November Listening

The Bangles – Different Light (1985)

Whew I was a little bummed by this album. Obviously Manic Monday was a jam, and the racist Walk Like an Egyptian has a catchy melody that’ll forever be stuck in my childhood sense-memories. But the rest of the album sounded kinda take-it-or-leave-it country songs that’d been studio’d out to pass as new wave. Oh well.

Kahimi Karie – I Am a Kitten (1995)

A nice EP she did with Momus back in the day. Plucky tunes, type of thing where theory-wise the tracks are all somewhere between bossa and city pop, but you still wanna file it under new wave. And wow that SUPER hard-panned vocal at the tip top of the mix on the last track.

Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)

However, having been a few days since I peeped these, I can’t remember the two well enough to distinguish between them. Maybe a closer listen some day.

Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted (1992)

So I missed these guys when I was a teen, which is kinda when you’re supposed to get into them (see also Op Ivy, The Clash, etc.). Still tho, the tunes are catchy enough that I can still hang 25 years after the fact. Pretty good!

Amnon Raviv – Mirror (1983)

Weird instrumental collage / experimental-via-flamenco album by this Israeli professional medical clown. Beautiful and straightforward.

Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists (1992)

STILL trying to get into these guys, figured I’d start at #1. I heard Know Your Enemy as a teen and liked it well enough, but figured there was more that I was missing somehow.

Anyway this album is serious hair metal vibes. Can’t hang too long.

Alice in Chains – Sap (1992)

Special place in my heart for the occasional goofs in early Alice records. The bluesy-blues solos and funny satanic collage segues. Anyway Brother was one of my fav tracks in the unplugged album. Dunno about the vocal harmonies on the chorus, makes it sound a little post Fleetwood Mac. But whatever, minor quibbles.

Also noticing what sound like unusually tight vocal harmonies in Got Me Wrong.

Diastereomer – Ignition Advancer LP (1991)

Oof, haven’t written in long enough that I can’t remember my impression of this album. It says LP in the release title but this one clocks in 8 tracks over 34 minutes. Love a lean album. Skipping around and it’s sounding good but I wonder how long I could really dig it.

Diastereomer – Demo and Live Tracks, Vol. 1 (1991)

Three tracks in and it’s sounding kind of formative, like it could coalesce into something cool later on.

Special Request – Bedroom Tapes (2019)

You know when you need a palate cleanser that’s like in the same neighborhood as the stuff that messed your palate up to begin with?

Much better.

Had to skip the last track tho. Too much techno!

SND – Work Overtime (2017)

Switching gears / the boys are back in town! This one starts off a little different for Mark Fell. Wow, a straight 4/4 techno beat, ok. Sounds like a hacker movie soundtrack, I’m with it so far.

Uh, hm, the vocals just kicked in. What’s going on here?

Looked it up and this isn’t Fell at all, it’s like a hungarian emb thing?? Is this what ebm is??

I’d like to speak to the manager please.

Nihon No Wave (compilation 1985)

OK, here’s where my ears are starting to get numb. Or maybe I’m just not digging this comp?

C. Memi – Heavenly Peace 12″ (1983)

Funny / cute! This one stretches out a bit more. C’est Une Chanson is a straight carnival waltz, For Monster Of Dr. Frankenstein is a children’s piano tune.

Not sure how often I’d put this one on, but still cute.

Juma – Selected Works 2xLP (1982

More Bitter Lake reissues, this one bracketed by two LONG spaceout synth jams. Now I know how it must feel to listen to some of my stuff. Sorry guys…

Anyway the songs are nice enough. Not my fav, esp compared to the last one.

Dendö Marionette – 傀儡電伝 (1982)

Hell yeah! More of the same but more aggro. Trying to remember where I’ve heard this opening synth melody recycled before. Damn…

Ah! All the Pigs All Lined Up, live NIN thing circa Downward Spiral era. Solves that, I guess.

C. Memi + Neo Matisse – No Chocolate / Dream’s Dream (1980)

Switching over to some Japanese underground new wave courtesy of Bitter Lake Recordings. I’ve never really heard anything called new wave that wasn’t in the top 40 in its time! Sounds real cool. Not the catchiest tunes but the grit makes up for it.

Rumble! The Best of Link Wray (1958 – 1979)

This to me is some of the most Americana deep kitsch around. Petra commented on the funny use of surf music for the Batman theme – a story that’s set in a dark, endless urban sprawl, nowhere near any body of water. If this was after the 80’s you could call it the mainstream cashing in on the underground, but this was before there was much of an underground music culture to speak of, eh?

Cowabunga! – The Surf Box (compilation 1959 – 1995)

Four more CDs let’s go!!!

This stuff kinda melts into the background after long enough. It was interesting though to see the genre transition from instrumental guitar rippers to barbershop quartet pop tunes. 72 bands here, I wonder how many of them had surfed?

The Birth of Surf (compilation 1958-1963)

Keeping it moving. Honestly if you played this in the car and told me it was just one band I wouldn’t be able to tell. :/ Not to say it’s bad! Just, the formula was real tight.

I read someone somewhere calling Santo & Johnny surf rock. I’ll buy it! Sleepwalk was imo one of the best songs ever written.

Really put-on-able music, this whole scene.

Dick Dale and His Del-Tones – Surfers’ Choice (1962)

Last weekend I was putting on some music in the living room and Petra requested something that I misheard as “surf rock”. I checked my library and I had pretty much next to nothing! Gotta start with the essentials.

So this is one of those albums that, unless you’re listening real close, it’s kinda all the same. (Sorry!) Still cool to hear! One of 6 or 7 discs I’ve got on deck right now. We’ll see!

Dax Pierson – Live In Oakland (2019)

I don’t know Dax personally but I was around the bay when he had his accident, and I’m stoked to see he’s still making stuff. I expected to hear some electroacoustic buzzy laptop musings for some reason, but these beats really kick ass. You can hear he’s making music about his life too, there’s a bunch of doctor’s office samples and stuff. Heavy stuff, had me thankful for my body. You never know.

Melaine Dalibert – Cheminant (2019)

How’d all this solo piano stuff get in my queue? Anyway this is super nice, extremely still music. Reminds me of those Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto discs except without Alva Noto. Some of these tracks are just almost nothing at all. Great great great.

David Grollman – Bubble Wrap Cocoon (2019)

Transmissions from Wee Space. Always love seeing how Grollman’s recording practice is evolving. Sounds like he’s getting more into playing with the recording process and sound files this time around. Good stuff!

Gone before it arrives. So short!

Negativland – True False (2019)

Didn’t know these guys were still making stuff! Dispepsi and Escape From Noise changed me. I went and saw them live in the 00’s at the Great American in SF. They built a stage in the middle of the room and had us all sit down with masks while they did this mock-radio-show thing. It was so weird. I feel like they’ve always been some of the straight up weirdest musicians on the block. Also some of the smartest anti-capitalist music around, very difficult to co-opt because it doesn’t sound satisfying or convincing the way pop music usually wants to. At the same time though, it is kind of weirdly catchy in its own way, and certainly demands attention (vocal samples, etc.) the way pop usually wants to.

So, I’m three tracks into True False and so far it really delivers. These guys should be on tour with Matmos.

Cigarettes After Sex – Cry (2019)

I was so hype for their first LP when it came out, really dug all their other stuff, even wrangled a copy of their eponymous full length demo (which, I hate to be that guy but it’s my fav of their stuff so far).

Then. The LP finally came out, bought it immediately, threw it on, and it was like… the same song 12 times. At first I was like “this is cool, ok…” but honestly I just didn’t put it on that much. (Plus it felt like the band was a little old to be writing songs this horny and teenage? Idk.)

Anyway. We’ll see how this goes. Titles aren’t promising but staying open to it.

Elisa Waut – eponymous (1982)

Coldwave vibes, recently reissued on Numero. Coldwave is one of those gothy subgenres I keep trying and failing to get into. It always feels either too edgelord or too dinky or both. But this is nice so far.

Painted Faces – Tales from the Skinny Apartment (2019)

Instant deep fried classics from 50 years ago in the future. Guaranteed to play continuously in your psyche nonstop for the rest of your life. First you hear it then you die.

Keith Fullerton Whitman – complicated lives; (2019)

I think he said on his web site recently that he was getting to be really bad at editing and compiling releases. I guess I can’t argue! It sounds nice but there’s just so much output recently, it’s a lot to parse. Turns to mulch pretty quick.

Improvised and ephemeral musics like these are just so hard to figure out now that music comes to us like a waterfall.

Rangers – Spirited Discussion (2019)

Ah this is better. I guess you’d call this post rock, but it feels like a good direction for rock and roll right now.

Real good space rock vibes! Brings me back but doesn’t feel super nostalgic.

Reinier van Houdt (perf) & Bruno Duplant (comp) – Lettres et Replis (2019)

More excellent, sparse piano music. This one sounds like sparse raindrops so far. Well-mic’d, lots of overtones hanging on forever. Lots of stuff being done inside the piano. Harmonics and stuff. Sounds great.

Shasta Cults – Configurations (2019)

Grabbed this based on a lukewarm review in last month’s Wire. The promo language for this release sounds a little weird to me, and I wonder if that’s how it got the middling review – it presents the album as like, the True Sound of the Synthesizer!!!, free from piano and string emulation, just what the instrument is supposed to sound like all on its own.

Which, yeah, totally, but like, idk, there’s a whole lineage and tradition around that approach now.

Anyway, the pieces are pretty!

Shira Legmann (perf) & Michael Pisaro (comp) – Barricades (2019)

Real pretty solo piano studies, just how I like ’em!

I’m realizing this year that a lot of my favorite music is solo instrumentals.

Christian Fennesz – Agora (2019)

Ah man this is real nice. The last couple things from him were actually sounding a little too gone for me, I’m partial to Fennesz’s stuff where he’s buzzy and right up front. This sounds lovely.

He’s even playing some guitar, right up front and everything!

Stone Temple Pilots – eponymous (2018)

THE NEW GUY SOUNDS JUST LIKE SCOTT. Wth. Weird to hear.

Musically the guys sound as enthused as ever, not rote at all.

But, again, what shall we do with rock and roll?

Mudhoney – Digital Garbage (2018)

Oh hello, A Mudhoney Album Released in 2018, nice to meet you.

Ah, man. What will we do with rock and roll? Can there be a place for a party music whose party has ended?

Maybe or maybe not, but, I do look forward to the possibility of the party starting up again.

Anyway there’s some nice tunes on here.

Kill Yourself Live wins Greatest Distance Between Quality of Song Title (awesome) and Quality of Lyrics (sigh).

Tricky – Ununiform (2017)

Was gonna say he’s back! but I looked it up and he never left. He’s been on an album-every-few-years schedule this whole time. Amazing.

I’m extremely ready for a trip hop revival.

Oh cool, Hole cover on the b side.

B side of an LP is maybe my favorite territory in a release. You’re deep into the album already, it feels like it’s where you really get to know the album. All those awkward hellos are out of the way.

MIA – AIM (2016)

Was a huge MIA stan in her day, still bummed about the way she was constantly sent to timeout in the corner over things a white dude would have gotten away with or been celebrated for.

I feel like MIA’s work is at its best when the stage is largest. Still, there are some great tracks on this album.

American Football – eponymous (2016)

Welp, gotta check the other two albums now.

Wow 17 years later, guy sounds like a country singer kinda. More polished sound on the band, some string section swells, yano. Same song structures though. Still really nice.

I hate to be all like “Some of the magic is gone,” but some of the magic is gone.

Chairlift – Something (2012)

Petra went to see this singer’s new solo thing the other day and she played some for me after – it’s real good! Welcome palate cleanser to dig into her old band.

Looking it up to remember some context – hey, Alan Moulder producing!

Album starts a little all over the place but it’s cooling out. 80’s new wave adjacent sounds, now I remember why I dug this.

Oh shit! I Belong in Your Arms is such a jammer.

On track 7 now and still waiting for another I Belong in Your Arms. They caught a big one with that track for sure.

Blink 182 – Neighborhoods (2011)

Was always curious to hear this one, just to see how they’d come back to their teen song templates as middle aged dudes. What do you write about when you’re making an album like this?

Their voices sound so different! Just older, I mean. Took a few songs to get used to it. Also now feat. orchestral synths and heavy autotune.

Yano it kind of lacks directness! Those first couple albums, I remember I could hear specifically what they were singing about. There was no need for pretense, it was young music by young people. This one sounds like it’s trying to talk about middle-aged problems, but it feels like it’s shoehorning them into this lyrical template of young music. And it’s like, you can just be direct about your middle aged problems.

Back on the instrumental tip, it also sounds informed by the bands that were originally informed by them.

Arvo Pärt – Adam’s Lament (1990 – 2008)

Kid started freaking out a little so I had to put on something quieter for him. He’s chillin’ now.

It’s a funny thing, ID3 tags were designed largely with classical music in mind (there’s a Conductor field but no Feature or Producer field??), yet, they still really mess up my whole library. Lots of compilation discs where Artist is the performer and Composer (the part I care about) is kind of secondary. The year is always the year of release rather than the year of composition. Anyway.

I’m an Arvo Pärt stan for sure, but honestly I’ve only really digested a few of his pieces. Adam’s Lament is the long jammer on this one, then 7 other tracks.

Another thing is classical music always has such a monster dynamic range, makes it hard to listen to quietly.

Just turned it up halfway through the record and it sounds great. I guess classical records really use volume for force, rather than production techniques like we do now. Live acoustic music techniques only.

This stuff kinda sounds like Enya.

DJ Blaqstarr – King of Roq (2008)

Back to the Baltimore club thing first thing in the morning, phew.

Terre Thaemlitz & Bill Laswell – Web (1995)

Watched Terre’s RBMA lecture this week and it was really great. About ten years ago I was walking around SF with Erik and he handed me a plush cheeseburger containing Terre’s complete works (2 data DVDs full of mp3s, holy shit). It was no biggie to drop them into my listening queue in Swinsian a couple years ago, and since then they’ve just been waiting for a rainy day.

Anyway Terre’s lecture was A+, they seem really cool and it was a nice way to learn how better to listen to their stuff.

This disc is an earlier ambient thing. I feel like there might be a concept behind it but it’s working nice as just listenable music too.

DJ Sega – I Don’t Know (The 10th Anniversary Edition) (2007)

Coming back in for re-entry to the 21st century, trying not to burn up in the atmosphere.

This rapid-fire sample thing from when Baltimore Club was having a moment was so compelling.

I think one of the reasons I have such trouble with techno is that it’s mostly about itself and its own hyper-specific subgenres, the way metal or noise is. I have a higher tolerance for the harsh stuff because I’m more native to it. I guess it’s hard to show up to techno a couple decades late and expect to just get it.

But club music more generally still maintains some freedom and playfulness, and that’s easy enough to latch on to.

Also the bird really likes this album.

American Football – eponymous (1999)

Never really heard these guys until Drew played ’em for me in the studio last night. Really good! If I’d been hip to this in ’99 it would have been my fav 100%. I guess I was hanging out with kids that hated emo at the time, so a lot of this stuff never made its way onto my radar. Too bad!

Velvet Revolver – Contraband (2004)

The sound of rock and roll aging.

Yamamoto Seiichi – Nu Frequency (2003)

Was really eager to hear this one. Old guitarist of Boredoms. His other album on Tzadik, Baptism, was a really sparse-sounding solo guitar record. I remember hearing it around the time it came out. I was in Santa Cruz, drove down from the bay with a few other friends to visit someone. They had all gone out at one point and I stayed behind at our friend’s apartment for some reason. Ended up listening to this record and halfway-napping through a lot of it. Perfect way to hear a record like that.

Vic Rawlings & Mike Bullock – Fall of Song (2003)

Copped this CD in Boston from Vic at a show. He was doing what sounds like the same setup I’m hearing here – cello plus weird stray speakers and electronics. Heavy lowercase vibes. He’s still one of my fav noisers.

The bird is enjoying this album so far.

I’ve been listening to a bunch of different albums in chronological order so the reductionist vibe of this album feels a lot like a bookend for the 21st century. (Might be wishful thinking, that Cypress Hill album might be more apropos unfortch.)

I never really digested this CD at the time, I didn’t really have a place in my life to routinely focus on new music until a few years ago. This was always one of those wanna-digest-it-but-not-right-now things.

It’s really good music. Huge dynamic range actually. The sounds are delicious.

Otomo Yoshihide’s New Jazz Ensemble – Dreams (2002)

Otomo’s 00’s jazz stuff fucked me up so bad when they came out, but I somehow missed this one. (Tails Out, ONJO, ONJQ + OE, Flutter all destroyed me completely. But, same as the Longpigs album, I’m kind of coming to this after my phase. So I’m not expecting to have my mind blown the same way.

Still, it’s great music. This one seems to focus on this… idk what to call it, I feel like there’s this microgenre in Japan where sit-down-and-smoke-with-your-shades-on-inside-after-dark-at-the-jazz-club vocal-jazz meets some permutation of psych rock that I don’t recognize (not a big psych aficionado, myself). Anyway there’s this stretched out songy thing going on here with a singer on most tracks. Kahimi Karie? No, she always sings super high, like the girl from Múm… Oh, it’s Phew and Jun Togawa! Ok cool.

These long, stretched out pieces are so lovely to me.

Very fond memory of listening to ONJQ + OE in full while waiting late night at a far out BART station, having just gotten off a plane from I guess NY probably. I remember hanging on every single sound, trying to figure out what Tatsuya Oe was playing. When the horns finally played the head like, what, 40 minutes in?, I was totally galaxy-brained. Still my fav longform jazz piece.

Oh they’re closing out with Eureka! One of my fav tunes of theirs.

Two things I realize now that drew me in so much with these albums: simple, really simple melodies, and transitions that were either really long and masterfully gradual, or just on-a-dime instant turnarounds (the radio-dial-prog style of the time).

I’m on the last track and this fuckin’ rules. I still love this stuff.

Cypress Hill – Stoned Raiders (2001)

Been listening through a playlist of incidental reco’s / discoveries / memories in order by year, and I finally made it to the 21st century! Ayyy!

So OK, I grabbed this album because I wanted to hear Here is Something You Can’t Understand, also I remember they were goth rap legends, and wanted to get reacquainted.

I’m on the intro track, and it sounds kinda like a band. Huh. OK…

I’m on the first song, and wow it’s a band still, kinda. The drummer’s playing a breakbeat. Ha ha! I guess it was 2001, after all.

Then the chorus hits, and I realize: This is nü metal. I’m so disoriented. What’s happening to me?? I keep rechecking Swinsian to make sure I’m actually listening to a Cypress Hill album. I am. I want to turn back, but it’s too late…

I’m on track two, oh thank god, we’re back in 00’s west coast weed rap territory. I am suffused with relief.

Left and came back: Rage Against the Machine riffs, then extremely early-00’s pre-hi-hat-music boom-bap beats with the minor piano chords.

I’m almost thru the album now and this nü metal thing is still going. Was this a trend riding thing? Was this some A&R asshole whispering in their ear that they need more guitars??

Longpigs – Mobile Home (1999)

“Sophomore albums by alt rock one hit wonders whose debut albums have been total favs of mine” could be a long playlist in my library, and this would be a solid addition to it. True to that form, the album is alright. I always think about that Albini article about bands getting fucked by majors back when majors were a thing, and wonder the extent to which a band like this was a victim of predatory industry suits.

Anyway, the album’s alright. It’s always crazy to come back to albums like this so long after their time. The Sun is Often Out got so much play in my headphones as a teen. I would have bought this CD too if I’d known it was out. If I’d bought it I probably would have spent a lot of time with it. Coming to it 20 years later though is more lukewarm.

On the theory / general nerd tip, I can hear them stretching out and trying more stuff, like you do on your sophomore record. I’d like to hear more freakout vocals and simple melodies personally! Just me.

Keshavan Maslak & Paul Bley – Romance in the Big City (1993)

Whoa! Vintage Kenny Millions smooth jazz jammer. It’s always funny to hear a person’s past life. Def sounds like 90’s skronk downtown vibes.

Les Rallizes Dénudés – Heavier Than a Death in the Family (1977)

Saw a cover band do some songs from these guys on Halloween, they were ok. The guitar was really quiet!

So, apparently this band is OG Japanese psych rock – predecessor to Fushitsusha / Acid Mothers / etc. And apparently they don’t really have much in the way of studio recordings. All their records (including this one) are bootlegs. Cool, hip.

I put it on and WOW that guitar sound is really loud. That’s the kind of feedback sound you can really only get by actually turning the thing up as loud as possible. Sounds ear-splitting even at a tiny volume. Meanwhile the bass is clear as a spring day. Nice work boys.

The Sundays – Static & Silence (1997)

I put this on and was trying to remember who this band was and why I’d downloaded their album from ’97. Googled it while I was listening and still couldn’t figure it out. Apparently I was listening to their hit? Idk! Kept reading, kept googling, until the chorus hit. “‘Cause it’s YOU and MEE in the SUMMERTIIIME!” Ah, check, got it.

The rest of the album was alright.

Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko (1997)

I am not willing to admit that I listened to this.

Puff Daddy – Victory (Nine Inch Nails remix) (1998)

Trent Reznor’s brief foray into nü metal. Probably one of the most 1998 songs ever.

Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance (2019)

Monday morning, I was like “I wanna hear some goddamn death metal!!” I put this on and was stoked for a few songs, but you know what? All these death metal albums get so samey. I wanna hear more than one song, you know?

TVE – Passionate Devotion To Intricacies (2014)

So much love for Seamus and his project. From the bandcamp: “Found a spool of tape under the 290 underpass. Could not tell if the sound was from a faulty broadcast or from the tape sitting in the dirt and sun. Listening influenced a new collage done on the Tascam. Emphasis on the beauty of blown out tape, high ends of rubbing and specific timing. Edition of only 11.”

Good stuff always from this project.

Merzbow – Merzbox 02 (Metal Acoustic Music) (1980)

Just noise, early stuff, not a harsh trip. Nice enough!

Frank Ocean – Endless (self-released version) (2018)

What a move this album was. He had a contractual obligation to Def Jam, everyone was waiting on an album from him, so he released Endless one afternoon as a 40-minute video album, no cuts between tracks, just a black and white video of him in a woodshop, working on some stairs. Then the next day he released the real album, Blond, independently. Everyone loved it, and 2016 went on.

Two years later, he buys the masters for Endless back from Def Jam, flushes half the tracks, fills it out again, and releases a nice deluxe version. Whew!

Anyway, probably one of my favorite b-sides albums. Up there with Pisces Iscariot.

The Soft Cavalry – eponymous (2019)

Was actually lukewarm about this new couple project from the Slowdive folks. I have never said this before in my life, but it sounded a little too pop??? Not like a contrivance, just a little by the numbers. Idk. Music is hard!

Eliane Radigue – Adnos (2002)

This is a fuller one that usual for her. Feels insistent. Actually some of these sounds feel like they’re hitting the resonant frequency of my head or the room or something. It sounds super loud even at low volumes, and not in a white noise, full spectrum wash kind of way. Interesting.

Eliane Radigue – Geelriandre – Arthesis (2003)

This one has more oceanic action than usual, like waves.

Eliane Radigue – CHRY-PTUS (1971 / 2001 / 2006)

As I’m going through her catalog and trying to find something to say about each unique release, and failing at that, I’m arriving back at the idea of a recording being kind of like hanging out with an artist for a little bit. I’d been reluctant to think of her stuff that way because she’s over in composer land, and as such I imagine a good amount of thought goes into each of her pieces. So, I feel like she wouldn’t want someone to not be able to tell them apart.

Still, I kinda don’t care that they (seem to my ear to be) structurally samey. I get that they’re each different. I bet I could pick out a favorite or two if I had to.

Aphex Twin – Ventolin (1995)

One of those EPs that’s like 10 tracks of remixes of the same song, so naturally I was preparing to get tired of hearing this shit. But no, everything sounded different! Could have heard it blind and not been able to tell you they were all remixes of the same song. Nice.

Gravediggaz – N****mortis (1994)

Didn’t know RZA was producing these guys for a bit! Early horrorcore, lovely. NY af.

Bis – The New Transistor Heroes

Fondly remembered these guys as a kind of British Shonen Knife. They’re a little more clubby, I kinda like their songs a little less. They’re cute though. Great name too.

Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)

Nice entry in the catalog. I’m not sure if Pajo was in on this one or if my ears are just convincing me of it.

Skunk Anansie – Stoosh (1996)

I want to like this one more than I do. I’m sure they took this sound way farther over time. I thought I was gonna recognize the single off this record, but I guess American radio wasn’t playing the shit out of it the way I thought they were (or at least not in Sacto, where I was living at the time).

Peter Gutteridge – Pure (1989)

Didn’t know how to listen to this for a second and then I looked it up and realized this is one of the earliest Dunedin jammers! Click, sounds great now. Funny how that can go. Will def come back to this.

DJ Shadow – Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996

Boom boom bat, b-boom boom bat.

Tricky – Maxinquaye (1995)

Goes down smooth, lovely album. Weirder and less syrupy than a lot of stuff that got sold as trip hop at the time. I wanna hear his newer stuff.

PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love (1995)

Every time I hear a PJ album I’m like wow this rules why don’t I put this on more often?! And then shelve it for like five years. I still remember Let England Shake was fabulous. This one too.

Blind Melon – eponymous (1992)

That One Song is a fav of mine. I might have gotten into the rest of this album if I’d scoped it at the time. It feels a tad by-the-numbers to me now. But That One Song tho. There’s another one, I think it’s Soup off a b-sides album Nico that also really hit the spot for me.

Peter Schilling – Error in the System (1983)

Another one of those That One Guys! Stumbled on this through Plastic Bertrand’s cover of Major Tom, had to check it out. Don’t remember much of it the next day, but was pretty busy while listening so could’ve just been me.

Tricky vs. The Gravediggaz – The Hell EP (1995)

I still need to grab a full album by these guys, it’s such weirdo goth rap (check out the eye of horus tooth jewelry. This sounds like an odds-and-ends EP to me, a couple of these tracks can also be found on the soundtrack to The Crow II and a Tricky album Maxinquaye that came out around the same time. But I’d love to hear a whole album of stuff like this.

Plastic Bertrand – eponymous (1977-1983)

The guy that did that one song! The first couple tracks after Ça Plane Pour Moi are pretty good but I got a little bored of this one pretty quick.

Nico – The Marble Index (1968)

Nice record, reminds me of Björk in form.

Sidney Bechet – The Fabulous Sidney Bechet (1953)

Was extra busy while I was listening to this, so a lot of it whizzed by me. I’m told this was kind of near the start of jazz. Gotta come back to it.

Veruca Salt – American Thighs (1994)

Another one from the mid-90s alt rock files. Seether still a jammer.

The Breeders – Last Splash (1993)

There’s so many records making it into my queue right now on the grounds of “hey I finally have a reliable and clean jukebox app so I can get my library together just the way I want it, why don’t I download all those albums from a million years ago!” This is one of those. I never got into The Breeders, but Cannonball still rips. Nice album.

The Louvin Brothers – Love & Wealth: The Lost Recordings (late ’50s early ’60s)

Can’t remember how this one got into my listening queue but it’s real good. These are the guys whose album Satan is Real became a bit of a meme a while back. But also their songs are real nice.

Eliane Radigue – Triptych (1978)

Been on a Radigue kick lately. It seems like suddenly a few of us have, for some reason? Funny.

She has so much music to listen to. There’s about 30 hours of stuff in my library and I’ve heard about half of it. It’s all been real good. Quiet, out there, not self-consciously new agey or whatever. Just good durational music.

My bad though, I haven’t been listening closely enough to be able to tell most of these pieces apart from one another – except that long cello piece, which was a real standout for me.

This one is all oscillators so far. It’s too bad I don’t have the liner notes, I’d love to know how to listen to this stuff better. It helps to turn it way up, I think part of the reason her catalogue has just breezed by me so far is that it’s mixed and mastered really quiet.

Apparently this was the first thing she wrote after taking a few years off to begin practicing buddhism.

Feer of Smell comp (1992)

One of many old powerviolence comps I grabbed form Blogged and Quartered. Songs sure are long for powerviolence – it’s twice as many minutes long as it has tracks!

Looked it up and it’s more of a general DIY / punk thing. Also there are many album covers for this comp.

Andrew W.K. – Party All Goddamn Night EP (2011)

One of those artists whose work is a prism, with every release offering a different lens into the central thing they’re trying to get at.

First track is the titular song, kind of a weird grab bag of culture references: “where all my ladies at?!” / “oi oi oi!!” / chiptune synths in the pre-chorus.

Still that huge, British, compressed, pop metal sound. This one is more poppy, more for stereos kinda.

Whoa actual thrash riffs in here too! Really letting his Florida colors shine.

Who was it that called his music “if back hair could sing”?

Stephen O’Malley – Gruidés (2015)

An orchestral piece, whoa! It’s pretty good. Kinda reminds me of this Gabriel Saloman LP I picked up randomly, some post Yellow Swans stuff.

Nice piece. Ebbed and flowed.

Cocteau Twins – Treasure (1984)

Ah man that’s better.

I gotta get better at using chorus on stuff.

Didn’t know this was an essential. Honestly only really know Heaven and Wax and Wane. Damn what a good band.

Tetuzi Akiyama – Don’t Forget to Boogie (2003)

It’s just him playing blues licks / chugs for 5-8 minutes straight per track. Hmmmm idk.

Tetuzi Akiyama – Résophonie (2002)

Real elemental stuff. Fifteen minutes of scratching = that’s a track! I like it though. Why do I still like this stuff?

Carmen McRae – Book Of Ballads (1958)

Picked this up because I suddenly remembered working at a video store as a teen and looking up at the TV one day to see Carmen singing Trouble is a Man. I was transfixed! It must have been an earlier performance of hers because I remember she had longer hair, it might have been in black and white too. Never was able to find the tape we were watching that day, and for some reason I always had trouble finding an LP with that track.

Well today was no exception, but I did find this earlier album of ballads, which really hits the spot.

Her voice is so clear. Funny little cognitive dissonance because the recording quality is higher than I’m used to for old timey vocal jazz records.

Damn, I still really like this! Also I found the video, which is crazy to me. It’s been just sitting there on youtube for years. Crazy how nothing is rare now.

Duke Ellington – 1935-1936 (The Chronological Classics 659)

A comp of some tunes written just before and after his mother’s death. My ear for this stuff is pretty crude, I don’t parse it very well, and this time was no exception. I tuned right out for big chunks of it. It sounded nice enough though. :/

Photek – KU:PALM (2012)

I keep peeking in at Photek’s post-drum-n-bass stuff, just to make sure there’s nothing I’m missing. He really never looked back once he switched styles out of drum n bass, huh?

This stuff is ok, but doesn’t do much for me. I guess I just don’t have much context for most techno.

John Cage – Music of Changes (1956)

Plink plonk.

Nuuro – All Clear (2006) & The Reddest Ruby (2009)

Arca’s old folktronica project – what a nice surprise! Looks like he cut his teeth writing twee songs. These two albums went down so easy.

Alphaville – First Harvest 1984-1992

Yeah, mm, eh, it was ok. Took me a minute to realize Forever Young was probably the same chords as Pachelbel’s Canon. Really catchy song! They caught a big one the day they wrote that.

The Best of A Flock of Seagulls

OK, I Ran was a jammer. But there are some other good ones in here too! One tune that sounded pretty close to a Joy Division tune, I wonder how intentional that was.

Passed like a town being driven through.

Keith Fullerton Whitman – STS (2019)

Goes, goes, goes. It’s five hours long!

John Zorn – The Hermetic Organ Vol. 6 – For Edgar Allan Poe (2019)

Ah, Zorn. I’ve been downloading the first Masada book this morning (10 discs plus like 5 live discs), it made me want to grab a couple extras while I was there. I guess he’s been exploring the organ lately.

It’s so much more aggro and like, male, than the organ stuff from the Kali Malone / Ellen Arkbro camp. Like a young boy banging away. Still, it sounds pretty good so far (I’m 5 minutes in.)

Got pretty numb to it by the end. It would pop out here and there but I kind of lost interest? I dunno, I’m super bored with improvised music nowadays.

Photek – Modus Operandi (1997)

Shit was so good. I forgot how much I love this aspect of electronic music – just the drums. Nothing maximal. It can go fast if it needs to, but don’t add more stuff, don’t obscure it so it sounds far away or muddy, just let the samples do their thing.

You don’t need melody, or even pitch really. Just drums and a few samples.

Just drums and a few samples.

Just drums and a few samples.

Just drums and a few samples.

Remember that.

Naked City – Thrash Jazz Assassin (1990)

Zorn really released this record a few times, huh? I guess this one is the first version, with a lot of tracks that didn’t make the initial cut. Cool to hear the b-sides. Funny that there are b-sides in a collection like this.

I just looked it up and this seems to be a bootleg, probably from the blog Blogged and Quartered (RIP). It looks like it’s a comp of just the grindcore stuff. Nice to have it all in one place.

This was really Zorn’s breakout material, huh? I feel like he got a lot of attention from this stuff, and used that attention as a platform to do the whole rest of his career. Idk, he probably had other stuff going at the same time. But this felt like a big one.

Rye Rye – Wassup (Remixes) (2008)

For some reason this was released as Diplo – Blow Your Head?? Man I dunno about that guy.

Anyway, finally found this one tune that was on Rye Rye’s MySpace back in the day, that I’ve been thinking of ever since. Writing this the next day and it’s still stuck in my head.

Funny though, listening to it this time, the effect is a little dulled. When I first heard it, it sounded so exciting. It still does, just a little less. The way Clint Mansell’s theme to the movie Pi grew slower with age, compared to the tempo arms race that IDM and breakcore would later go through.

It’s impossible to tell how much of this… lessening (?)… effect is just time — it no longer belongs to the moment, the world is different now, I’m different now – but I’m sure that’s part of it. More interestingly though, the first time I heard it was out of PC speakers in some dude’s bedroom, compressed to hell by MySpace. So of course it sounded fuller, like there was more going on. Of course there was more compression, less space in the mix. I imagine hearing it out of my monitors, at my desk, made it sound a little emptier too.

It reminded me of this one listening session with my buddy Aaron Bastinelli’s new (extremely expensive) monitors. We were playing a bunch of tunes off of spotify just for the sheer joy of hearing deeper into them. I put on Fuck Up Some Commas at one point, and I was surprised at how empty it sounded. It sounded like almost nothing! Like a wireframe of a song. It was so crazy. Of course as soon as you put the mix in the real world – a car, a laptop, headphones, whatever – it sounds as big as anything.

Weird, right?

Anyway, good song on this Rye Rye single. I skipped the rest, but I might come back.

DJ Shadow – The 4 Track Era (1992)

A hard drive dump of the earliest Shadow mixes. You can hear him being introduced on KMEL and the DJs getting his name wrong lol. It’s fun! There’s a lot of it, so it kind of washed over after a bit. But I’m glad to have these hard drive dump releases I guess. I don’t like the idea of this stuff rotting in a vault somewhere.

A lot of it leans more toward “minor remixes of actual old school hip hop songs”, and less toward “kaleidoscopic stitching-together of fragments into new, living, breathing songs.” You can hear him at an earlier stage, not necessarily moving towards that, but getting his fingers moving at least, and stretching out a bit.

I heard one synth line on this that I recognized from an old Diplo remix of a Rye Rye song that I heard on her MySpace way back when. I figured it was probably lost to the sands of time, but I looked around anyway, and guess what?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *