black!” from Patty Waters or the disruptively played piano tone clusters in “Giving Up” by Stock, Hausen & Walkmen.

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[Guest-Mix] – ‘Good Morning,’ Mixed by The Harvey Girls (2009)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on July 6, 2009

I’m pleased to present ‘Good Morning,’ Musicophilia’s third guest mix (with several more soon to come).  I recently had the pleasure of befriending a very talented musician, writer, and unrepentant music geek, Hiram Lucke.  Hiram and his wife Melissa Rodenbeek create beautiful, wide-ranging music under the name The Harvey Girls.  The numerous loves they share (for each other, for making music, and for hearing music) are deeply imbued in what they do.  I asked Hiram if he’d be interested in guest-mixing at Musicophilia after he asked to interview me for Circle Into Square and we hit it off, and after immersing myself in The Harvey Girls’ music, I suggested the loose idea of “an influences mix”.  Hiram came through in spades: he made not one but three excellent mixes–one for each phase of the day, perhaps for each phase of life–and while the “influences” in terms of music are apparent here, Hiram aimed also to express the bigger intertwining experience of music-as-sound with music-as-life-itself. Hiram’s written a lovely story-telling essay about the ways in which music permeates, informs, and reflects a musical and a literal marriage, excerpted below (and which is included in full with the download).  The mixes stand perfectly well on their own, with a nice blend of the sorts of music Musicophilia has already shared with a number of surprises and other faves (you’ll be amazed at how much sense TLC’s “Waterfalls” makes by the time you get there).  But to enjoy the “influences” aspect a little more, I’d like to share a few The Harvey Girls tracks, too.

To my ears, The Harvey Girls inhabit a similar sort of sprawling, genre-free world to His Name Is Alive, Beck, Family Fodder, Cornelius, Godley & Creme, Manitoba/Caribou, Flaming Lips, or The Homosexuals clan, with a hint of the enviable coupled sweetness of Yo La Tengo or The Innocence Mission (with a marriage-safe touch of the witty Quasi or Richard & Linda Thompson).  Playful catchiness, record-geek sound savvy, and emotional sincerity all meld equally as the duo skip and stroll and surf  through pure sunshine pop harmony, girl-group la la las, D.A.I.S.Y.-age hip-hop, sweet country balladry, synth pop and intimations of dub and musique concrete.  These examples tend toward the poppy end of their spectrum, but the darker and stranger and more contemplative moments of their albums always feel just as right.  They also happen to be after the mix-maker’s heart, as the albums are sequenced as journeys, so if you like what you hear I definitely recommend listening to the full albums, a number of which are available for pay-as-you-can donation.

“Hey Little Sprout!” (‘Nutate,’ 2007)

“Good Morning, Bubblegum” (‘Blabber ‘N Smoke,’ 2004)

“Girls Sing” (‘Wild Farewell,’ 2005)

“Resh Day Lo” (‘Nutate,’ 2007)

Now, back to ‘Good Morning,’ which is definitely part of a healthy breakfast: amongst others, there’s post-punk a la Liquid Liquid and Pere Ubu, funk love from Sly & The Family Stone and Al Green, and glamor courtesy of T. Rex to TLC.  There’s summer sounds from Tinariwen, De La Soul, Gilberto Gil, Paul McCartney; and things go deep with M83, King Tubby, and Bjork.  ‘Good Morning‘ is the first of three mixes, to be followed over the next few weeks with ‘Afternöön Röckblöck,’ which will finally bring a bit of the Metal to Musicophilia; and the lovely ‘Night Time = Right Time‘.  Here’s a bit of context from Hiram, but be sure to read the whole essay included with the download (after the “more” link as usual):

There’s a few things you can gather from these songs.  We like rhythm and we like solitary sounding singer/songwriters.  We have an inexplicable love of British pop from the 60s to the 80s.  We love noise and sweet sounding pop in equal measure.  We freaking adore the girl group sound.  And, finally, we’ve got a thing for strings.  Strings are proof of a higher power inasmuch as music is our religion.  And there’s a lot more stuff we’ve left out: no delta blues, no religious choirs, no Fela Kuti, no John Fahey, no Bollywood soundtracks, no Archies, not enough dub, not enough country, no Alton Ellis, no jazz, no kids records, no classical… you get the idea. . .

I spent my early childhood in the late 70s and early 80s, so my brain doesn’t really see what’s wrong with androgyny, polyester (as long as I don’t have to wear it), or overly-dramatic and completely overblown pop songs.  I love Black Sabbath as much as I love ABBA. I can listen to a lot of proggy goodness in the way of Guru Guru and then turn on the sixth Beatle Jeff Lynne and his bubblegumilicious candy-prog band ELO.  But it hasn’t always been that way.

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[Musicophilia] – Part Two of the Circle Into Square Interview

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on June 29, 2009

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Following up part one of an interview conducted by Hiram Lucke of The Harvey Girls at Portland-based label/magazine Circle Into Square, part two is now available here.  Hiram and I ramble through the ethics of music sharing; the significance of the artifact in musical discovery; the irrelevance of rock-star (or even indie-rock-star) ambition to music-making in the current milieu; the cycle of stagnation versus fecundity in popular music and the role of the past-mining geek; better and more important blogs than Musicophilia who’re making available primary-source recordings; and the future possibility of “real-life-based” social mix sharing.  So check it out, and be sure to look around and sample some of the music and writing available at Circle Into Square.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can – “Aspectacle” (1979)

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[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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[Musicophilia] – Interview at ‘Circle Into Square’ Magazine

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on May 28, 2009

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An unusual post today:  I’ve been interviewed about the Musicophilia blogs, music and the internet, the role of the ‘geek mentor,’ etc. at the lovely Circle Into Square , “a Portland, OR based label, online magazine, and local artist community”.  Conducted by the multi-talented Hiram Lucke of The Harvey Girls, the interview was very free-wheeling and a lot of fun.  So check it out here, and be sure to look around the site while you’re there.

[Musicophiliacs] – Last Call for Your Music (For Now)

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on May 27, 2009

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As I mentioned previously, I’m always interested in featuring music made by Musicophilia-listeners at Musicophilia Daily.  But I’ve also decided to make a mix of your music to post here, as Daily still lags behind in readership (though honestly more of my energy has gone there than here of late, so you should check it out and consider subscribing if you haven’t already).  I’ve had a number of interesting submissions to previous posts, but I want to give one last request for submissions before I make the mix.  So if you enjoy the sorts of music on offer at the Musicophilia blogs, and feel your own music would be of interest to like-eared listeners, please leave your name, a link to your site(s) and/or download links, and any information you think is relevant in the comments.  I’ll contact you with further questions, if necessary.

In the meantime, I continue to be a little busy with pesky “real life,” but I have numerous mixes getting closer to completion, and I don’t plan on letting Musicophilia go silent any time soon.  As always, if you’d like to contribute a mix (or more) that you feel fit what’s being done here, I’d love to have co-bloggers.  Thanks!

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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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[Welcome] – A Recap and An Update

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on April 14, 2009

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The last couple months have seemed a little slower than usual, but looking back there’s still been some stuff I’m proud of.  I hope to get back to full speed, starting today with the newest installment from the faux Musique du Monde label, ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 14‘.   But to recap since mid-February: there’ve been further additions to ‘1981,’ including the 8th mix, ‘Fire;’ the first set of ‘Briefcase‘ tracks; and a new Deutsche Neue Welle in ’81 mix.   There’s was also ‘Electromance,’ an accessible electronic pop mix; another album of my own work; and a unique guest-mix covering music from the very edge of now.   I also hope you caught the “blog-swap” that resulted in this amazing guest mix and one of my favorite Musicophilia mixes, ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris;’ and finally, the first ‘Sensory Replication Series’ mix, of which I’m really fond, called  ‘Adrift‘.

There will be more Musique mixes soon, as well as a trilogy of ‘Post Post-Punk’ mixes expanding on the original.  Additionally, I hope you’ll visit Musicophilia Daily, where I’ve been loving the freedom of posting anything and everything, and trying to say a little something about it all (here’s a sampler from the first week, and it’s only gotten better since then, IMO).  Finally, the call is still out for music by Musicophilia listeners to be featured at Daily and potentially in a for-and-by-the-listeners mix right here.  As always, thanks for listening!

UPDATE: Ok, well, still running a little busy and behind here–but new mixes will return soon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll give recent mixes a listen.  Thanks!

[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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[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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[Full Album] – Soundslike – ‘A Where Was And Isn’t Anymore’ (1999)

Posted in Albums, Talking by Soundslike on March 30, 2009

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Before spring wins out, winter gives it one last shot, and the night can seem colder than ever.  And so this album seems to fit, inspired by vast open spaces of a Southern winter night.  ‘A Where Was And Isn’t Anymore‘ is partly the sound of hiding in a cocoon of winter bedding, partly the sound of lonesome sojourn drives away from distant love; this brief album reflects the feeling of a transitional time and place in life.  If you have not heard ‘The Irish Sea‘ and ‘Complicity,’ I’d recommend you start with those more fully-formed works (previews of which have been added to the original posts).  But if you happen to enjoy them, you’ll probably find worth in this one.  Like those others, this is improvised music, created by impulse and instinct in my youth, when a lack of any ability to create music that reflected my tastes didn’t stop me.  I was beginning to listen to more expansive music, but I had no skill to replicate or reflect expanding influences.

Perhaps that was an advantage, as this music has no direct musical inspiration, but rather bypasses intellectual channels and reflects emotional (in)experience directly.  The music is spare, open, unadorned, with flashes of fire and ice; it was never really intended for an audience, but it might find a home with those who place value in simplicity and emotional honesty.  Improvised on an inexpensive Danelectro guitar and a cheap Korean acoustic over the course of three days in December, 1999, this album contains nine tracks over 25 minutes.  The track “Sleep” is previewed below.  Full tracklist and a download link are found at the “more…” link.

Sleep” (1999)

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[Guest-Mix] – ‘Spring2009Mix’ (By Richard)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on March 23, 2009

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And now, as they say, for something completely different: Musicophilia’s 2nd guest-mix, graciously crafted and contributed by my old friend Richard, singer and songwriter of Portland, OR’s dream-pop band The Subcons (newer music here).  As you might have guessed from Musicophilia’s usual content, I mostly left behind the current day a long time ago; but as a working musician, Richard has got his ear to the ground, and brings Musicophilia a bit of the new with this mix.  Almost all of it is completely new to me, and my trainspotter ears hear a lot of fun things: plenty of prime Beach Boys, bits of Scotland’s Orange Juice or New Zealand “Pink Frost;” a little Buggles and Telex and Trio; some Tiny Tim, Vashti Bunyan, The Zombies, Marine Girls, and any number of quality cuts from the ‘Rushmore’ soundtrack, Mark Mothersbaugh included; and finally, touches from the last time I was current with current indie-pop, like The Minders, Kings of Convenience and Belle & Sebastian.  But the point is: it’s great sweet pop music, and definitely evocative of the onset of more verdant days.  I’ll turn it over to Rich:

Strikingly both familiar and new, the onset of spring has always felt so welcome and relieving. I think some of this music may affect the same way. Mozart used the phrase “gleich alles zusammen” to describe how he heard all the parts of a symphony he was writing all at once. So lovely to imagine taking it all in—perhaps this mix can accompany an upcoming outdoor excursion, where new sights and smells abound, helping to catalyze the beginning of spring in your life. Musicophiliacs may find some of this to be familiar territory laden with new ornamental trim. Others may find it wholly refreshing and invigorating. Wherever it takes you, make a point to anticipate a renewal, a tribute.

From the Swedes (Melpo Mene) to the Scots (Camera Obscura) and Welsh (Super Furry Animals), the Euro slant on springy popness can be sublime. Likewise for the Americans: whether east coast (Animal Collective, AC Newman, Grizzly Bear), midwest (Ghosty, Bird Names, Papercuts, Deastro), southern (Dent May, Canon Blue), or west coast (Coconut Records, Mirah, The Long Lost, M Ward), each region holds its own version of spring and its own odes to the beauty and newness of this time of year. All tracks were released within the last few months or will be in the next few.

Rich has been making his ‘SeasonYEARmixes’ for going on six years, and they can be found here.  For the full tracklist and download link, click the “more…” link below. [UPDATE: tracklist file was errant in all downloads prior to March 24th, the correct tracklist is below; a new download link has been created with a corrected file.]

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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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[Musicophilia Daily] – I Want to Help Share Your Music

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on March 17, 2009

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Things are still getting cooking over at Musicophilia Daily a few weeks in.  Already there have been over 40 tracks shared, numerous links, and even an original review.  There’s another feature I’d like to add– but in order to do so I’ll need your participation.  I’ve already talked with half a dozen of you whom I know to be talented musicians; I suspect, given the sort of stuff we’re listening to here, that there are many more of you.  And I would like to showcase music made by Musicophilia listeners, for other listeners.  I know it wouldn’t be the biggest bit of publicity you’re likely to receive, but it would certainly be reaching discerning and passionate ears.

So if you’d like to be featured, leave a comment with a link to your music (be sure to use a working email address–nobody but me will see it).  I can’t guarantee anything, but if what you’re doing seems like it might appeal to Musicophilia listeners, I’ll get in touch with you.  I’d like to use one or two choice tracks to stream directly in the blog post, along with artwork or a photograph, which I’ll need you to supply; then I’ll write up a snappy blurb, and link to your site(s)/MySpace/Facebook/etc.  I feel like this would really add something to what I’m putting together with these two blogs, so I would really appreciate your participation.  I’m constantly honored to meet the thoughtful, passionate people the music we love brings here, and I’m always thankful you’re listening.

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[One-Off] – ‘Electromance’ (1969-2006)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on March 16, 2009

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Ah, the teenage rite of passage known as “the crush mix”.  Those doting collections of indie-pop/indie-folk love songs, usually given too early in a courtship, usually over-thought and overwrought with “meaning,” mostly the sort that says “I wanna be your lover” without daring say it (while inevitably including a track that has the word “love” in it but is actually about hookers or drugs or politics).  In truth, the whole mess was a lot of fun; but as I recall the results usually leave something to be desired musically–at least I’m pretty sure mine did, circa 1996.  So a couple of years ago, I put together a crush mix that honored the holy-cow-I’m-spinning awkwardness and intensity of youthful amore, but that eschewed the indie-centric blueprint for a broadly electronic orientation (while remaining accessible to the theoretical prospective girlfriend/boyfriend whose musical tastes remain mysterious).   So imagine this is a crush mix made by some precocious 17 year old who came up on bleeps and bloops instead of jangly guitars.  ‘Electromance’ is a little rougher than usual Musicophilia standard, as it wasn’t originally intended for a music-geek audience; and it has a little overlap with tracks featured on other mixes.  But I enjoyed it on rediscovery, and hopefully you will, too.  Record it to cassette and give it to your crush, and then sit around all week waiting to hear back, wondering if they’re getting all the careful subtext, and worrying about whether they’ll think the Depeche Mode track is sexy–or just kind of stalkerish.

Doing your wooing through ‘Electromance’ are: Silver Apples, Giorgio Moroder, Radiohead (a little indie, but a good track nevertheless), The Knife, Prefuse 73, Rachel’s, Herbert, Arthur Russell, Depeche Mode, Outkast, Burial, Prince, Vitalic, Suicide, Kraftwerk, Laurie Anderson, Scritti Politti, Rebecca Gates, Portishead, Brian Eno, and Bjork.  Full tracklist and download after the “more…” link.

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[Talk] – Sorry For the Lack of Posts

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on March 12, 2009

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Just a quick note to apologise for the lack of new mixes in the last couple of weeks; hopefully the break has provided an opportunity for everyone to look back through the 30-odd mixes that have been posted in Musicophilia’s first five months.  I’ve been busier than I expected; but hopefully it’s some consolation that things have been hopping over at Musicophilia Daily (including a new every-weekend feature of tracks from the ‘1981 Briefcase‘ mp3 disc).  But don’t worry–I’ve still got a lot of mixes in various stages of completion, so things should be picking up again soon.  Next in the queue is a series of new ‘Post Post-Punk‘ mixes, this time tracing out several central musical aspects of post-punk and its divergent permutations through the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.  With any luck, at least the first of these will be up by early the week of March 16.  Since I’m blabbing–I’d also like to let everyone know that I’m always open to possibilities for guest-mixes, blog-swaps, etc., so if you’ve got an idea, let me know in a comment and I’ll write back to you as soon as I can.  Thanks as always for listening!

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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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[Update] – Musicophilia Daily Week One Sampler (March 2009)

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

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In case you haven’t yet had the chance to check out Musicophilia‘s new sister-blog, Musicophilia Daily, here’s a sampling of what’s been posted there in the first week (really, four days).  It’s not a carefully crafted mix in the usual Musicophilia style; but that’s sort of the point: Musicophlia Daily is a way to share music spontaneously, even more eclectically than in Musicophilia’s mixes, and so this “sampler” is presented in the order in which tracks were posted at Daily.  For more information (and full-length tracks, for those edited/truncated in this sampler, and links to full-album downloads) on any track/artist, click the link for any track in the tracklist below.  The mix is available for download beyond the “more…” link, but in the style of Daily, I’m also including a streaming version.  If you like what you hear, you should consider subscribing to Musicophilia Daily, as I don’t think I’ll do these sort of week-in-review mixes often, and it’s going to be a lot of fun over there.  Thanks for listening!

Various – Musicophilia Daily Week One Sampler
musicophiliadaily.wordpress.com | March 3-6, 2009

01   [00:00]   La Dusseldorf – “La Dusseldorf” (1976)
02   [04:00]   Wapassou – “Chatiment” (Excerpt) (1974)
03   [09:22]   Our Daughter’s Wedding – “Buildings” (1982)
04   [12:45]   Chrisma – “C-Rock” (1977)
05   [18:05]   The Feed-Back – “Kumalo” (Edit) (1970)
06   [26:10]   Laurie Anderson – “It’s Not the Bullet That Kills You” (1976)
07   [29:53]   Ut – “Safe Burning” (1989)
08   [33:48]   Steinski & Double Dee – “Lesson No. 1 – The Payoff Mix” (1983)
09   [39:08]   Peter Zummo & Arthur Russell – “Song IV” (Excerpt) (1985)
10   [44:52]   Antonio Vivaldi – “Double Concerto, Largo, G Minor” (1780s)
11   [48:05]   Erkin Koray – “Sir” (1974)
12   [50:55]   His Name Is Alive – “One Year” (2001)
13   [54:35]   Cyber People – “Polaris (Club Mix)” (Excerpt) (1984)
14   [58:14]   Gamelan Semar Pegulingan Club – “Gambang” (1972)
15   [61:20]   Arthur Russell – “Our Last Night Together” (1986)

[Total Time: 64:55]

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[Technical Difficulties] – A Plea for Help

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on March 3, 2009

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Hosting and Bandwidth?

Well, unfortunately that didn’t take long. . .  It seems that at least for some people, the audio streams at the brand-new Musicophilia Daily blog are non-funcioning: they simply “buffer” indefinitely.  This may be an issue with the way in which I was attempting to host the files (for free).  If anyone has this issue–please let me know.  So I ask for your help. Does anyone reading/listening to Musicophilia know a stable way to host an additional 5-20MB per day, with probably around 1500+/-MB bandwidth per day?  I can’t really afford to pay for hosting costs, but maybe they’re more reasonable than I realise–so does anyone know an inexpensive way to host files along those numbers?  Or, hope of hopes–is anyone out there a big fan of Musicophilia who has access to some hosting space and bandwidth who would contribute to the cause?  Don’t be shy now, friends–I need your help!

[Big Announcement] – Musicophilia Daily Blog

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on March 3, 2009

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After five months, 30,000 views, and over 6,600 downloads of more than 30 mixes, it’s time for Musicophilia to expand.  My ultimate goal when I started blogging was to help people hear great music, and hopefully get inspired to support the featured artists and independent music shops.  I love mixes, and I think they can have value in and of themselves; but they take a lot of time (for mixers and listeners) and energy, and have their own inherent limitations in terms of variety and spontaneity.   So to further Musicophilia’s goal, I’d like to have the flexibility to move beyond the mix-only format, to share individual tracks, links to recommended posts at other blogs, videos, reviews, out-of-print albums, previews of upcoming mixes, questions, and ideas; all sharing the spirit and sounds of Musicophilia.  However, I would like to do so without cluttering up Musicophilia–which will continue to focus on carefully crafted mixes–or forcing more content on its subscribers than they bargained for.  To that end, I’d like to present Musicophilia DailyI encourage you to subscribe in order to automatically receive new updates. Further details after “more…”.   Head over to Musicophilia Daily for further information.  Thanks for listening!

Visit the Musicophilia Daily BlogSubscribe to Musicophilia Daily

[Blog Swap] – ‘Human Heads’ (Mixed by Ettiem)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 26, 2009

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Following my contribution from last week, ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris,’ I’m proud to bring you the second part of Musicophilia’s (first) “blog swap” from my friend and mix-making hero Ettiem of the Gris Gris On Your Doorstep blog: ‘Human Heads‘.  Ettiem has said he mixes “with a mind toward soundtrackiness,” and his mastery of narrative flow (both on mixes and live) certainly inspired me to put extra care into my mixes over the years.  But Ettiem has an ability to create a compelling structure while retaining a rawer, dirtier, thicker energy than my own mixes ever achieve.  So if ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris‘ was a scary story whispered at 4am in a swamp shack, ‘Human Heads‘ is a 70’s party-horror-action flick set on the road from the shack to the French Quarter during Mardi-Gras.  Despite beginning with birdsound, things quickly take a turn for the weird, hot and funky, and the beats don’t stop.  So take the ride–and don’t forget to look around at Gris Gris On Your Doorstep, grab some of the choice cuts he’s offering there, and maybe drop him a note asking for more killer mixes!

Heating up the humid air on ‘Human Heads’ are Cheval Fou, Verne Langdon, the Temptations doing their best freak-out, hot-shit Ultrafunk, The Ventures, Parliament, James Last, Brain Donor, Coloured Balls, proto-Italo heroes Chrisma channeling Neu, Savage Ressurection, Tommy James + The Shondells in an Ettiem remix, and War.  If you love hard funky beats, if you love strings, if you love thick basslines and fuzzed-out psych-Kraut madness, if you love dirty-but-tight mixing: don’t miss this one.  Full download and tracklist after the “more…” link.

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[Sensory Replication No. 1] – ‘Adrift’ (1969-2001)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on February 24, 2009

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I think I’ve been a non-practicing producer since I got my first pair of headphones: I’ve always been  pulled in by the staging of sound, the dryness or wetness of it, the sense of music pulling or pushing one forward, spinning you around, the mysteriouss relationship between timbre and emotion.   Eventually, I began to hear the world around me as music, too–how different spaces and different noises also created emotions.  I love the way both music and sounds in an environment literally feel in my ears, and the way my body responds even before my mind can.  And so eventually, as my own music was limited by my talent and means, and none of my friends was begging me to produce their records, I started mixing (instead of compiling) “finished” music together, with idea that mixed music–treated as sonic/emotional raw material–could at least temporarily replicate our full sensory intake, including a sense of time, and perhaps even call us to a heightened sensory state.  ‘Adrift‘ was the first mix where I fully embraced this approach, the results of which I’ve decided with unrepentant nerdiness to call the ‘Sensory Replication Series‘.

At a brief 31 minutes, ‘Adrift‘ is by far the simplest of this series, in technical terms.  Consisting of ten primary tracks only sometimes intermingled (unlike later, more ambitious mixes that involved remixing, dubbing, or weaving six tracks together at once) it relies on the way its component pieces fit harmoniously together.   Looking at the artists in the tracklist, ‘Adrift’ might seem to be a somewhat edgy, cerebral affair; but in fact, this is mysterious, sensual, even sweet music, and I’m not certain whether I’ve since matched the purely intoxication of this mix.  I find this music heartbreaking in the most delicious way.   These mixes tend to be the least popular here at Musicophilia, but I hope that for those who allow themselves to drift in, they offer a listening experience outside the every-day.

Mostly instrumental, this mix brings you the most unabashedly beautiful, emotional sides of John Cale, Faust, Rachel’s, This Heat, Mnemonists, Harmonia, Neu, Holger Czukay and Brian Eno (here interpolating Pachelbel with what would seem to be a mental excercise but which is almost more affecting than the original, for me).  The timecode provided with the tracklist is very approximate; but I’d suggest you basically ignore it, and try to let the trainspotting tendency to dissipate.  I think you’ll be amazed how quickly 31 minutes passes in this territory.  If you do enjoy this mix, please don’t miss the most recent addition to the series, ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris,’ a dirtier, haunted, swampy, funky, twisted and more beat-oriented approach to the Senrory Replication idea.  Full tracklist and download after the “more…” link.

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[Blog Swap] – ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris’ (1915-2007)

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

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[NOTE: This mix is now available to download from Musicophilia here.]

Musicophilia is happy to announce a first with this mix: a blog-swap of custom-made mixes (and hopefully not the last).  I’ve created this mix, ‘Tall Stories of Evil Gris-Gris,’ specially for my friend and musical role-model Ettiem and his ‘Gris-Gris On Your Doorstep‘ blog–and following shortly, he’ll be presenting Musicophilia with a special mix of his own.  I’ve had a long-standing desire to use the Dr. John track ‘I Walk on Gilded Splinters’ as the cornerstone of a mix.  When Ettiem proposed the blog-swap idea, I took the murky, slightly dark, beat-oriented tendencies of Ettiem’s blog and music and my desire to revisit the heavy-mixing techniques of the ‘Sensory Replication Series‘ but with a focus on songs (music with vocals and lyrics) and realised I had the opportunity I’d been waiting for.  The title of his blog clinched the deal.  Other ‘Sensory Replication’ mixes have been largely instrumental, immersive but hazy soundscapes, abstract scores to imaginary films, often involving upwards of six tracks brewing at any given time.  With ‘Evil Gris-Gris,’ I wanted cracked scary stories, spiritual folk tales, cautionary legends told at a witching hour in a shack on stilts in a swamp (though one that’s incongruously filled with beeping, half-broken technology).  In terms of mix method, I wanted to restrict most of the overlapping to “duets” between a storyteller and a complimentary (or tension-producing) instrumental work of pure sound.  I’m very happy with the results, and hope that people will let the slight madness creep in and rest awhile.

Contributing the ‘tall stories’ (a phrasing borrowed from the included dubbed-up Leadbelly track) are such modern folklorists as David Sylvian, The Spaceape with Kode 9, David Thomas (of Pere Ubu), Muddy Waters, Low, The Knife, an ancient-sounding Shona folk musician, The For Carnation, Stina Nordenstam, Arto Lindsay, Disco Inferno, Charles Dodge‘s early electronically-created voices, Hector Zazou with Bony Bikaye, Anja Garbarek, Brigitte Fontaine and Areski, and of course, Dr. John.  Making the roux of sound around the stories: David Byrne, Pierre Henry, Scanner, Pole, J Dilla, Ike Yard, Edgar Varese, Shriekback, Charles Ives, Squarepusher, Tangerine Dream, Iannis Xenakis, and Gruppo D’Improvvisazione Nuova Consananza.  Hopefully the end result is a way-in in either direction for those who favor lyric-based songs, or those who obsess over sound itself (and it should be a comfortable, if haunted home for the freaks like me who’re equally obsessed with both).  From a “avenue for creative energy” perspective, this mix (and the other ‘Sensory Replication‘ mixes) is what I most enjoy and put the most time and energy into creating.  So I hope you’ll head over to Gris-Gris at the link below the “more…” and give it a (headphones-on) listen–and while you’re there, do yourself a favor and explore the gumbo Ettiem’s got cooking.

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[Technical Update] – Feedburner RSS feed cancelled

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on February 18, 2009

Just a quick technical note: I briefly used Feedburner for new RSS subscriptions to Musicophilia, without realising that doing so created a separate, Feedburner-specific feed.  If you subscribed sometime in January using the little “subscribe” logo at the upper right of the blog, you may be using this feed in your reader (with the address “feeds.feedburner.com/Musicophilia”).  I’ve now canceled this feed, in order to consolidate back to the default feed.  For most of you, your reader should be automatically re-directed to the default feed (at least temporarily, but probably permanently).  However, you may want to check and make sure your subscription is permanently set to the default feed (“musicophilia.wordpress.com/feed/”) to ensure you continue to receive new mixes from Musicophilia in your reader.

If for some reason you’ve read this far and you’re not yet subcribed, now is as good a time as any–in fact, a much more exciting post is forthcoming later today, and if you’re a fan of post-punk and you enjoyed the ‘Post Post-Punk‘ mix, you’ll want to be tuned in next week. . .

[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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[An Experiment] – ‘Musicophiliacs’ Group at Facebook

Posted in Talking by Soundslike on February 9, 2009

drum_bw1This may be unnecessary.  I may be overreaching like some old geezer who’s just read about “this Web 2.0 thing on the internets tube” and makes a MySpace band page for his chihuahua.  But having recently given in to signing over my soul at Facebook.com, and being keen to make Musicophilia more of a means for interacting with fellow addicts to sound: I’ve started a group called “Musicophiliacs” and I’d like to invite you to join.  It isn’t a group in any way devoted to this blog or the music it covers per se; I just like the (fake) word “musicophilia,” and its broad-umbrella possibilities–so I’m reusing it.  I’ve billed the group as:

“A place for music-loving friends to share mixes, make recommendations, post links, propagate the new and new-to-you, promote your own music and writing, etc.”

Maybe we’re all over-saturated and over-linked and our RSS readers are bursting at the seams already–but I thought we could give it a shot, and see if it could end up being a slightly more personal, personable way to share our mutual love of sound with a smaller community.   So please feel free to join in, link us to places of interest, invite other hard-core music geeks–we’ll see what we can do with it.

[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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