Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hypothetical mixtape: May 2012

Hot, or at least lukewarm, on the heels of the last one, here is our hypothetical mixtape, inna May 2012 stylee.

"I Only Have Eyes For You", by Oneohtrix Point Never. Last month it was Beck's turn. This month it's the guy with the partly unpronounceable moniker. He so totally deconstructs the song that it almost stays deconstructed. And yet tiny filaments of the original flicker ever so fleetingly that it ends up not disappearing up its own edifice. Although the risk was certainly there.

"I Call On One's Muse", by Rob Jo Star Band. Nice try with the English usage there, Rob, but I don't think you've quite nailed it. One calls on one's muse, perhaps. Or I call on my muse. But the two don't tend to play well if mixed together. Unless, that is, you meant "One" in the "Prisoner" sense. Yes, that could work. Cool song, by the way. I particularly like the seemingly random synthesiser farts that unexpectedly appear at various points. "What does this button do?"

"My Ancestors", by Chris Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family. Some fine African psychedelic music has been unearthed over the last few years. Is the well running dry? It would appear not.

"Right Where You Ought To Be", by Mr Elevator & The Brain Hotel. Quite. Mr Elevator & The Brain Hotel exist in the present, but sound like they have been brought up on a diet of nothing but "Nuggets". As a scientific experiment it proves the soundness and immutability of the theory that if you put four boys in a room with two guitars, a bass, drums, and a microphone, they will sound like sixties garage rock no matter what time period they happen to be living in. As a song, well, it is nothing you haven't heard before but just fine nevertheless.

"Tell Me What's On Your Mind", by The Allah-Las. As for the last song, only -- if this is even possible -- more so.

"Tattoo On Her Shoulder", by Capital Grey. Capital Grey take it out of the garage and into, let's say, Abbey Road. "Nuggets" after the drugs have kicked in, perhaps. This and Mr Elevator & The Brain Hotel were introduced to us by the ever reliable "Clifton's Corner" segment over at Aquarium Drunkard. Shout out!

"Up The Hill And Down The Slope", by The Loft. From '66 to '86, perhaps; C86 to be precise. And the distance is not as far as you might think. If this song had a fault it would probably be that it goes for about a minute too long. But that might only be because all other songs of the era cut out after two minutes, which is hardly The Loft's fault.

"Supermarket", by Supermarket. Perhaps the least Googleable song EVAH. Basically Lawrence, from Felt, with a vocoder and some keyboards. How you respond to the song will depend on how you responded to that last sentence.

"Here To Stay", by New Order. Ah, New Order. Always the same dodgy lead vocals. Always the same naff lyrics. In short, always the same. And yet always frakkin' brilliant. No, I don't get it, either.

"This Is Not The End (Gui Boratto 2012 Mix)", by Gui Boratto. From the "pop" corner of Kompakt's repertoire (and a happy 20th birthday to you, too), and clearly indebted to N*w Ord*r. In fact, you can almost sing along to "Here To Stay" while this is playing. So do you "need" both? Only you know the answer to that.

"Exercise 5 (September)", by CFCF. One of David Sylvian's finest moments, reworked, sublimated, recombined, reimagined, tweaked, reinvented, deconstructed. Some or all of the above. Or none. I should hate this, precisely because it's not "September", by David Sylvian, but strangely I don't. I'm not sure exactly what I should do with it, mind you, but that's another question.

"Belle Tristesse", by Miharu Koshi. Evidently, this little sweetie is from a Christmas compilation circa 1983 and featuring various members of Yellow Magic Orchestra. 1983 was at the height of my love affair with YMO so I can only explain my ignorance of its existence by pointing out that the Internet only came along later. That's my excuse, anyway. Astute readers will note the tenuous link between this and the previous song, being Sylvian's sometime involvement with Ryuichi Sakamoto (including on the "Secrets of the Beehive" album, from which "September" comes). Yes, we are not averse to clutching at straws here.

"Maybe Tonight (Morgan Geist Vocal Edit)", by Lovelock. The opening combination of acoustic and electric piano is the real winner here. Morgan Geist's vocals are the icing. Once again, ten minutes proves to be barely enough. Lovelock, in case you didn't know, is one of many handles of Mr Steve Moore, who has proved himself capable of doing a large number of things, not all of them sounding remotely like this but all of them worth a listen (or ten).

"Sweetness In Her Spark", by Lightships. What we have here, in essence, is a Classic Pop Song. It will remind you of the gentler corners of the Flying Nun roster, it will remind you of The Clientele, it will remind you of some band from Sweden whose name you can never recall. One day other songs will remind you of this. The wheel turns, and it will turn again.

"Equal Mind", by Beach House. Proof that a Beach House b-side is better than most bands' a-sides.

"Happy Pills", by Norah Jones. I hipped to Ms Jones through the agency of Danger Mouse, and in particular his paean to Italian soundtrack music of the sixties, "Rome", wherein she goes mano a mano (or should that be mano a birdo?) with Jack White and comes out with her dignity more than intact. Here, she is working with Danger Mouse again. They seem to be a good combination. (Note to self: maybe I need to spend more time with that last Belle & Sebastian album.)

"Blind Alley", by The Emotions. Sometimes it's better just to let the song speak for itself:

"Sister Brother", by FJ McMahon. From an album with the curious title of "Spirit of the Golden Juice". This song, together with many others like it, operates as a signal from another era, reflected out into deep space in the early 1970s and bounced back to earth only now, as the seemingly endless quantity of "lost" private-press albums, made for pleasure rather than profit and produced in tiny quantities, and bearing names you have never heard of, are discovered afresh and reissued for an inquisitive, and unexpected, new audience. Or at least an audience that might have sung its praises first time around if they had been given the chance. Well, Adrienne likes it, anyway.