Monday, January 26, 2015

Hypothetical mixtape: February 2014

Gosh. This was a tough one. We could probably have filled a second disc and then some. Spare a thought for the ones that were lost along the way.

"Come Save Me (Pachanga Boys' Jagwar Pawar Version)", by Jagwar Ma. This is so hypnotic that you barely realise that 12 minutes have passed you by. Is that a good thing? Absolutely.

"International Feel", by Todd Rundgren. A song that has launched a thousand careers, and even lent its name to a record label. Rundgren has always been around; so much so that it is easy not to notice him, or his influence. If Don DeLillo can be singled out for the construction of his sentences (he can), Todd is in the same category vis a vis chord sequences. This song could be exhibit A.

"You're Looking Down A Road", by Ross. This is, in essence, Pink Floyd's "Pow R Toc H" -- or is it "Time of the Season", by The Zombies? -- blended together with prime-era (if there be such a thing) Chicago. Oh those perfect tight-trousered vocal harmonies. Further evidence that 1974 may have been a key year in our musical evolution. Bonus: album cover of the month.

"STUPiG", by BiS. And then there's this. J-Pop laced with speed-metal guitars and a bit of shouting a la "This Is The Excuse". Not that there's anything wrong with that. (Warning: video may cause seizures. Or bad dreams.)

"Warrior in Woolworths", by X-Ray Spex. You want iconic? The opening guitar line of this song. That's iconic.

"Adolescent Sex", by Japan. Here's an idea: try entering "Adolescent Sex Japan" into Google on your workplace computer and see what happens. On second thoughts, don't.

"Disco 2000", by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. You wonder how this came about. The Baddest Seeds are in fine form on this take on the Pulp heartbreaker. Cave's voice tends towards the slightly awkward croonerisms that sometimes makes the listener, if he is the kind of listener who tends to root for the Cavester, cross his fingers behind his back while quietly preparing to wince. Bad cover version? No, actually.

"Freiburg V 3.0 (Club Europe Mix)", by Tocotronic vs. Console. Around the dawn of the new century, when I first discovered how easy it was to extract music from the internet onto the comfort of my own hard drive, and real life consequently receded into the realm of "abstract concept", I stumbled upon something called the "I Like Giorgio" mix of this song. (At the audio-tastic bitrate of 96 kbps.) It may be that I respond to this quite different mix in a fit of misplaced nostalgia. Whatever.

"Sunshine", by John Talabot. Late to the party as usual, I took my old sweet time hepping to John Talabot's "Fin" album. Having done this, belatedly, I looked backwards. And found this. Nice, isn't it?

"Oddball", by Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. In which the A Team of British library music create an ersatz blacksploitation funk groove and hit it out of the park.

"Pair of Wings", by Frankie Rose. The day I no longer fall head over heels in love with this kind of song will be the day I quit. For now: quick, pass the smelling salts.

"Number One", by Silent Corner. And as long as good people keep digging up nuggets from the synth-pop / "dark wave" end of the post-punk continuum, I will continue to listen.

"Week End (Larry Levan Mix)", by Class Action. Originally released on Sleeping Bag. Produced by Bob and Lola Blank. To borrow a catch-phrase from the other Stan: 'Nuff said?

"Surfers Hymn (Actress Primitive Patterns Mix)", by Panda Bear. Every so often Kompakt will throw out a curve ball, often involving artists not usually, or at all, associated with the label. (See, for example, Pet Shop Boys tackling "I'm In Love With A German Film Star".) The tradition continues. While not approaching the wilful difficultness of Actress's very impressive album from 2014, "Ghettoville", this is a much harsher, almost industrial sound than we are used to from Kompakt. Cynics could say, "they couldn't get Factory Floor, so they went with this instead". Cynics be damned.