Musicophilia

[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Monde du Funk ’85’ (1983-1985)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on March 14, 2017

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Last year’s ‘Le Monde du Funk Vol. 9‘ explored funk, jazz/fusion, R&B, pop and art rock in the mid to late 70s that paralleled disco, all linked by an emphasis on rhythm and warm, fuzzy synthesizers.  ‘Le Monde du Funk ’85‘ follows the trajectory into the middle of the next decade, as analogue synths gave way to solid state synths, Farlight samplers, and 808 drum machines, weaving together strands of 80’s Funk, R&B, Boogie, Electro, Hip-hop and even a bit of Post-Punk/New Wave.  Where ‘Vol. 9’ lead into the sounds of the Daft Punk tribute, ‘The Gold and the Silver Dream,’ ‘’85‘ picks up where it leaves off, with perhaps an even more pronounced sci-fi/robots/the-future-is-now emphasis.  This is the famous French compilation label Musique du Monde, moving into the digital era!

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Le Monde du Funk ’85‘ spreads across two roughly themed compact discs: Disc 1 focusing on the up-tempo evening; and Disc 2 getting into the late night, down-tempo hours.  The tracks are more than most Musique du Monde compilations by Americans, but the UK is well represented, and Japan makes a convincingly funky appearance, too.  Artists Musicophilia has traced from the late 60s, like Herbie Hancock, David Bowie, and Hamilton Bohannon adapt remarkably well to this new 80s world, along with others previously featured, like Lime, Zapp, The Cure (as The Glove), Cybotron, and Depeche Mode.  But most here for the first time, including D-Train, Change, Mantronix, Toshiki Kadomatsu, Afrika Bambaataa, Krystol, Human Body, Shalamar, Newcleus, Unlimited Touch, 52nd Street, Tones on Tail, Run-D.M.C., Gwen Guthrie, Mtume, Loose Ends, Kashif, Patrice Rushen, Andre Cymone, This Mortal Coil and S.O.S. Band.

Spending the last few months listening especially to this music (and its immediate precursors from the early 80s, to be featured on a forthcoming mix) has really buoyed my spirits in this new dark era.  These musicians were celebrating the human spirit in their own dark days of Reagan, Thatcher, the Cold and hot war, AIDs, etc.  This isn’t “protest song,” by most definitions; but the joy and creativity they express are a source of much-needed strength that runs counter to the dead-souled hate and myopic fears that plague so many (including most in power) today.  I hope you’ll enjoy, and find yourself similarly uplifted.

At the “more…” link below you can stream the mix, check the full tracklist, and download the mix. As always, if you like what you hear, please pass it along and support the artists and labels who made all this fantastic noise.

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[Musique du Monde] – ‘Le Monde du Funk’ (1973-1977)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on December 29, 2016

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Just in time to say goodbye to a year that has seemed like an endless winter, here’s a little summer sunshine.  Picking up threads of the ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ and other ‘Musique du Monde‘ series but a few years later, and a close (if perhaps mellower) cousin to the Daft Punk tribute mix ‘The Gold and the Silver Dream,’ ‘Le Monde du Funk’ explores the warm world of the mid-to-late-70s where funk, jazz, fusion, art rock, folk and pop met worldwide in mutual love for the electric piano, the analogue synth, the active bass, the funky beat, and the melodic hook.  It’s a sound that is forward looking without being coolly futurist (that would come a bit later), highly skilled but all about having fun, and accessible while adventuring past all genre boundaries.  It’s funk, but defined in the broadest terms.

‘Le Monde du Funk’ glides over four sides, featuring Musicophilia mainstays like Hamilton Bohannon, Can, Colin Blunstone, Space Art, Giorgio Moroder (as Munich Machine), Jean-Michel Jarre, Scott Walker (nominally with the Walker Brothers) and Haruomi Hosono–some sounding rather different than their best-known selves–along with the Jan Hammer Group, Herbie Hancock, Parliament, Baris Manco, 801 (Phil Manzanera), Al Stewart, Simone, William DeVaughn, Hall & Oates, Dexter Wansel, Les McCann, and Azymuth.  The US, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, France, Japan and England are all well represented.  (And the tracks I had to cut were just as good as what stayed in, and I’ve got another mix of the same vibe from the early to mid 80s percolating, so hopefully more to come.)

At the “more…” link below you can stream the mix, check the full tracklist, and download the mix. As always, if you like what you hear, please pass it along and support the artists and labels who made all this fantastic noise.

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[1981] – ‘Heart’ Mix (2005)

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

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

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

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