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.

(more…)

[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.

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

[1981] – ‘Ice’ Mix (2005)

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

1981 - Ice

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”

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , ,

[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…”.

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , , ,

[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.

(more…)

[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.

(more…)

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

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on October 6, 2009

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

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

(more…)

[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.

(more…)

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

Posted in Albums by Soundslike on April 1, 2009

chalsa-nepal_let-them-see

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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

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

sensory-replication-series-no-6

[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.

(more…)

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

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

the-young-ladys-post-punk-handbook-volume-3

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.]

(more…)

[Year End Mix] – ‘Get Off My Lawn, 2008!’ (2008)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on December 31, 2008

various_-_get-off-my-lawn-2008_2008_coversmall

Finally, the year-end mix nobody’s been waiting for!  It will probably come as no surprise to those who’ve downloaded any of Musicophilia’s mixes that I’m not particularly focused on the tiny sliver of all recorded music history that is now.  It’s not that I doubt there’s good stuff being made—I’m completely certain there’s a lot of it.  It’s just that sometime around 1999, I remember buying a Mogwai CD, puting it on, and suddenly having the realization: “I have no interest in this music whatsoever”.  (In fact specific to the disc, I hated it, and in a fairly rare act of dramatic symbolism I literally threw it away.)  It wasn’t that it was particularly surprising that another disc of generic post-rock would let me down—it’s just that it made me realise I never wanted to buy another disc full of music I wasn’t viscerally excited by, or that didn’t at least expanded my understanding of music.  And I also recognized that I’d been (denying) having a lot of similar let-downs whilst trying to “keep up” with “all that was going on,” because I was young and wanted to feel like I was where it was at; that in truth I often felt burned by what magazines and websites told me was cool; and that my resources were finite (not just money, but time and energy).  So I gave up the New Releases sections on Tuesdays or Mondays; and embraced the fact that where I’d really had most success for years, and the fewest empty let-down feelings, was deeper in the shops, in the old stuff, in the Jazz section, in the Funk sections, in the International sections.  And with that new sense of direction—which is to say, any direction, not bound by the false teleology of the passage of time ever forward—I came to find the lions share of the music I love most, from across a wide spectrum of times, places, sounds—almost everything you hear at Musicophilia.  (More rambling, full tracklist, and the download link after “more…”)

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , , ,

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

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

00_various_-_the-somnambulist_1908-2007_coversmall

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

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

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

(more…)

[1981] – ‘Brain’ Mix (2005)

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

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

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

(more…)

Tagged with: , , , ,

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

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

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

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

(more…)

[Full Album] Soundslike – ‘Complicity’ (2001)

Posted in Albums, Talking by Soundslike on October 22, 2008

As a break from the usual mix/compilation focus of Musicophilia, this morning I’m posting a full album.  And it’s one full album I have full confidence I’d never be sued or jailed for posting–because it’s one of the improvisational albums I recorded at the beginning of this decade.  This particular album is predominantly electronic, but too untrained (and manually created) to qualify as “IDM” or any sort of dance-rooted-music.  It’s rough, organic, sometimes a little ambient, spooky, menacing, disappointingly pretty, and despite all my intentions when I began recording, emotionally resonant above all else.

I post ‘Complicity’ simply because listening to it for the first time in a long while, it surprises me: it does seem to capture something about when it was recorded (10th-12th September, 2001) and the feeling of creeping uncertainty and desperate hope I have felt over the last eight years.  It may reflect none of that for anyone else, I don’t know.  On the eve of beginning as a people the process of healing and moving forward, while as deeply mired in the excesses and failures of our time as ever–the album feels surprisingly relevant to me, and it’s also not quite as musically trivial as I thought at the time.  I am not a musician, so this stuff was all improvised, cobbled together bit by bit with no existing framework, working on a feeling for sound alone.  Despite that fact, it’s surprisingly (annoyingly to me, at the time) song-like and listenable.  More rambling, tracklist and the download link follow the “more…”.

Sideways” (2001)

(more…)

%d bloggers like this: