Saturday, March 04, 2017

Hypothetical mixtape: March 2016

Dang, I seem to have fallen a year behind again.

This time around, let's skip sublime and go straight to ridiculous.

"Louie, Louie", by The Sandpipers. From a 1960s that time forgot, here is a version of rock'n'roll bedrock made to sound like "Guantanamera". It has been drained of all life. Its reason for existing is no longer evident. It is like a slow-motion car accident from which you cannot look away. And so you stare, spellbound, at something that's like a thing you recognise but also, like, not.

"Fran Andra Hand Till Stranderna I Nice", by Gryningen. This seems to have been cut from the same cloth: you know, the kind of gem you might find hidden on some Phase 4 Stereo lp you found at a garage sale. But -- surprise, surprise -- it's some Swedish dude from the 2010s. Go figure.

"Da Klagar Mina Grannar", by Charlie & Esdor. If you ever thought you needed to hear more damaged-psych clatter from Swedish hippies, embellished by excessive quantities of free-form sitar, (a) boy have you got problems; and (b) this is for you.

"Ganglat Fran Valhallavagen", by Kvartetten Som Sprangde. Yet more psychedelic Swedes, this time from the early seventies and therefore with something of a prog-rock bleedthrough. I'll be honest with you, I could probably listen to this all day. In fact, I think I might. (No wonder this column is so far behind.)

"Gonul Dagi", by Baris Manco & Kurtalan Ekspres. At the self-same time, weird musical excursions were also, uh, "happening" in Turkey. If this song hasn't been sampled, the samplers haven't been doing their job properly.

(Bonus gratuitous lookalike gag: Hey, look, it's the Turkish Lemmy.)
"Ad Gloriam", by Le Orme. You may also know this from the soundtrack to "Ocean's Eleven", where it was rejigged by David Holmes. "I didn't know that, Wayne."

 "The Visit (She Was Here)", by The Cyrkle. The other things hippies couldn't do was spell. Byrds. Beatles. Cyrkle? On the other hand, seven-inch B-sides were their bread and butter. Viz:

"Move With The Season (Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Reanimation)", by Temples. My guess is that Temples would be one of the seemingly countless number of bands that appeared in the wake of Tame Impala, with inevitably diminishing returns. This sort of post-psychedelic Britpop is easy on the ear but it can struggle to generate much excitement (at least at our house) if it doesn't have the X factor that someone like Kevin Parker can bring to it. Enter Beyond The Wizards Sleeve, the living embodiment of 21st-century UK psychedelia. It appears this is one component of an entire album's-worth of Temples "reanimations". Curiously, Temples' second album was released, like, literally yesterday. Spooky.

"Alphaville (Todd Terje Remix)", by Bryan Ferry. So this is where the idea for Ferry's star turn on TT's "It's Album Time" album came from. Even when you know it's him, it's still kinda hard to fathom. Mr Terje, on the other hand, he's all over this, in the best possible way. A couple of minutes before the end it morphs into an discourse on "Music For 18 Musicians". Or maybe that's only in my dreams.

"Don't You Wish You Had (What You Had When You Had It?)", by Ruth Copeland. Co-written by The Clinton That Did Inhale. Guitar, I would appear, by Eddie Hazel. And such the voice. I am a better person for having learned of this record's existence. Also: some of the best use of parentheses in a song title.

"What's A Girl To Do", by Fatima Yamaha. Thoroughly beguiling piece of electronic pop music from 2004 which, seemingly, refuses to die. You will, of course, swoon when the voice of Scarlett Johansson, from "Lost in Translation", appears out of nowhere.

"Planet Sizes", by Steve Mason. In which the erstwhile Beta Band member reminds listeners of how that band was able to make even the trickiest of pop songs sound oh so easy. I'm not sure he hasn't done himself a bit of a disservice here, though: combining an utterly gorgeous song with an utterly gorgeous video, at our present stage of human evolution, is probably more than we mere mortals can absorb in one go. I know: watch the video with the sound off, then listen to it with your eyes closed. That might be the best of two very fine worlds.

"I Don't Mind", by Psychic Ills. You already know how I feel about Hope Sandoval (*sigh*). Combining her voice with psych-haze stoners Psychic Ills is a thing I can get behind. They dial it right back, she fits right in. It's like an earlier pairing, of Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell, only -- well, I was going to say "only better", but that would be unfair. It's all good.

"Herd of Creeps", by Sunwatchers. You won't believe your ears. And yet here we are. Warning: may induce headaches in the unsuspecting.

"Stereoscope (Steve Hauschildt Remix)", by Christina Vantzou. To bring us back down to earth at the end of a long and surprising (to me, anyway) playlist, why not some Steve Hauschildt magic. I haven't given him anywhere near as much oxygen on these pages as he deserves (to wit, precisely none). He has been doing some excellent work out there on the ambient/experimental/electronic fringe, nowhere better than on his 2016 album, "Strands". This track is a presumably roughly contemporaneous remix. Whereas the original is all ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space, the remix is all ladies and gentlemen we are floating in a warm bath of amniotic fluid.