Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hypothetical mixtape: November 2014

Can I be honest with you? I'm getting a bit tired of these monthly mixtapes. Not the end results; they always seem to turn into something I would want to listen to. No, it's the endless trawl through a seemingly bottomless pit of songs that sometimes isn't my idea of a good time. (I see to be in a let's-listen-to-albums-from-start-to-end-like-nature-intended phase. I'm sure it will pass.)

And yet we press on. Because we must.

"Africa", by Sathima Bea Benjamin. Of course, we can ease into the task with a jazz number from the mid-seventies that is held together by some very nimble percussion playing and the kind of circular bass line heard on, say, The Birthday Party's "NickThe Stripper", or Min Bul's astounding "Champagne Of Course". You will be so mesmerised that you will have no idea that 20 minutes have just passed.

"Talking Central Park Blues", by Ultimate Painting. Given that there's really nowhere you can go after as powerful a song as "Africa", we might as well just move on to the next one on the list. Which happens to be two English (at least I think they are both from the UK; one is, anyway) dudes, both from other bands, riffing on the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On" (and, of course, on Dylan, with the title of the song). "What Goes On" is a part of my DNA, so of course I am going to go for this.

"Moonquake Lake", by Sia & Beck. This makes no sense to me. Evidently it is from a movie. What is Beck doing here? Being Beck, I guess.

"Inside-Outside", by Embassylights. Information about both band and song is thin on the ground, or I don't know where to look.  (They would appear to be from Calgary via Reykjavik.) Anyway, this is an easy song to like. If it's the vocals that are perhaps curbing your enthusiasm, stick around: there is a nice hint of Broadcast towards the end.

"Orange Romeda", by Boards of Canada. Boards of Canada are the kind of band where it is always worth picking up the crumbs. This particular crumb is only available on a Warp compilation entitled, and I think this is a fair statement about the label (as least through the eyes of the consumer) "We Are Reasonable People" (see what they did there?)

"Late Train (Emperor Machine Special Extended Version)", by Paqua. Some of the more recent output of Emperor Machine under their own name has left me a bit under-excited. This 12-minute remix shows they have still got it.

"Fried Neck Bones And Some Homefries", by Willie Bobo. As (presumably) sampled in some old hip hop track. This song is making me hungry.

"Swan Lake", by Blackalicious. Speaking of some old hip hop track ...

"A Harsh Truth (Parts I & II)", by Zurich. Zurich, as far as I can gather, was a one-off project featuring  Neil Halstead which took place in the couple of years between Slowdive's "Souvlaki" and the extraordinary final album, "Pygmalion". Halstead would go on to helm the Americana-by-way-of-Dunedin Mojave 3, but this sounds nothing like that.

"Reve", by Vangelis Papathanassiou. Even though this isn't taken from the "Blade Runner" soundtrack, if you close your eyes you can practically see those rain-soaked neon-lit streets, that once-majestic apartment building ... [sigh].