Speakers Push Air

The Magnificent Seven
May 27, 2008, 5:51 pm
Filed under: MP3

Here’s the brief:

‘List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to’.

I’ve come very late to this (haven’t really been blogging or reading blogs for a month or so) so not sure I can fulfil the final part (tagging 7 other people) since they’ve probably already been tagged.

Anyway, here’s my 7 (and here‘s a link to a zipfile containing all the mp3s)

1. God Machine – What Time Is Love?
The God Machine were just mighty. A monolothic sound that somehow avoided being just another kind of macho dullard metal permutation – there was a real beauty in a lot of what they did. Home was – I think – the first single and they didn’t really top it. I’ve been putting together a kind of ‘riff-driven’ compilation / mix (my arsequake one petered out when I realised that would have ended up simply being a Butthole Surfers comp) and ‘Home’ is a shoo-in. However, Home isn’t what you’re getting. In digging up that track, I rediscovered its B-side, a blistering version of the old KLF classic  which I’ve been playing to death.

2. Johnny Dowd With Maggie Brown – First There Was
Johnny Dowd is a fairly abrasive artist. Loosely country / blues, but with a real snarl and a roughness that sets him apart. I’ve got this track on the original album he released it on, but far prefer this version, which is taken from a wonderful scene in the Jim White-helmed “Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus” movie. The duet takes place in two parts of a deep south barbers shop, with the camera panning between Dowd and Brown.

3. Black Box Recorder – England Made Me
Black Box Recorder are one of those ‘great lost bands’. God knows why they didn’t do well – witty and literate indie pop full of ideas and barbs. Maybe Luke Haines was too much of a misanthrope. This is off the debut album of the same name and is a good example of what they were up to- arch social commentary delivered with a cool, unsettling detachment.

4. josie mel and luton fyah – rasta still deh bout
Somehow, I seem to listen to almost no reggae these days. At first it worried me a little – something that had preoccupied me so much for so long just seemed to drop off the radar.  But then I realised that’s a fairly dumb thing to fret about. I’m sure I’ll come back to it. I think mostly I fell out of love with dancehall, and a lot of the one-drop stuff of late hasn’t been particularly inspiring either. However with summer lurching  into view (and then out of it again!), the odd roots track has been getting played, none more than this tune from a couple of years ago, which I’m ashamed to say is one of the last new reggae tracks that really impressed me.

5. Kling Klang – Heavydale.
Back in the realms of the ‘mighty’, Kling Klang had a stint on Mogwai’s Rock Action label and sound how I imagine Van Der Graaf Generator might have done (if I’d heard any). Overdriven, analogue synth drones and a lovely racket. They’re back (after a long absence, I think) and supporting Portishead. Absolutely LOVE this tune.

6. Sister Wynona Carr – Dragnet For Jesus
A curious and surprisingly funny gospel track Lamarr played a while ago. Carr was mostly unknown when she was alive and not much more appreciated now, but she had a great gospel (and R&B) voice and this a great track.

7. Carole King – You’ve Got A Friend
If any of the tracks in this septet need explaining, it’s this one. Never had any time for Carole King as a performer (although it’s hard to deny that she did write some great songs in the 60s). However: a good friend of mine died a couple of weeks back and it was his funeral last Thursday. In the middle of a lovely, personal,  perfect service, a fella stood up – initially, I thought, to allow someone else out of their seat – and taking his place in front of the coffin launched – unintroduced – into an truly powerful and beautiful acapella rendition of this song. It took a moment or two to work out what exactly was happening but by the time he hit the chorus, the entire gathering (and it was standing room only and a line of people out the door at Honor Oak crem) were joining in, tears streaming down their faces but somehow with a real sense of joy as well, which I guess is just how a funeral should be. I think it’s exactly what Yves would have wanted and exactly why this song will never, ever sound the same to me again.

So nothing current (guess I’m just not the hipster I once was) but seven songs that right now are getting heavy rotation on Streatham Hill.

To paraphrase the name of an Optimo mix, I guess this is why nobody comes back to mine.

When Picnics Go Bad
May 21, 2008, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Mixes

I’ve not been very well, hence the prolonged absence. But the sun is shining, the meds seem to be working and I’m feeling better.

Not that you’d necessarily know it from this mix.

After a very heavy night recently, Ailsa and I found ourselves sleeping, late afternoon, all comedown and scratchy. Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone was droning away in the background and something… malign crept into our already edgy dreams. This eldritch music – which seemed at the time to be like some kind of condensed evil – turned out to be the central track from the new Sunn O))) / Nurse With Wound collaboration, Iron Soul Of Nothing (a bonus disc with the reissued Sunn O))) Double Void album). Ailsa was so freaked out, she actually fled the room, demanded I turn it off and made me promise never to play it again or bring it to the house. A promise I singularly failed to keep.

That track ends this mix. The beginning of the mix grew out of an idea to put together some of the quieter, more reflective stuff I’ve been listening to in this extended break from work and school. And somehow it seemed like a good idea to get from the bucolic melancholy of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra to the terrifying scrapings of the final track. Perhaps a dappled sunny day in the fields which ends with a walk in the woods….

(Click the pic for the link)

1. Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter (0.00)
Penguin Cafe Orchestra

2. Stars Of The Lid – Mulholland (02.45)
The Tired Sounds Of The Lid

3. AC Marias – Just Talk (09.20)
One Of Our Girls Has Gone Missing

4. Fennesz & Sakamoto – Abyss (14.50)

5. Sabres Of Paradise – Smokebelch (Beatless Mix) 19.10
Smokebelch 12”

6. Asa-Chang & Junray – Hana (23.15)
Jun Ray Song Chang

7. The Books – Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again (29.45)
Lost & Safe

8. Nearly God – Poems (33.45)
Nearly God

9. Adem – To Cure A Weakling Child / Boy Girl Song (40.00)

10. Mount Vernon Arts Lab – Goblins (Coil Remix) (46.10)
Seance At Hobs Lane

11. Rhys Chatham / Jonathan Kane – Rotate (51.40)
Septile / Elated Systems

12. Alturo Stalteri / Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets (56.10)
?? / Here Come The Warm Jets

13. Growing – Afterglow (60.00)

14. Sunn O))) Meets Nurse With Wound – Ash On The Trees (The Sudden Ebb Of A Diatribe) (65.50)
Iron Soul Of Nothing

Ironically, the Sunn O))) track had to be shortened a bit (it’s very long). And I’m serious about how terrifying some people find it….