The transition from summer heat to autumn cool. The light shifts and slants and when Scorpio approaches, regardless the hemisphere you reside in — well, the soul goes orange and crimson — a rich Tibetan red.
Critters rustle around slowly now. There’s lots of deer about, walking right in the middle of the road and then, once spotted, jumping to disappear into thick blackberry vines (I don’t know how the vicious thorns don’t tear their hides).
Oh, and spiders are everywhere on the island now. Their geometric webs drooping with dew in the morning and looking like outer space sigils throughout the sunny days.
This is one of my longer mixes because what I’ve been listening to lately isn’t easy to compress into one category-mood and so the train has gone and on and on — an omnibus of contrasting colors. But the general tenor is melancholic percolation with periodic bursts of rhythm that require body movement — walking, shuffling, meandering and occasionally dancing.
The title of this mix is taken from Vanessa Daou‘s homage to poet/novelist Erica Jong, the song of which is included here. Daou actually transformed Jong’s poem into a dance track. The words tell you about how solitude marks time’s passage: Living in a house/near the Black Forest/without any clocks/she’s begun/to listen to the walls.
Some of these songs are blatantly out of place within the heavy load of electronic, glitch and hip hop. But then that’s the fun of doing mixes like this: How to cram disparate sonics together so you experience it as music, free from your bias and preference for genre (gag.)
So there’s Bette Midler‘s Drinking Again because I can’t get enough of the line: “Having a few.” Because you know the narrator isn’t.
And also Van Morrison‘s Fair Play from his finest excursion into stream of consciousness love poetry and immersion into Scotland and Oscar Wilde and Thoreau from his undervalued Veedon Fleece.
And I’ve been listening to a lot of the fuzzy, echoey Jesus and Mary Chain-infused shoegazy stuff from Sweden’s Radio Dept. I wish they would release something new soon. The description shoegazing must remain invigorated!
Anyway, enjoy all of this. Expose yourself for fuck’s sake. Get out of a rut. If moved you must share. Music is the one tonic that’s applicable to all and holds many secrets, that’s why very few of these songs are heard on the radio or Pandora or anywhere else where music is treated like a commodity and not as an un-categorizable art.
It’s been the most perfect season on the island. Very Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Just the right temperature, light and mood. But my mind’s dissolving trying to wrap around the concept that summer is winding to a close.
But no prob. Music is timeless, so I’ll play this latest mix whenever I wanna feel like it’s that perfect zone right around mid-August — with the Sun hovering over my ascendant.
Like all of my cloudcasts they’re compiled to accompany creative work. Be that in the studio, the office, the garage or down in your mom’s basement if that’s where you’re living right now.
I’m prepping to leave for my annual meditation retreat in Hawai’i. The following mix is what I put together last week for the long flight. As usual the flow moves through several decades worth of material.
Tag this with ambient, electronic, nu-jazz, dance, dream pop, hindi mantras and finally strange attractor. Because, from segue to segue your guess becomes as good as mine to where it all goes.
Look for part 2 later next month. And yes, it will include some Bobbie Gentry!
Enjoy. And merry solstice shift.
I know, it’s been awhile, right?
Whenever I need to paint I start mixing music together (rather than paint). If only to lubricate the muse.
I have an art opening in less than two weeks and the mojo matrix first needs tweaking and seducing to welcome me with open arms. That might read like it’s a complex process, but really it’s fun. And sort of a ritual/tradition for me.
In art shows from my past, and even in the acknowledgments for my first book, I listed music playlists in the artist’s statement. It only seemed fair. Art begets art.
The title for this 51-minute Cosmix is lifted from Beck‘s song Motorcade, it seems fitting given the tenor of our times.
These toys are all lifeless
The armor’s worn off
The shadow of a shadow
Is the ghost of a bomb
In a desert alone
A helicopter searchlight
Is searching for no-one
We’re all pushing up the tin can mountain top
The smokestack clouds with glory attached
This mix would have been out at the top of the year, but the flu laid me out in January.
Featured are artists and cuts I listened to the most in 2013. Not just new songs but albums I returned to and rediscovered, like Van Morrison‘s Veedon Fleece, which now, head-scratchingly, I wonder how I didn’t hold with more reverence back in the day. I think I might have been too young to align with its mix of melancholy, mysticism and its discursive style of meandering and drifting for naught except for the pleasure of drifting. As Gertrude Stein once said: “It takes a heap of loafing to write a book.”
Or, take The Stan Tracey Quartet‘s take on the poet Dylan Thomas‘ line Starless and Bible Black. Your nervous system has no proper cross-referencing for a melody and mood like this. You’re suspended in a bardo of somber beauty. Amazing!
That track leads into a track from an album I’ve crowned my favorite of the year: Goldfrapp‘s Tales of Us. Do yourself a favor and secure a copy. The LP’s overall ethos is elegant and gorgeous; each track a complete cinematic story. Critic Andy Gill described it best: “The delicate guitar and piano figures and the sombre languor of strings behind Alison Goldfrapp‘s vocals create something akin to a cross between the dreamlike mythopoeism of old folk tales and the lush cinematic arrangements of Michel Legrand.” Yes! That nails it.
So from some agitated Bach to the minimal quiet of Nils Frahm‘s solo piano to the finest dance track of the year: Le Sims‘ Grind. It’s a runaway train. I’ve mashed picks with disregard to rhythm and beats per minute. Which is also how I listened to all of this throughout last year.