Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mournful mix

I thought it was about time I got some more music out there since I’ve been downloading so much fantastic shit recently. It’s occurred to me that I’d like to start putting out my favourite bits and pieces of the moment for your delectation on a semi-regular basis. When I started throwing together tunes in a folder to this end I noticed a rather mournful tone emerging with some of the tracks so I put together this ‘mix’ – downloadable as a zip, a bundle of separate mp3s. But I urge you to follow my sequence of the tunes as I hope it will increase your listening pleasure.
I’ve been up all night. Killing mosquitos, smoking Ducados (I’ve fallen off the wagon), downloading stuff and watching the last two episodes of Series 6 of The Shield. For those who don’t know, this is a show which revolves around an incredibly corrupt yet effective cop called Vic Mackey, who works in a district of LA flooded with various criminal gangs. Long may it continue. I can’t get enough macho posturing in my TV watching (my other favourite series, sadly coming to an end, is The Sopranos).

01 Mocha Supremo (First Edit) – Buscemi

The first track from the album of the same name by a Belgian producer calling himself Buscemi in righteous tribute to the great man. (UPDATE: Just saw a legendary lead performance by SB in the poorly named Delirious – amazingly caught it at the UGC Cine Cite Campanar here in Sunny V – original version w/ subs) I got this fantastic, slick album of downbeat electronica on the strength of the track Yves Eaux featured on Gilles Peterson’s seminal Journeys By DJ CD (originally a double CD with one mix by him and the other by Sir Norman Jay). It then got nicked in the Railway pub in Putney. I tried to buy it again but it had been deleted. I lost two other albums since deleted that night – Deep Fried Fanclub by Teenage Fanclub and Dancing On John Wayne’s Head by The Fire This Time. Anyway, I treated myself to a pair of Phillips speakers (only 15€) and this was sounding very good on a balmy evening hanging with the housemates a few days ago. Buscemi is still producing good music but he’s gone a bit mainstream. There’s a clean, fresh purity to this track though (and the rest of the album). Maybe I’ll post the whole thing someday.

02 Las Cuevas De Mario – Art Pepper

Before I discovered Blogland I was creaming my pants over the posibilities of Emule. One of the first things I downloaded was all 9 volumes of Art at the Village Vanguard in 1977. A decision which served me well during some Internetless months (and with the collection from my law abiding days languishing over the Channel). It was on the strength of his album The Trip, which I got as a student after a lecturer mentioned him in passing. I’ve since found out that The Trip, which I bought from Honest Jons in Ladbroke Grove in the now deceased jazz basement, is one of Pepper’s rarer dates. Criminally so. This track from the seventh show I earmarked as a standout very early on. I’ve heard other versions of this by Pepper but this is the best. Mellow piano and bass riffs are repeated endlessly whilst Pepper gets creative yet keeps it smooth.

03 Only in Dreams – Weezer

A bootleg from 94 at Minneapolis University. I lifted this from the Serenity Now! Blog. It’s a fantastic set. Go over there and get the rest of it if you can! It has the punk attitude of, say, Offspring but the, er, mournful melodies that can only come from being young, smoking weed, having casual sex and hanging out in parks in the sun with your friends. This stuff is untouchable. When music critics (who age with the bands, of course) say later work like Pinkerton is ‘more mature’ what they mean is, basically, the magic’s gone.

04 Madrugada Eterna – The KLF

At 26, I’m just a bit too young to really grasp the significance of The KLF. I heard about them burning a million quid before I ever heard any of their music. It must have been groundbreaking at the time and still is beautiful, original ambient music. This is from the Chill Out album - which can only be properly appreciated as an entire piece.

05 Cantoria – Quarteto Em Cy

Before I got heavily into Brasilian music I loved the track ‘Tudo Que Você Podia Ser’ (still a unique track) by this group from the same 1972 album as this track is taken from. Maybe it’s a bit incongruous here, but I think it works.

06 Like A Virgin – Teenage Fanclub

As a big Fannies fan in my youth their out of print second album The King (Bandwagonesque was actually the third) was something of a Holy Grail for me. I only laid my hands on a copy recently in the virtual world. This cover of a Madonna song is obviously meant to be a joke but I find it strangely moving. I sent a long message to Teenage Fanclub’s myspace about where I think they are going wrong. Basically I prefer their early rough n ready style instead of all this ‘perfectly crafted pop’ cobble.

07 Familiar Ground – The Cinematic Orchestra (feat. Fontella Bass)

Their debut Motion is mindblowing. Opened me up to jazz music. I was a bit underwhelmed by the new album (but I’ve only given it one listen) which seems more background-y and less jazzy than the debut. They have also produced two other LPs, both stronger than this and weaker than the debut imho. Anyway this track, which I heard an early cut of on Solid Steel ages ago is the standout so far on the new album. Vocals which can only be described as plaintive . repeatedly sing ‘So near… so far…’over a building, cinematic backdrop.

08 Karma Police – Easy All Stars

A late addition to the mix and I can’t remember from which blog I picked up this novelty album of Radiohead covers in a dub stylee. Its not overwhelmingly dubby to be honest but pleasing enough. You realise what a lovely tune this is with the absence of Thom Yorke’s vocals. I know many will find that sacrilegious but I agree with comedian Rob Newman who said of Yorke’s vocals ‘If you made a noise like that in the supermarket as a kid your Mum would give you a smack’. I think Radiohead are a very creative musical collective but the lead vocal format is tying them down as it also did with The Beta Band after The Three EPs.

09 Afterhours – The Velvet Underground

Simply one of the most perfect and wonderful little songs ever recorded. Drummer Mo Tucker takes the lead vocals.

10 Children Listen To Wise Words – Freddie McGregor

Not sure if it’s the original but it’s a nicer version than I heard on pop radio growing up in the 80s. Acknowledgements to Zubzub over at Magic Of Juju for this one. A great blog with rips from vinyl of obscure world music.

11 Crosses – Jose Gonzales

Picked up the 2003 album by this guy at the Part Of The Queue blog. I’d known this track as a remix but it also sounds great in its acoustic glory.

12 Chroma – Fridge

I love Fridge. I went to University in Roehampton near Putney near where this three piece (originally a school band) grew up. I’ve probably listened to the 15 minute Anglepoised a hundred times which evokes perfectly the feeling of lying, mashed, in my bed at Halls as the cleaning lady hoovers outside at nine in the morning. There’s a sound throughout the tune like hovering. There’s also (innovative genius) the sound of coins being jingled about. I interpret this as all the little bits of money we spend on weed, food, CDs and novelty crap as youth / students. I’ll have to post it sometime. This is also a nice downbeat mash up thing with some heavy guitars thrown in. It works. Fridge, one of whom is Kieran ‘Four Tet’ Hebden have reunited and are putting out a new album. You can rejoice now.

13 Klezmer Caravan – The Cracow Klezmer Band

Have a soft spot for klezmer music, including klezmer / jazz fusion by David Krakauer and the hard to trace Rabbinical School Dropouts. This is straight ahead klezmer though, lifted from another world music blog and new favourite Babe(l)ogue. This track is lead by a mournful clarinet which seems to describe the epic tragedy and struggle of life but played with enough flourishes to suggest an ultimate joie de vivre. On point.

14 Journey Through The Past – Neil Young

From I’m Happy Y’All Came Down a now out of print early live LP (glimpsed in the sister’s record collection in Almost Famous) which I laboriously downloaded as a bunch of mp3s from Big O (which you should check regularly for its bootleg rock and jazz tracks). What can you say? Beautiful. Neil’s the only one who can make sentimental lyrics sound profound rather than mawkish.
I’m using Megaupload for this, which doesn’t give you any downloading figures. So if you do grab it, dig it and want more, don’t forget to leave a comment. Bless.

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