Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hypothetical mixtape: September 2012

On with the show.

"Torold Le A Konnyeidet!", by Atlas. It starts with a couple of largely atonal blasts, but quickly resolves into a classy piece of lounge music, of the kind that you could easily imagine the Karminsky Organization working into one of their "In-Flight Entertainment" collections. If they had known about it. Which they may well not have, since it hails from Hungary, which was at that time only just starting to walk, blinking into the light, out of many years of Communist oppression. Not that you'd know it from this, which would not at all have been out of place on Eurovision circa, say, 1971.

"Free", by British Electric Foundation. Perhaps not as insanely good as Tindersticks' take on "If You're Looking For A Way Out", from a few years later, but pretty damn good nevertheless. From the second volume of B.E.F.'s "Music of Quality and Distinction" project, which I recall being underwhelmed by at the time. Perhaps I had to grow up a bit more to really appreciate this song. (Perhaps I had to have developed a familiarity with the original.) Billy Mackenzie's voice is always received with a tinge of sadness, firstly because of his fate but also because that's what his voice always conveyed; to me, anyway. (Notwithstanding that "Party Fears Two" and "Club Country" are two of the greatest pop songs, not just "New Pop" songs. I understand that there is now a third volume of "Music of Quality and Distinction", on which Glenn Gregory sings the first of those two songs. That I've gotta hear.) This could also, by the way, almost be sold as a lost outtake from Scritti Politti's "Cupid & Psyche 85".

"Owner Man Skank Version", by Massive Dread. The label on the seven-inch says it all, really: "Produced by: Tapper Zukie"; "(c) 1978"; "Made in Jamaica". What could possibly go wrong?

"Keep On Movin'", by Deodato. In which everyone's favourite Brazilian lounge jazz exponent gets on a disco tip. The groove gets hit from the word go; the listener is allowed to settle in for the long haul. It will be worth it. Pre-dates David Bowie's "Let's Dance" by just enough time for speculators to speculate that Bowie might, just might, have had half an ear to this.

 "Cementerio Club", by Pescado Rabioso. It's a small step from Brazil to Argentina. "Pescado Rabioso" means "rabid fish", apparently. Now that's a band name. Where Deodato borrows from disco, these dudes have an ear on the British blues boom. I'm thinking particularly, though, of those lost-era Fleetwood Mac albums that I referred to a couple of months back.

"Circles", by Les Fleur de Lys. Hey, it's the sixties big beat sound we all know and love. You may know this song from a band called The Who. This version may not have Keith Moon on the drums, but it does have a blistering guitar solo. Which is some consolation.

"Right On", by Cougars. If you had snuck this onto David Holmes's soundtrack to "Ocean's 11", I doubt that anyone would ever have been any the wiser.

"White Lines", by David Wiffen. This comes across as archetypal West Coast singer-songwriter tunage, so I was surprised to discover that David Wiffen is English, and began his career in music there before moving to Ottawa, whence sprang the album this fine song is from. Hmmm, those seventies Californian songsmiths being outdone by a Canadian: wouldn't be the first time, actually ...

"Hey Man", by Rare Bird. You would have thought the well of hitherto obscure late-sixties / early-seventies gems would have long dried up by now. You might like to think again. How good is THIS? Interesting that it was picked up for reissue by the fabulous El Records, home of Would-Be-Goods and other fine eccentric and/or understated eighties English fare.

"La Isla Bonita", by Jonathan Wilson. If it is the mark of a man that he can record a cover version of a Madonna song such that the innocent listener has no idea that he or she is listening to a Madonna song, then Jonathan Wilson is some kind of man.

"Selfish Boy", by Caribou. Proof, if proof were needed, that Dan Snaith's limited-edition tour CDs are better than most bands' actual CDs. Is that really a Beethoven sonata tucked away in there?

"Bad Street (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)", by Twin Sister. Not all latter-day L&PT remixes completely hit the mark. This one, I think does: right down to the metaphorical breaking of the storm, at the 6.45 mark. And if the start of the song reminds you of your favourite Swiss band, Yello, well, where's the harm?

"Some Time Alone, Alone", by Melody's Echo Chamber. The music on this song is supplied by Mr Tame Impala. You can kind of tell. What is surprising, though, is the level of debt this song owes to the first couple of Broadcast albums. This is not a criticism: we can never have those days again, so it's nice to get such a poignant reminder of what we will go on missing, for ever.

"Wildest Moments", by Jessie Ware. Pop music, circa 2012. *Sigh*.

"Four Times More", by Elisa Waut. Pop music, circa 1986. You cannot imagine this not having been huge. And yet, it wasn't.

"Year 90-10", by Sam Rosenthal. Instrumental electronic music from 1985; from an album released in an edition of 250 and rereleased in presumably larger numbers last year because, y'know, we are in a 25-year music cycle where everything of a certain age is new and cool again (whereas everything from, say, 2005 nobody wants to know about; but hang on to those, too, because one day they will become valuable "artefacts"; hey, we're not cynical here, not us). Anyway this does sound pretty nice. I would also have embraced it "back in the day" because these are the sounds of my own formative years. Note the pseudo-Pseudo Echo haircut on the record cover. I believe I can say with some honesty that I never had one of those; at least, not for more than a few hours.

"Mon Amour", by Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. Library music royalty. An electric piano vamps away in the background, while the Moog noodles away over the top. As a friend once said, there are not enough "O"s in "smooth".