Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hypothetical mixtape: April 2014

April 2014. Let me see. I was about to turn 50. I should have been spending my time more productively than foraging for random music across the internet. And yet …

"Prophecy Theme", by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno. Gosh, this transports me straight back to 166 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, listening to "Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks", the final genuinely great Eno album for quite some time. It would also fit nicely alongside, say, the "Sparrowfall" trilogy from "Music For Films". It is taken from the soundtrack to what is invariably referred to as the "ill-fated" David Lynch movie of "Dune", where it sits uncomfortably in the middle of a bunch of tracks by Toto. (RIP Michael Porcaro.) As far as I can tell, it has never appeared on any legit  Eno collection. (Of which I have quite a few.)

"Uneasy Peace", by Wooden Wand. By the most extraordinary coincidence, the opening bars of this song are a dead ringer for "Deep Blue Day", from the "Apollo" album. Wooden Wand has put out more records than I have had hot dinners. I really don't know anything at all about him (my bad?), but I do find this song hypnotically compelling. It strikes me as bearing a resemblance to the solo work of Mick Harvey, especially the last couple of albums. The double bass is a nice touch. 

"Tomorrow Is A Long Time", by Elvis Presley. Elvis does Bob. Strange bedfellows, you would think (there is a formalism to Presley's delivery that seems totally at odds with the frequent stuffed-in-a-shoebox looseness of Dylan's lyrics), and yet on this song they are a perfect fit. Really.

"No Matter What You Do", by Lesley Gore. R.I.P.

"Prie Atminimu Upes", by T. Makacinas. Back when we were living at Dalgety Street, St. Kilda, we discovered that a certain Mr. Jim Jenkin lived just across the road. Jim had something of a collection of obscure vinyl oddities, which it was our pleasure to look after for a while. The most mysterious of those records were the ones bearing the "Melodya" label. How they even got into this country is probably an interesting story, as would, surely, be the story of how a song like this could have emerged from the Soviet Union, and in particular how and by what means Soviet "youth" might have been exposed to Western music, without which this song couldn't exist. I don't recall this record being amongst Jim's collection, but it would have been right at home there. Call it prog disco. It's a remarkable thing: kind of like what those of us in the West would have been listening to in 1982 (actually, more likely about five years before that, which might be indicative of how long it took "culture" to filter through to the East), but also entirely not. Bonus: album cover of the month.

"Like An Eagle", by Nancy Whang and Audiojack. A cover of a song originally recorded by a porn star, sung by someone whose surname is "Whang". Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.

"You (Ha Ha Ha) (Lindstrom Remix)", by Charli XCX. Sometimes a remix works because of an obvious sympathy between artist and remixer. (Four Tet and Caribou.) Sometimes a remix works because is it from so far to the left of field that it should not even really exist. (Ewan Pearson's remix of Cortney Tidwell.) This is firmly in the latter camp. I cannot claim to have heard the original song, but, with those Lily Allen vocal stylings, one cannot imagine it sounding anything like this very Lindstrom remix. Special mention to the underwater-fart synth squelches.

"Subconscio", by Efestion & Harald Grosskopf. Grosskopf might not be one of the more instantly recognisable names associated with that dubiously monikered genre, Krautrock, but he seems never to have been far from the centre of the action, and his fine solo album "Synthesist" was in recent years adopted by the digital wing of the hipster cognoscenti. What is surprising (to me) is that he is still working, and not only that, but still capable of putting together an up-to-the-minute gem of electronic pop music. Like this one. (See also John Foxx.) Efestion? I got nothin'.

"Radar (Michael Mayer Remix)", by Hauschka. In which Hauschka, who, I think I'm right in saying, tends more towards a modern-classical (whatever that may be) bent, gets all gussied up by Kompakt co-owner and remix stalwart Michael Mayer. This may not be on Kompakt, but it certainly carries that label's mark of quality. Maybe they're softening Hauschka up for a "Pop Ambient" gig? That would work.

"Alla Kan Se Dig", by Fontan. How come the Swedes get all the good tunes? I really, uh, digged their "Winterhwila" album. This is from the one before that. (Which I didn't know existed.) Is that a theremin I hear before me?

"Digital Witness (DARKSIDE Remix)", by St. Vincent. Remiss of me, I know, what with her being pals with Mr David Byrne and all, but I haven't paid Ms Clark any attention whatsoever until now, and even then she is only in the door because of the appearance of (it says here) "DARKSIDE". Am I about to mend my ways? Probably not. (I'm too busy mourning the premature demise of DARKSIDE, a venture which may well have collapsed under the weight of all those capital letters.)

"Faith (The Field Remix)", by I Break Horses. Let's make one thing perfectly clear: it is not okay to break horses. And it is certainly not okay to boast about it. There.