Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hypothetical mixtape: April 2016

And then disaster struck. Well, not actual disaster. Nobody died. The computer on which all the random music I have internet-trawled resided (note the past tense), neatly parcelled into monthly playlists awaiting my delayed attention, had to be rebuilt, the result of which is that I haven't lost any music, but everything has been lumped together into an undifferentiated, congealed mass. Here, then, endeth the monthly hypothetical mixtape (which was never really monthly, or hypothetical; or a mixtape). I will try to find a way to keep doing these, in some form, as it has been an enjoyable exercise and a way of discovering the occasional wtf musical moment, and those, of course, are what it is all about. In the meantime, there is this.

"She's In The Wall", by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. Let's start off by what seems to have become the monthly Hope Sandoval song. This time it's her own band, and a song that, because she has been on a total creative roll of late, she seemingly couldn't fit onto her latest album. If you were a musician that would probably make you cry.

"She Wants To Disappear", by Plates Of Cake. If you ever imagined what The Clientele might have sounded like if they were a part of the Postcard Records roster (I know I have), this song is for you.

"Golden Vanity", by The Hanging Stars. Because everything sounds better when it sounds like it was written and recorded in 1967.

"Dejenla En Paz", by Tonchos Pilatos. Remember, if you build a wall between Mexico and the United States you will also be keeping out good people like Tonchos Pilatos. Which would be just wrong. 

Next up: a mini-mix of three stray Stereolab-related tracks; either I was bored, or listening to Cavern Of Anti-Matter sent me into a dangerous spiral of nostalgia. Who can say?

"One Wild Moment (Stereolab Remix)", by The Pastels. There is probably a Pastels song buried in here somewhere, but all I can hear is what I regard as Mouse On Mars-era Stereolab (you know, the "Dots And Loops" sound), which was not a thing for anywhere near long enough if you ask me.

"Explosante Fixe", by Stereolab. The "A" side of a "Chemical Chords"-era tour single. This is part of what at the time I regarded as Stereolab's "long tail", although in retrospect this era still has its charms, albeit they may be taking a bit longer to reveal themselves.

"Calimero", by Stereolab & Brigitte Fontaine. Released in the same year as the above Pastels remix, this struck me instinctively as sounding more like something from what I would call the Jim O'Rourke ("Cobra And Phases Group") era of Stereolab, although in trying (without success) to find the precise analogue to the backing track, I have been forced to conclude that (a) it might also be related to "Sound-Dust" and (b) this might well be the most mind-bending three-album run by any group in the history of popular music.

"Rashomon", by Takeshi Terauchi & The Blue Jeans. My discovery of this track, right here, is why I do this blog. Whatever the first two and a half minutes (a remarkable piece of music in its own right) leads you to expect you are being set up for, I can almost guarantee that you will be wrong. Try it and see.

(Bonus: album cover of the month.)
"Underground In Blue", by The Underground Set. As interpolations of "Love Is Blue" go, nothing can quite reach the might and majesty of Paul Mauriat's own disco version, but this unstable pile of Italian nutso gives it a fair shake.

"Nucleo Antirapina", by Bixio, Frizzi & Tempera. This seems to have been originally rediscovered (if that's not a tautology) by the estimable nineties label Crippled Dick Hot Wax. So incredibly well recorded that listening to it could actually kill you. (But don't let that stop you.)

"Zota Yinne", by Alogte Oho Jonas. So, this is some classic African-tinged roots reggae. It sounds so amazing (I almost had an accident when the horns first kicked in) that it could only have been made in ... Germany. In 2013. In fact, the only thing that might connect it to the 21st century is the copyright information: otherwise it is so authentically seventies that you have to suspect a set-up.

"Ono No Imoko", by Siuyoubi No Campanella. Because Japanese pop music.

"El Groove De Tu Corazon (Matias Aguayo Version)", by Ana Helder. Matias Aguayo has a reputation for doing things that don't sound quite like other things. I don't entirely know what to make of this song, if it is even a song, but it certainly fits that description. Uh, "enjoy".

"Threatened", by Lives Of Angels. Purely electronic sounds from, I would say, the earlier end of the 1980s. Well, mostly electronic: note the (at the time) subversive use of Young Marble Giants-style electric guitar for "tonal colour".

"The Linear Way", by Linear Movement. This is not the first time I have heard Linear Movement. In another universe, they might have been the band that I went to see at The Tote with almost religious devotion. (They are also very stylish.) Notwithstanding the previous track, you certainly did not need guitars in order to make an impact. It would all be lost to history now, if we didn't have the internet. (On the other hand, if we didn't have the internet Donald Trump most likely wouldn't be president. Gosh, that's awkward.)

"Crossing", by Midori Takada. You would be ignoring the elephant in the room if you didn't at least mouth the words "Steve Reich" when listening to this. Which is not in any way to diminish what is a sufficiently compelling, and mesmerising, piece of music on its own terms. By an extraordinary coincidence, the album this comes from, "Through The Looking Glass", is being reissued this very week on WRWTFWW Records, which is a very satisfying acronym.