Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hypothetical mixtape: February 2015

And we're back.

"To Find Out", by Keggs. It is the dawn of time. Man climbs down from the trees. He builds himself a garage. He plugs in an electric guitar. It's what separates him from the animals.

"Alone At The Show", by Girlpool. And fifty years later, nothing has changed, except that now the female of the species can do these things at least as well as the male.

"Haile Unlikely by The Electric Dread", by Steel Leg. Along the way, man's journey was interrupted by evolutionary cul de sacs such as Glam, AOR, and Prog Rock. But some time around 1978 the path was set to rights by those who called themselves Post Punk. Chief among them were Mr Keith Levene and Mr Jah Wobble. Sometimes they worked in conjunction with a Mr John Lydon, but not always. In this example of the latter, they imagined themselves as hailing from Africa by way of Kingston, Jamaica. Why they did that, nobody today can say. We must assume they had their reasons.

"I Never Knew", by The Avocados. Those who called themselves Post Punk also evolved. Scientists even today marvel at the pace of that evolution. Out of the initial murk emerged signs of melody and twang, such as might have been heard in the late 1950s, which, as we all know, is before the dawn of time.

"Don't Cry Your Tears", by The Delmontes. They were even doing it in Ireland.

"Dom Kan Inte Hora Musiken", by Masshysteri. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, youth had evolved so far that they had come right back around and landed once again in the Year Zero of punk. Even Swedish youth.

"Put Your Number In My Phone", by Ariel Pink. On the other hand, some pop songs are so perfectly crafted and executed that it is impossible, even with the most sophisticated carbon dating techniques, to locate a specific time and place. (Although, clearly enough, this song comes from a time after the invention of the telephone.)

"Algen", by Amason. At which point we abandon all attempts at dodgy evolutionary metaphors. Here we have more bloody Swedes constructing note-perfect pop sublimity. Featuring Gustav Estjes from Dungen, who also put out a damned fine record in 2015. Also, I would be grateful if someone could explain this video to me. But that would probably require a 15-year-old. Hang on, I think I've got one of those around here somewhere.

"Ufo", by Jim Sullivan. Compare and contrast this song, from 1969, with the previous two songs, from 2015, and marvel at how little pop music has really changed, at a fundamental level, in all that time. While listening, you really should read this remarkable story about the song's creator. You just kind of know Harry Dean Stanton is going to pop up somewhere in there.

"You Wouldn't, You Couldn't Be True", by Phil Upchurch. Proto-Hendrix jazz-guitar pyrotechnics meets The Swingle Singers. You read that right.

"Life & Death In G & A (Parts 1 & 2)", by Joe Hicks. "If it feels good, it's alright." Words to live by. 

"Keep On Dancing (Todd Terje Remix)", by Gary's Gang. It's sweet to hear Todd Terje once again stretch a piece of music out towards the ten-minute barrier. Not so much happens, but it happens (or should that be "doesn't happen"?) with quiet deliberation, a little flair, and maximum coolness.

"Raising The Titanic (Big Drum Mix)", by Gavin Bryars. Given my strong interest, back in the nineties, in Gavin Bryars, and, more recently, in Aphex Twin, one wonders how I could have been completely unaware of the convergence, on this track, of those two artists. Does it work? I'm not so sure. Plus, that's the wrong question. This is Aphex Twin we're talking about.

"Cube (Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer Remix)", by Hauschka. This, by some insane coincidence, is surprisingly similar to the Aphex/Bryars track, except that this time the drum track and the more melodic/atmospheric parts would appear to be listening to each other a little bit. Masters at work.

Bonus: album cover of the month.

"Lagrimas Negras", by DJ Sotofett Presents Fran Benitez. DJ Sotofett seems to be plowing the field adjacent to Ricardo Villalobos, at least on the strength of this track. It is both as scary as all heck and gorgeous, all in the one uncanny package. How is that even possible?

"Ride", by Gaussian Curve. Featuring Gigi Masin, who, curiously, also appeared on the previous hypothetical mixtape in this series, but whose existence (even though he has been making music since the mid-eighties -- which perhaps explains how some elements of this track come straight out of the early solo David Sylvian playbook) I had been entirely unaware of until then. So he's a bit like Melbourne trams, then: you wait forever for one, and then two show up at exactly the same time.