Musicophilia

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on January 5, 2009

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While rather more ambitious things are afoot, I thought we could start the new year on a mellow note.   So the ‘Miniatures‘ series is continued with ‘Lullaby No. 1,’ the first of two such mixes currently completed.  The structure is the same here as on previous ‘Miniatures’ mixes: two-minutes-or-less track lengths, and mixes under forty-five minutes.  For the most part eschewing the post-punk sounds and Musique du Monde miasma of the previous ‘Miniatures’ incarnations, this mix follows its title with songs drawn mostly from the quiet, spare worlds of folk and singer-songwriter music, sprinkled with softer samplings of the avant-garde, indie rock, traditional “world” folk music, and even a little proto-punk.  So while this mix mostly whispers, it does so in a Musicophilia-style breadth of musical languages.

In just under thirty-one minutes, you’ll hear 21 tracks from those you’d predict, like Nick Drake, Jeremy Enigk (from his ‘Return of the Frog Queen,’ a minor chamber-pop masterpiece you shouldn’t overlook due to emo associations), Bob Dylan, Big Star, Syd Barrett, Willie Nelson, Low, Mark Kozelek, Leo Kottke, and Cat Power; and also from some you might not expect, like the Modern Lovers, Bjork, a Burmese choir, a Bali gamelan orchestra, Can, Moondog, Tyrannocaurus Rex, and Felt.  Download link and tracklist after the “more…” link.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 3′ (1967-1971)

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

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‘Les Miniatures, Volume 3’ is the second mix in the ‘Les Miniatures‘ series, fifth in the ‘Miniatures‘ method. For more information and the first download, check here. In short (appropriately) these are mixes in the musical style of the globe-spanning, late-60s-to-mid-1970s sound-collecting ‘Le Tour du Monde’ series—but with every track coming in at under two minutes in length, and each mix under forty minutes (like the ‘Miniatures: Post-Punk‘ mixes did for the years 1976-1983). So give them a whirl—you don’t have much to lose, not even much time.

This volume features some very well known names like the Velvet Underground, Bob Marley, Ennio Morricone (though not in his better-known Spaghetti Western mode), Serge Gainsbourg, Syd Barrett, King Crimson and Nick Drake. But it also emphasizes the less-knowns like Sagittarius (for fans of the Beach Boys, The Millennium, or California sunshine pop in general); library hero Roger Roger (of Stringtronics’ ‘Mindbender’ “fame”—seek that one out) and other sound librarians like Oskar Sala, Roland Kovac, and Reg Wale; weirdos like Red Noise, Pearls Before Swine and the ever-wonderful Shaggs; Krautrock stalwarts Amon Duul II and Kluster (in their pre-electro Cluster, more cosmic abstraction days); and lovely Turkish Les Mogol (aka Mogollar) and Japanese artist Hiro Yanagida. Twenty artists and tracks, two “sides,” thirty-one minutes, nine countries—and I’ve got three more like this one nearly ready, so keep your ears open. Full tracklist and a download link to the mix with cover art and “liner notes” following the “more…”.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Les Miniatures, Volume 12’ (1971-1975)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on November 24, 2008

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‘Les Miniatures’ is a new series of mixes combining the methodology of the ‘Miniatures’ series— sub-two-minute track lengths and sub-thirty-minute mix lengths—with the aesthetic and musical forte of the ‘Le Tour du Monde’ series. So you’ll hear sound library tunes, krautrock, psychedelia (especially in the Canterbury mold), proto-punk, a little singer-songwriter, funk (and Eurofunk), tropicalia, perfect pop, early electro-pop and musique concrete. You’ll hear artists from around the world, and more of those strings, those beats, those leaping bass lines, those production flourishes that could only have come from the brilliance of the 70s. A full helping of all of this—in thirty minutes or less. I’ve got four further volumes of ‘Les Miniatures’ finished. The five volumes feature over 100 artists and tracks, and they’ll be coming soon. In the meantime, check out the original ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ mixes for a more in-depth exploration of what’s going on here; or the post-punk-oriented first three volumes of the ‘Miniatures‘ series.

This first-issued volume of ‘Les Miniatures’ features heavyweights like Faust, Curtis Mayfield, Kevin Ayers, Sun Ra, Serge Gainsbourg, Paul Simon, Sly & The Family Stone, Lou Reed, Robert Wyatt and John Cale. But given equal time and weight by France’s ever-eclectic Musique du Monde label are cult figures like Henry Cow, Erkin Koray, Gil Scott-Heron, and barely-heards Seesselberg, Joe Ufer, Orchester Fritz Maldener, Sammy Burdson Group, and Franco Bixio. [I thank the blogs linked in the right column for introducing me to several of these—do yourself a favor and let this mix send you digging amongst the “primary source” blogs, they’re doing the heavy lifting.] Full tracklist and download (including full “album sleeve,” liner notes, and “reissue” notes) follow the “more…” link.

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

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 24, 2008

Here’s the third and final (for now) mix in the ‘Post-Punk’ subset of the ‘Miniatures’ series–another very short mix (<35 min.) of very short tracks (<2:00). And this one is the best yet, in my opinion. It’s a rocket-fueled midget submarine race, featuring more of the Big Names–Wire, ESG, Devo, Pere Ubu, Suicide, XTC–and more of the should-be-big names, like the MX-80 Sound, the Diagram Brothers, Arthur Russell’s Dinosaur L, Jaki Liebezeit’s Phantomband, pre-awfulness (quite good actually, those first few albums) Simple Minds, RIO-licious Debile Menthol, Pyrolator, Dalek I, and more. You probably have the idea down already–if not, don’t miss No. 1 and No. 2. Between the three, you can try out seventy bands and artists in a little over a hundred minutes. Full tracklist and download link after the “more…”.

Coming soon to Musicophilia: another of the ‘Sensory Replacement’ series (which also happens to be a brief mix) of heavily “texture-matched,” segued and intermeshed sounds; another ‘Le Tour du Monde’ set featuring music from 1972-1974, and another focusing on 1975-1978; and ‘Miniatures’ mixes from genres other than post-punk. Hopefully within a month or two, I’ll be honored to feature guest mixes from friends covering territory such as the unexpected and best Bob Dylan covers ever made, a mix featuring “a couple of favorite dark bossa tracks,” and another introducing Russia’s post-punk-new-wave that I bet is unknown to most of us (certainly to me). Stay tuned, let me know what you’d like to hear more (or less) of, and please contact me if you’d like to contribute.

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

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 20, 2008

This is the second in a series of “miniature” mixes, and the second in the post-punk-oriented subset. The ‘Miniatures’ series feature all songs less than two minutes in duration, and mixes under forty minutes. ‘Post-Punk No. 2’ stretches slightly, back to 1975/76/77 and well outside the bounds of what is normally considered strictly “post-punk”. However, in any way other than a purely chronological utility, I’ve always found the name “post-punk” to be a term of convenience only, and ultimately a misnomer that obscures the fact that the “post-punk sound” was merely a continuation (and later a popularisation) of the arty, but non-virtuoso-oriented strains of rock music that have their roots with the Velvets, Stooges, Roxy Music, Canterbury scene stuff, Red Krayola, Residents, and other assorted weirdos and kooks. While it’s arguable there was something of a lull in this strain around 1976, it’s clear that what Pere Ubu or Devo or Brian Eno and David Bowie were doing in 1975 has more in common with the sounds and approaches to art-making of “post-punk” than with the (briefly) culturally more significant but musically impoverished “punk proper”.

Anyway–all that to excuse a little reaching; and an idea to explore more fully later on. This second volume features some big names–Bowie, Eno, Costello, Beefheart, Raincoats–but also plenty of potential new finds I hope, like the Stickmen, Rosa Yemen (Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s band), Crash Course in Science, Matthais Schuster, Aksak Maboul, and Family Fodder (for me, the quintessential post-punk band in the counter-Joy Division-knock-off mold). Full tracklist and download following the “more” link. Check out the first volume here; and the 3rd is going to be a doozy, so check back if you dig this one.

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[Miniatures Series] – ‘Post-Punk No.1’ (1977-1983)

Posted in Mixes by Soundslike on October 15, 2008

Designed for those days when your messageboard- and text-message- and blog-addled attention span is particularly hyperactive, the ‘Miniatures’ series feature all songs less than two minutes in duration, and mixes under forty minutes. Despite their brevity, every track tells a full-scale musical story-no mere interstitials here. Above all, fun is the name of the game.

So, the kinetic, herky-jerk, anything-went playfulness of the post-punk period seems the perfect fit to kick it off. So here is the first of three post-punk-themed mixes in the ‘Miniatures’ mold, featuring favorites like the Swell Maps, Scritti Politti, the Slits, Young Marble Giants; as well as lesser-knowns like Industry, the Homosexuals, Dif Juz, Voigt-465 and 100 Flowers. Full tracklist and download following the “more” link.

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