Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hypothetical mixtape: June 2015

Pretty happy with the music this month. It may not hang together thematically or musically or in fact in any way at all, but there's no need to pretend that's a problem. I mean, you don't actually listen to any of this, do you?

"Puls", by Gunter Schickert. So why don't we start off, then, with 15 minutes of semi-abstract German noodling from 1979. No, I hadn't previously heard of this, notwithstanding that my ears usually prick up at the mention of the Sky Records label, home of some of my favourite late-seventies semi-abstract German noodling.

"Disco Computer", by Transvolta. Like the ad says, "I can't believe it's not Moroder." Actually, the person behind this song was also largely responsible for Telex, a band that could only do one thing, but did it so damn well, and it was manifestly such a great thing, that nobody would be so churlish as to raise it as a point of criticism.

"Lies (Theo Parrish re-edit)", by GQ. One of the many, many things that Theo Parrish can do is take a seemingly workaday disco number, distil the salient parts, and extend it out for so many minutes that at some point you stop wondering when it is going to end and start wishing that it never would.

"Poppy Seed (Boards of Canada Remix)", by Slag Boom Van Loon. There was a Van Loon who went to my high school. I don't think his first name was Slag Boom. That might have been fun! (Side note: this remix stands with the best of Boards of Canada, if you ask me. Always check what remixes your favourite artist has done. You never know.)

"Y.M.D. (Young Michael Douglas)", by Maya Vik. Classic pop song of the month. Produced by Lindstrom, whose hands, in the best possible way, are clearly all over it. Who else does ascending chords like this?

"Beach Mode (Keep It Simple)", by Ikonika. Vocals by Jessy Lanza. I could easily have missed this. Don't you make the same mistake.

"A Beautiful Woman", by Deradoorian. Yet another slice of classic pop, this time bearing the mark of sixties psychedelia as also purveyed by the likes of The Time And Space Machine and Jane Weaver. In other words, get hip to this, all you groovy cats and chicks.

"Strassen Kaempfert", by Visit Venus. If people were listening to the music of the sixties in the 2015s, they were also listening in the mid-nineties. But the sixties those nineties dudes were listening to wasn't the drug-infested morass of the end of the decade, but the clean-living, high-production-values sixties of your Bert Kaempferts and the like. Visit Venus capture the vibe pretty well, and with high production values of their own. Couldn't find a version on the world wide web, so here, as long as nobody minds, is a copy on the dropbox.

"Hangdog", by Small Wigs. In honour of Record Store Day, an actual, honest to god, seven-inch vinyl single, in a garage-rock / Gun Club vein. My scepticism about the whole vinyl revival is hereby temporarily suspended.

"Running Away (Long Version)", by Roy Ayers Ubiquity. By the mid-seventies, blacksploitation-soundtrack funk had to some degree morphed into a kind of funk-disco hybrid. At least, that's a plausible narrative to wrap around this song, given Roy Ayers' previous guise (or one of them) as blacksploitation-soundtrack auteur (e.g. "Coffy"). This sets up an undeniably smooth groove and runs (away) with it.

"Man Of Means", by Alan Hawkshaw. In which the famed British library-music composer catches (albeit somewhat late) the wave that Roy Ayers was surfing on the "Coffy" soundtrack, to surprisingly non-"cod" effect. Featuring bonus harpsichord (or synthetic equivalent). Bet you didn't see that coming.

"Music For Chameleons", by Gigi Masin. Masin's name has been coming up around here a bit lately, so I thought I would dig a bit deeper, but to little avail. It seems he is an Italian composer, who has been doing his thing since the late eighties. This track (nothing to do with Gary Numan's song of the same name) is taken from a seemingly wide-ranging double-disc compilation (available for a good price on Bandcamp). It carries with it definite resonances of David Sylvian's mid-eighties work; I am probably thinking of the second disc of "Gone To Earth", but then I always am.

"Usha (Daphni Edit)", by Usha Uthup vs Alex Israel. We finish off with a couple of one-off tracks by Dan Snaith's other alias, Daphni. Daphni tracks tend to be a slightly more rough-and-ready version of the work he does with Caribou. This first one Snaith claims to be a mash-up. Maybe, but heck, it sure bears the sonic palette of the Daphni album.

"Vikram", by Daphni. This is coming from a similar place, but with added beats. Can you have too much of a good thing? I think not.