Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hypothetical mixtape: August 2013

Movin' right along …

"Bat Bi Hiru Lau", by William S Fischer. You could break this down into a list of its component parts, but that ain't never gonna convey the madness, or the intensity, of what all of those parts add up to. Is it early fusion? Lounge? Library? Psychedelic funk? All of the above? You decide.

"I Know You Got Soul", by Eric B and Rakim. You may appreciate the irony that a song that is built from samples of other songs was itself cannibalised so as to aid in the construction of "Pump Up the Volume". All together now: "You got it!"

"How We Gonna Make the Black Nation Rise?", by Brother D and the Collective Effort. We interrupt this frivolous playlist for a political message. A WELL FUNKY political message. All together now: "Agitate, educate, organise!"

"Three Sisters", by Affinity. You should never walk past any record that has on its front cover the famous Vertigo "swirl". It's as if these records, many of which sank without a trace on release, have been sitting buried in a time capsule for four decades waiting to be dug up and appreciated. If it includes Linda Hoyle on vocals, well, just pretend it's your birthday.

"O Caroline", by Matching Mole. Matching Mole were formed by Robert Wyatt (whose "Stalin Wasn't Stalling" was inexplicably left out of my recent "fifty at fifty" list) upon the demise of his previous band, The Soft Machine. They released two albums. Their reputation would place them squarely within the British progressive rock movement, but that would not tell the full story. There is nothing prog rock about this song. I suppose you might call it prog pop (but I would rather you didn't); Wyatt's opening lines might also align it with PoMo. But you might also relax for a minute, stop your anxious handwringing and enjoy it as the majestic pop song that it is.

"Drip Dry Eyes", by Yukihiro Takahashi. Speaking of pop songs, Yuki Takahashi, of YMO, has always had an ear for melody. It would be difficult to argue that this doesn't sound "of its time" (it being, on one reading, just another song evoking the sound of Roxy Music Mk II), but I don't care about that, cos somewhere deep inside of me it is always 1981.

"Alamein Train", by The Pete Best Beatles. A deeply personal song about Cheryl.

"Bitter Devotion (Ewan Pearson Extended Remix)", by Simone Fedi. The ghost of DFA Records hangs over this record. But fear not, it's a benevolent spirit, in this case, the afterimage of an old friend that's not quite here any more, but not quite entirely vanished, either. Whenever I see the words "Ewan Pearson Extended Remix", I cross my fingers for something as remarkable as his remix of Cortney Tidwell's "Don't Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up", and this isn't that, but it does have a similar lightness of touch. The house piano is a neat fit, as it was on The Juan Maclean's "Happy House", and I'm not just making that point in order to bolster an otherwise tenuous DFA reference. Because I would never do that.

"Anytime Soon", by Andy Stott. Free music. On the internet. Seriously. Here. (If you wanted to spend money, you could do worse than pick up his "Luxury Problems" album. It's a keeper.)

"Lida Lou", by Monomono. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure that there is anything in particular to distinguish this particular song, except that we do love ourselves some seventies African vibe, which is what this is. (Nigeria, 1973.) And that's more than enough. Oh, plus, there's a wicked Hammond solo. At least I think it's a Hammond. It could be a Lowrey. Or a Farfisa. Who's to know?

"Azamane Tillade", by Bombino. Which brings us squarely to this month's Black Keys connection: African desert blues, as they say, produced by what's-his-name. I like that they've resurrected the old Nonesuch logo. Somebody knows what they are doing.

"Pink Dust", by SQÜRL. (Nice umlauts, yes?) You would think that Jim Jarmusch would be old enough to know better, but something seems to possess the white-maned enigma to indulge in a spot of noisy guitar sludge. You know what to expect if you have seen "Only Lovers Left Alive". And if you haven't seen it, what's keeping you?

"Spiritual", by Tom Verlaine. You can read about this here. Download it, too; the link's still good. Me, I'm lost for words.