Saturday, March 29, 2008

Muxtape For Early Spring

You can listen to the 12-song mix in its entirety here. How long, I wonder, before this service gets the clampdown? And is it really necessary, or just the latest shiny audio streaming option? It is remarkably easy, I'll give it that--from registration to uploading takes only a few (simple!) steps. It's like the Flip Video of audio streaming--less is more.

In any case, here are my accompanying liner notes:

1. Mozambique Nightjar Singing in Sandy Scrub on Banks of Zambezi, Zimbabwe- Chris Watson (from the album, Outside the Circle of Fire): A couple dozen beautifully recorded environmental recordings from Chris Watson, a former member of the post-punk band, Cabaret Voltaire.

2. Keyla- Tabu Ley Rochereau (from the album, The Voice of Lightness): One day soon, despite this winter's stubborn refusal to gracefully bow out and make way for an Obama-like spring, Abby and I will open multiple windows so as to get a nice breeze soughing through the house. We're so looking forward to that. We'll make sure to have this song on when we do.

3. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa- Vampire Weekend (from the album Vampire Weekend)- The whole album has a throwback feel, a nostalgic patina of early 80's post-punk and, as this song lovingly pays homage, Graceland/Rhythm of the Saints-era Paul Simon. There's even a shout-out to Peter Gabriel.

4. Expecting To Fly- Buffalo Springfield (from the album, Again): An early Neil Young production with a stunning bit of introductory orchestral/studio experimentation. Jack Nitzsche, who helped construct walls of sound as brilliant as anything Spector or Wilson were doing at the same time, produced. The whole album is worth your time.

5. Groovin' Time-The Chambers Brothers (from the album, Groovin' Time): Thank you monthly eMusic subscription.

6. Saturday Night Blowout- The John Buddy Williams Band (from the album Calypso Awakening from the Emory Cook Collection): And again we thank eMusic and its great collection of Smithsonian recordings. Though when is eMusic going to provide access to the often exhaustive liner-notes the physical copies of these albums almost always include? Not surprisingly, the Smithsonian site allows you to download a PDF copy of them. I just did. But it sure would be nice if eMusic just provided the link. Even better if eMusic embedded the liner notes in my download and iTunes provided a "liner-note" option that allowed me quick,easy access to them. In any case, recorded live in 1956, this tune is a smoking hybrid of jazz and calypso that knocked me out the first time I heard it. Like me, it's got warmer weather on its mind.

7. Hydragilm Exit-Osborne (from the Daylight 12"): This is near perfect House music. Deep and soulful with a sublime sense of the genres rhythmic dynamics. It's been enjoying some heavy treadmill rotation.

8. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?- She & Him (from the album, Volume One): M. Ward's albums have always included a handful of rocking country/old-time Americana inspired gems. Working here with actress Zooey Deschanel, Ward's written a slice 70's sunshine pop, as effervescent and dagburn adorable as the woman herself.

9. For Emma- Bon Iver (from the album, For Emma, Forever Ago): Songs like this. What is it about them? The velvety horns? The gentle, building undertow of the guitar? The automatic wistfulness of the title?

10. Untitled Interlude-Chris Herbert (from the album, Mezzotint): I've been reading Michal Ondaatje's The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film the last couple nights while listening to this album on my iPod. Herbert's haunting the same ground folks as Fennesz and Tim Hecker, an extension and expansion of Eno's On Land.

11. A Feeling of the All-Thing- Kelley Polar (from the album, I Need You To Hold On While the Sky if Falling): The first minute of this tracks nicely luxuriates in its vocoder before shimmering into a delicate, summery disco groove.

12. Kappsta 2- The Field (from the album, Pop Ambient 2008): Axel Willner has carved out a this wonderfully characteristic sound for himself, mixing straightforward 4/4 beats and smearing them with and highly textured micro-samples of pop songs. By slowly evolving these micro-samples over the course of the songs, by every so slightly lengthening one or slowly modulating a phase effect over another, Willner's songs come close to a gauzy kind of pop not unlike some of the best shoegazer of the early 90's--My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive especially, all come to mind.

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