January 16, 2017

Miyako Koda - Jupiter, 1998

Solo record from Miyako Koda (dip in the pool, Love, Peace & Trance, personal style hero). A bit hard to pin down, as there's a wide range between tracks, but it all feels very true to Koda's aesthetic: alternately playful and very sober, shifting readily between straight tone choir-boy-esque vocals and spoken word (spoiler alert: closer "A Sea of Love" is an ASMR goldmine). Micro-glitch balearic jazz and delicate electronic pulsing with a bit of a Laurie Anderson feel. Production by Haruomi Hosono, Yasuaki Shimizu, Towa Tei, and Gonzalez Mikami.

To the best of my knowledge, the original recording (download link below) isn't available for sale anywhere, but you can buy a very good six track mini-album of reworked tracks from Jupiter, featuring an all-star lineup (including mastering by Seigen Ono) from Chee Shimizu's 17853 imprint, here.

January 11, 2017

CHBB - CH-BB, 1981

Compilation of four self-released cassettes (each with 50 copies made), recorded in 1981 from power duo Chrislo Haas (Liasons Dangereuses, Der Plan, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft) and Beate Bartel (Einstürzende Neubauten, Liaisons Dangereuses, Mania D, I have a major crush). The compilation was released unofficially on vinyl in 1998 and to the best of my knowledge, hasn't been released since. As it's a compilation, there's a lot of range--industrial, noise, bouncing new (no?) wave on closer "Go Go Go!", and the incredible proto-techno "Neger Brauchen Keine Elektronik," which I still can't believe happened in 1981. Gritty and very, very good.

January 9, 2017

Bastion - Bastion, 1984

New wave pop from the Republic of Macedonia (then Yugoslavia). This was their only release, and unlike a lot of things in this vein, it's great from start to finish. Spronky, bouncing, a little bit of angst and grit. Even the obligatory "slow track"is a strung out wash in the best way, with judicious use of fretless bass. If this is for you, it's definitely for you.

January 6, 2017

[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 8

I made the first version of this mix two years ago as I was starting to see the continuity in a lot of the music I was gravitating towards, though I didn’t have much vocabulary for it at the time. Since then I’ve started to think of it as intimate music (not the same thing as music for intimacy)—it’s music that conveys a closeness to the musician and an awareness of the space that the musician occupied. It’s often acoustic, doesn’t see much post-production, and has a very present room tone. It’s warm and sometimes a bit rough. It leans towards baroque folk, strings, and piano. None of these are hard and fast rules though—Ernest Hood’s Neighborhoods breaks most of them and is still peak intimate music. It’s more of a feeling than a genre.

I was really happy with the original mix, and since I published it fairly early on I don’t know if it got much eartime, so I was excited to rework and extend it a bit. I think of it as a fireplace soundtrack, although any quiet nighttime indoor space seems like a safe bet. I hope you have a moment with it. If you'd like an mp3 download, email me: jen@listentothis.info -- stay warm!

1. The Rising Storm - Frozen Laughter
2. The Durutti Column - Sleep Will Come
3. Bridget St John - Many Happy Returns
4. Harold Budd - Albion Farewell (Homage to Delius, for Gavin Bryars)
5. Connie Converse - There is a Vine
6. Woo - Taizee (Traditional)
7. Unknown - Pumi Song
8. Robbie Basho - Variations On Easter
9. Clara Rockmore - The Swan (Saint-Saëns)
10. Lewis - Like To See You Again
11. Carlos Maria Trindade - Plan
12. Patti Page - The Tennessee Waltz
13. Raul Lovisoni - Hula Om (Excerpt)
14. Kate Bush - Something Like A Song (Home Demo 1974)
15. Yasuaki Shimizu - Suite No. 2: Prélude (Bach)
16. Donnie & Joe Emerson - Love Is
17. Rosa Ponselle - The Nightingale and the Rose (Rimsky-Korsakov)
18. Henri Texier - Quand Tout S'arrête
19. Molly Drake - I Remember
20. Virginia Astley - Sanctus
21. Arthur Russell - A Sudden Chill

January 4, 2017

Vincenzo Zitello - Et Vice Versa, 1988

Hope you want more harp, because that's where I'm at for the time being. Vincenzo Zitello tends to get tossed around with the Italian minimalists, but this is a little too swirly and baroque for me to consider true minimalism--his interest in Celtic music means that he often turns up on new age compilations. These were compositions written specifically for the Celtic harp, and like many of my other favorite harp records, there's lots of room tone. Ideal winter record. (If anyone has a rip of his 1986 tape Frammenti D'Aura Amorosa, I'd really love a copy!) 

December 30, 2016

Mr Fingers - Ammnesia, 1988

Was on the fence about posting this one, as its origins are dubious, but it feels like the best full-length collection of Larry Heard's genius, and if I had to pick one record to dance to tomorrow night, it might be this one. Happy new year!

December 28, 2016

Piero Milesi - The Nuclear Observatory Of Mr. Nanof, 1986

Guest post by Adam

I found this lurking at the back of a box of records in a charity shop in a nondescript part of north London. I’d never heard of Piero Milesi, but was drawn to both the title and the image on the sleeve, which turns out to be a still from the film to which this is a soundtrack. It depicts an enormous engraving outside a Volterra psychiatric hospital by patient Oreste Fernando Nannetti, who referred to himself as Nanof-11, an "Astronautic Mineral Engineer of the Mental System." While I’m keen to track down the movie (which doesn’t even have an IMDB page!), in the meantime I make do with the music, which is characterized by lush synthesized themes interspersed with moments of meditative calm. Personal favourites are "The Presence of the City" and "Mr. Nanof’s Tango" (which really begins to soar about half way through, so stay with it). Originally an architect, Piero Milesi created musical installations as well as soundtracks, so you can see why the story of a vast stone book recounting life in a psychiatric institution appealed. Earth to Nanof-11, are you out there; can you hear us?

December 24, 2016

20 Favorite Releases of 2016

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share some of my favorite releases of the year. Obviously not exhaustive; just some personal highlights. Let me know if links are broken. Happy holidays!

Arthur Russell - World Of Echo, 1986
Bill Nelson - Getting The Holy Ghost Across, 1986
Cocteau Twins - Victorialand, 1986
Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd - The Moon And The Melodies, 1986
buy / download
Coil - Horse Rotorvator, 1986
David Hykes - Harmonic Meetings, 1986
buy / download

Double Fantasy - Universal Ave, 1986
buy / download
The Feelies - The Good Earth, 1986
buy / download
Felt - Forever Breathes The Lonely Word, 1986
buy / download
Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Ecophony Rinne, 1986
buy / download
Hiroshi Yoshimura - Soundscape 1: Surround, 1986
Isabelle Antena - En Cavale, 1986
buy / download
Janet Jackson - Control, 1986
buy / download
Just-Ice - Back To The Old School, 1986
buy / download
Linda di Franco - Rise Of The Heart, 1986
Nu Shooz - Poolside, 1986
buy / download
Riccardo Sinigaglia - Riflessi, 1986
Toshifumi Hinata - Reality In Love, 1986
Virginia Astley - Hope In A Darkened Heart, 1986
Zavijava Orchestra - Rivers Of Light, 1986
buy / download

December 20, 2016

Interior - Interior, 1982

A classic. Interior was first released on Yen Records, then later issued on Windham Hill with two of the more post-punky tracks omitted, and the addition of the excellent "Hot Beach." Confusingly, both the artist and album title are written as "Interiors" in several of the later pressings, and when you try to purchase the mp3s on Amazon it presents you with an unrelated album by "The Interiors." Because of the un-googleability of the album title, I'm not actually sure if there's a current version for sale anywhere--please let me know if you know. The version you can download here includes all tracks from both the Yen and Windham Hill releases. As an aside, the group's lineup includes Toshifumi Hinata's brother, Daisuke Hinata.

Having said all that, holy cow, whadda record. This seems to have one of the stronger cult followings of the Yen catalogue, and with good reason. Still feels bonkers that this came out in 1982. It's about as icy slick as they come, with a synthetic veneer that steers just clear of being too cheesy. As the name would suggest, it's particularly evocative of certain spaces: Hyatt lobbies, futuristic elevators, waiting rooms. (The cover art for the Windham Hill pressings seems well aware of that, er, interiority.) There's enough acoustic guitar and piano to ensure that you can't forget you're listening to a Windham Hill release, although I don't entirely follow the insistent categorization of the record as "new age"--it's too plump and plastic, too winking and too done up. (All good things.) I can't really think of anyone who wouldn't like this. Enjoy!

December 16, 2016

Patricia Escudero - Satie Sonneries, 1987

Another one from the Grabaciones Accidentales treasure trove. Virtually nothing online about the artist or the record, but suffice it to say that these are synthesizer reworkings of Satie compositions, except the synths sound more like music boxes that have been splashed around in dirty puddles in a dark alley. Hard to say how much of the murkiness is a product of deliberately damp reverb vs the quality of the rip, but either way, the crackly, sinister nostalgia is a major selling point. For fans of synthetic reworkings of classical pieces in the vein of Tomita or Wendy Carlos, except this one is way less shiny and could easily score an art horror movie.

Note that I spliced this together from two different rips of differing quality, and the tracklisting on Discogs is a little confusing (and possibly incorrect), so let me know if you notice anything off about the song titles.