Thursday, September 04, 2008

my feet, my arms and my ears and your feet...

to continue the early morning soundtrack theme, i thought i'd expand upon the all-important front-door-to-bus-stop journey i alluded to in my last post:

the first track i'll use as an example is "hit go" by iain archer... this track was a giveaway on his website sometime between his last two albums... actually, if memory serves me correctly it might have been an outtake from "flood the tanks" (a.k.a. oneofmyfavouritealbumsofalltime)... it's a beauty - clocking in at a trim 2:10 and with an aimless shuffle that i find quite compelling... i have probably listened to this song a couple or three hundred times over the last few years and it still intrigues me... i spent so many mornings using this to propel me to the bustop that i began to think of it being my own personal theme tune.... "hit go" seemed synonymous with "press play" and "start the day"... in case the thought of a pale, bald man puffing his way down a quiet street doesn't paint to inviting an image, i'll provide another: i made a dvd's of all our family's super8 movies to use as christmas presents for my dad and sister a couple of years back and "hit go" made i to the soundtrack... the particular reel featured my sister and i kicking footballs around the garden with a certain lack of dexterity (at last on my part)... there was a lot of that running and reaching down for the ball whilst simultaneously kicking it out of your hands that i'm now (as a father) starting to realise it a right-of-passage for most kids... we look so happy and content on those frames of film and iain's track captures that child-like energy, wonder and excitement perfectly...

bibio also featured heavily on that super8 compilation (along with a lot of john fahey) but it was his remix of chris (now just) clark's "ted" that made the early morning playlist for a huge chunk of 2007... for me, bibio's music taps into the same rich seam of nostalgia and half-memory as boards of canada and it comes as no surprise that one of the sandison brothers was instrumental in his (tragically limited) exposure... bibio's take on things leans toward the acoustic but with all of the wobble and crackle of classic B.O.C... if i say bagpuss, i know any bibio novice will quickly come to understand where i'm coming from (assuming they watched the bbc in the early 80's)... his clark remix is hypnotic: worn tape loops of fingerpicked guitars, nagging and relentless motifs that build and build and finally break... try it...

lastly, i'll leave you with my latest weapon of choice: adem's cover of the aphex twin's "to cure a weakling child" and "boy/girl song" from his recent "takes" album... i was a little unsure about posting another (two?) aphex twin cover versions so soon after my first post but if this site is to become a celebration of music and the refusal to believe in coincidences, then i think it's quite fitting... and if the journey continues it will bring us to fridge and then to four tet and then on to who knows where... adem's cover melts the two aphex tracks into one beautiful whole... adem's constant, melodic repetition of what was originally a cut-up sample of a child's voice brings to mind jim o'rourke's "women of the world" from 1999's eureka album... i was recently reminded of an interview with o'rourke while reading lester bang's passionate appraisal of van morrison's astral weeks (muchos gracias to jdd for that one)... in this article, bangs speaks of lyrical repetition:

"...those words, repeated slowly again and again, distended, permutated, turned into scat, suspended in space and then scattered to the winds, muttered like a mantra till they turn into nonsense syllables, then back into the same soaring image as time seems to stop entirely..."

o'rourke puts it like this:

"I’m really into songs like "Slowride" by Foghat. What’s interesting about that song – and it only works because of its length – is that through the constant reiteration of the words "slow ride" the words go from its obvious sexual connotation to just absolutely nothing. Because it’s being reiterated so much it just becomes another instrument. But when you take it over the long haul like that, what happens is the song actually starts singing about itself. It’s actually confirming its own existence in its own time. And because it’s such a banal statement – "slow ride, take it easy" – it works that way. So I thought it would be interesting to do that with a statement that was so loaded that it would actually resist that. Saying "women of the world take over" isn’t exactly banal. So it interested me what would happen if I reiterated this perplexing statement over and over again like that. Hopefully there would be this conflict between its desire to become this kind of mantra and something you don’t hear anymore. "


adem's take on the aphex pieces is a perfect example of this mantra o'roukre and bangs speak of and it leaves me with a better understanding of the prayer-without-ceasing that salinger wrote about in franny and zooey...

ok... too much talk, not enough music...

so here we go:



...enjoy:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the laird of layers...*

video


i first discovered the wonderful world of martin dosh, as i'm sure many folks have, via the clip above... i'd heard of him before, knew he was on the ever-interesting anticon label, knew that he'd drummed for the mighty fog at one stage but somehow never got round to checking him out...

one look at this nifty little live take of "call the kettle black" changed all that... the video had a lot to do with it - it makes a secret of nothing while managing to retain all of the mystery of the process...

dosh's music has the uncanny ability of never doing what I want it to... sometimes i love it when i can predict how a track will go - feeling exactly when those drums are going to kick in, knowing when that bass note will descend but dosh's music always goes left when my brain expects right, hovers when i think it will soar and takes off just when i think i've got my bearings...

the track that sealed the deal for me was "um, circles and squares" from 2006's the lost take... it has a giddy, exhilerating quality that i'm not sure i've heard in much music before... you hear the melody so so much during the songs short lifespan that you feel like you've known it all your life before the first listen is even over...

the other track i'll post a link to here is "if you want to you have to" from his latest album, wolves and wishes... i had the pleasure of seeing him perform this with his touring partner, mike lewis, back in june... as he noted that night, the track is named after one of his son's favourte sayings and that childish compulsion pulses through the entire track... dosh's family appear throughout his work, in the artwork, in the song titles, and on the tracks themselves - children's voices are a common part of his musical landscape...

best of all i love how these two songs bcame a part of my everyday life... each day i get the bus to work and (apart from two tragic occurences when my music delivery device was out of commission) the journey is permanantly soundtracked... two parts of the journey present the need for crucial, mission-critical music choices - the walk from my front door to the busstop and the walk from my departure from the bus to my place of work...

if I continue to keep this blog going (and i'm really, really going to give it a try), i imagine a huge portion of it will be dedicated to the song choices for these two short, daily walks... the first walk needs something to ease me in to the day, soothing enough for a weary head but with enough propulsion to get me to the bus stop on time (since having our first child, some days require a higher tempo than others)... more importantly, the second track needs to guarantee a smile on my face within 3 minutes, preferably giving me the urge to run, dance or raise my hands (rarely acted upon but necesary all the same)...

this may all sound quite trivial but it shows that the music has entered the fabric of my life...

these two dosh tracks fall into the latter category (both had to be forecebly removed from my music delivery device for fear of losing that feeling)...

and here they are, hosted in what I believe to be a fully artist-endorsed fashion at the Stereogum website:





...enjoy:)


*post title gratefully inspired by cut chemist










Monday, August 25, 2008

we are the music-makers...

this all started quite some time ago but this morning seems like a pretty good place to jump in...

at around 6:30am i approached our guest bedroom to rouse one mr. david dark from some short-slept slumber to get him to an aeroplane that would take his weary bones back home... instead of finding a bleary eyed traveler i found an alarmingly alert dave motioning towards a copy of paul morley's words and music... eyes alight and affirmations ready to launch...

and so a new conversation began.... i don't know if i've seen anyone, save my 20-month old daughter, who is so ready to speak with every word they have a hold of and with all the passion they can muster, so early in the morning...

the conversation was brief but one of the hooks it all seemed to hang on was a quote at the opening of morley's book (a well loved present from the mighty troy harkin):

"we are the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams"
willy wonka after arthur o'shaughnessy

this stuck in my head and rolled around inside it for the rest of the day... it felt like one of those scenes in a movie where the character couldn't quite connect the dots... meanwhile the audience is screaming at the screen... the only example i can think of right now is the finkel=einhorn conundrum in ace ventura: pet detective but there must be a better example than that... from a slightly better film... possibly from a film with subtitles... sadly, ace ventura is all i've got right now...

eventually the penny dropped...

about three days ago i had finally got hold of an aphex twin track called (wait for it) we are the music makers... the reason i had been pursuing it was down to a magnificent cover version played by the dylan group on their album it's all about (rimshots and faulty wiring)... i had discovered the dylan group through mice parade who penned the tune that this very blog is named after...

it's a wonder we can move around at all, surrounded by all the threads that run through everything we touch and hear and hold...

so here they are, for your listening pleasure and for the sake of this notion flowing somewhere else...

::we are the music makers:: by the aphex twin after willy wonka after arthur o'shaughnessy by way of paul morley by way of david dark by way of t-roy harkin...

and

::we are the music makers:: by the dylan group after the aphex twin after willy wonka after arthur o'shaughnessy by way of david dark by way of paul morley by way of t-roy harkin...


...enjoy