Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hypothetical Mixtape 2.03

And a one and a two and a one two three four. Yes, it's another random collection of songs found on the internet at one time or another.

"Mamshanyana", by Batsumi. This is labelled as South African jazz. The music was made in Soweto in the dark days of 1974, but (or should that be "because of which"?) it could hardly be more joyous. It also bears a striking similarity to "Astral Weeks", although that must surely be coincidental. And they have a very funky drummer. That often helps.

Bonus: album cover of the month.

"If I Could Tell You", by Nev Cottee. I don't know why this reminds me of "Dark Side of the Moon". But it does. From Nev Cottee's first album, from 2015. He put out another one this year. I really know nothing about him, beyond this song. If this was my day job, I would deserve to be fired.

"Hey Boy", by She-Devils. It's on Secretly Canadian. But they are actually Canadian. Why keep it a secret? This song reminds me of many things. All of them good.

"Shooting Star", by Harper Simon. It is unfathomable to me that this was made in 2009 and not smack in the middle of the 1970s. It is also unfathomable that this is the first song Harper Simon released. In the annals of great debut recordings, this at least deserves an honourable mention. Also: everything sounds better with pedal steel. (Oh, and a trigger warning: Harper is the son of Paul.)

"Spanish Sun", by Sunbirds. In which a German jazz drummer possibly invents (another trigger warning here) "fusion". I highly recommend that you allow yourself to be swallowed up by the wah-wah pedalling, and, of course, the obligatory electric piano. And whatever the heck else is going on here.

"Nite And Day", by Al B. Sure!. I know it's wrong, but I just can't help it. "Nite And Day": it's a little bit Barry White, a little bit Scritti Politti, and a whole lotta eighties. (And yet another trigger warning: the World Trade Centre appears in the video.)

"Psychic Driving", by Soft Metals. So it only took me six years to find this song, even though it presses every one of my buttons. C'mon guys, a little help here.

"Catallena", by Orange Caramel. Well, this is weird. Oh, it's K-Pop.

"Animaloid MV II: Tragic Comedie", by Apogee & Perigee. This, too, may be accurately classified as "weird". It's from Japan circa 1984. Apogee & Perigee would appear to have been Jun Togawa, a musician and performer who, along with the better-known (to me) Phew, provided vocals for an Otomo Yoshihide album, "Dreams", for John Zorn's Tzadik label in 2002. (There's not a lot of John Zorn in this track.) The proto-J-Pop vocals are provided by Miharu Koshi, which allows us, as we like to do, to provide a connection to the seemingly ubiquitous YMO, as she has worked with Haruomi Hosono, whose name also appears in the credits of this LP (which, it would appear, is a concept album about two robots who travel through space with their dog).

"Straight For The Sun", by Yorishiro. Yorishiro sounds like a Japanese name, but these days who can tell? Bandcamp says that he/she/they are from Madrid, Spain. You know what? It doesn't matter. Chill. Which is what these sounds would ask you to do.

"9 Elms Over River Eno (The Field Remix)", by The Orb. And speaking of chill. The Orb, latterly of Kompakt, continue to operate in their own, uh, sphere, seemingly untainted by the outside world. Here, an external influence sneaks in to mess with them, in the guise of The Field, who has been relatively quiet of late. The gorgeous little melody line, which is hinted at in the original but drawn to necessary prominence in this remix, might as well have, as the name suggests, been collected as it floated down the river Eno (albeit at a faster clip than Eno would have sent it off at).

"In The Air", by Michele Mercure. A 2017 reissue of an obscure 1986 album reveals much that possibly sounds better today than it did then. Has anyone ever considered why the rise of crystalline synth sounds, MIDI, and digital recording techniques, coincided with the drop-off in Brian Eno's solo work? Maybe, as with the more or less contemporaneous introduction of digital methodologies to dub reggae, he thought it had all become too easy, thus taking all the fun out of it and giving rise to dangerous "what's the point" kinds of thoughts. (Of course, Brian Eno has latterly been very much back in the game, with, in particular, "Lux" and "Reflection" (and, maybe his crowning achievement, the iPad edition of the latter, which allows Eno's unmistakable ambient sounds to continue literally forever, as one senses they were always designed to do).)

And we finish this mixed bag of goodies, as we sometimes like to do, with a trio of fine Jamaican dub reggae tracks from the latter half of the seventies. There's not much that can be said here; it's all good.

"Plantation Heights", by Dillinger.

"Don't Cut Off Your Dub", by King Tubby And The Aggrovators.

"No, No, No", by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke.