March 31, 2015

Mix: Places I'd Rather Be

We're psyched to share this gorgeous mix by John Also Bennett (Forma / Seabat).
Download it here. Enjoy!

Places I'd Rather Be by John Also Bennett

1. Craig Leon - The Customs of the Age Disturbed
2. Hiroki Okano with Techno Mongoloid - Leela #2 (Excerpt)
3. Steve Roach -- ???? (Excerpt)
4. Haruomi Hosono - Air Condition
5. Jean-Marie Brice - Africa (Excerpt)
6. Constance Demby - Through the Stargate (Excerpt)
7. Michael Shrieve & Klaus Schulze - Communique "Approach Spiral"
8. Jon Hassell - Dream Theory
9. Software - Space Design
10. Michael Shrieve & Steve Roach - Edge Runner
11. Constance Demby - Sacred Space Music
12. Steve Roach - Western Spaces
13. Michael Brook - Hawaii
14. Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox
15. Robert Rich - Resonance
16. Jon Gibson - Untitled
17. Nowtime Prophecies - Peace Out

March 25, 2015

Harold Budd - The Pavilion of Dreams, 1978

A classic and a favorite. Twinkling, lazy jazz-scapes for new agers. A dripping, humid, reactionary piece of anti-avant-garde. Budd refers to this as his magna carta. Gavin Bryars on the glockenspiel and celesta, Michael Nyman on the marimba, Brian Eno production. Enjoy!

March 20, 2015

Mix: Winter (Indoors)

I made this mix for ambient indoor listening, thinking about the last few moments of winter and a little bit of thawing for spring. It's heavy on vocals, folk, and acoustic instruments, so it may be more of a background listen. If you like it, download it here.

1. 0:00 Arthur - Wintertime
2. 2:50 The Durutti Column - Sleep Will Come
3. 4:38 Bridget St John - Many Happy Returns
4. 6:51 Harold Budd - Albion Farewell (Homage to Delius, for Gavin Bryars)
5. 9:22 Connie Converse - There is a Vine
6. 10:54 Woo - Taizee (Traditional)
7. 13:06 Unknown - Pumi Song
8. 14:13 John Jacob Niles - Go 'Way From My Window
9. 16:27 Clara Rockmore - The Swan (Saint-Saëns)
10. 19:19 Lewis - Like To See You Again
11. 23:41 Unknown - IV
12. 25:39 Patti Page - The Tennessee Waltz
13. 28:32 Gigi Masin - Parallel Lines
14. 30:57 Yasuaki Shimizu - Suite No. 2: Prélude (Bach)
15. 34:55 Donnie & Joe Emerson - Love Is
16. 37:55 Rosa Ponselle - The Nightingale and the Rose (Rimsky-Korsakov)
17. 41:11 Henri Texier - Quand Tout S'arrête
18. 42:43 Molly Drake - I Remember
19. 45:41 Virginia Astley - Sanctus
20. 47:40 Nico - Afraid
21. 51:11 Arthur Russell - A Sudden Chill

March 19, 2015

Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - Paix, 1972

Over the course of this record, Catherine Ribeiro will either win your heart or rip it out with her powerful, uninhibited vocals. She leaves plenty of space for Alpes's long instrumental sections of whirling medieval psychedelia. Alpes remind me of a more stripped down Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, with some spaghetti western guitar thrown in for good measure. Homemade synths including the percuphone and the cosmophone, both invented by band member Patrice Moullet (friendly bearded man above). Check out the super cute video of them on French TV below.

buy / download

March 11, 2015

Baby Ford - Monolense, 1994

Not technically an LP, but enough of a world that I'm making an exception to our albums-only rule. I still don't know how to talk about techno, so I'll just say that this is a formative piece of minimal techno history and is as elegant as they come. Also, to state the obvious, Richard D. James album and Amnesiac probably couldn't exist without this.

March 9, 2015

Uakti - I Ching, 1994

Uakti is a Brazilian musical group famous for playing homemade instruments. They got their big break playing on Milton Nascimento's 1980 Sentinela. They were also part of Paul Simon's backing band on 1989 Rhythm of the Saints, a formative album for me. In 1993, Uakti was commissioned by Philip Glass to perform his composition Águas da Amazônia, which was arranged for the group by Uakti member Marco Antônio Guimarães. This was the first time a work by Philip Glass was arranged by another composer.

I Ching was released in 1994, just after their collaboration with Philip Glass. It seems informed by minimalism at times, but I think that's just their style. Their homemade instrumentation is in its full glory here, exploring some deep Amazonian textures. As a departure from their previous recordings, they also add synths and haze for an ambient feel. An amazing find for deep library CD rippers.

March 3, 2015

Ata Kak - Obaa Sima, 1994 (reissued 2015)

Ghanaian musician A Yaw Atta-Owusu, aka Ata Kak, recorded and self-produced Obaa Sima in 1994 in his home studio while living in Toronto. In spite of only 50 cassette copies being produced, the tape has enjoyed cult status over the past decade. Still, scouring the internet turns up virtually no information about him, which will change today. Awesome Tapes From Africa's Brian Shimkowitz has finally tracked him down after years of searching, and is restoring and rereleasing Obaa Sima on all formats, 21 years after its original release.

Obaa Sima lies somewhere in between highlife, house, hip hop, new jack swing, and electro, produced rough and dry. Without wanting to suggest that this is a kitschy bedroom-tape artifact (it's not), what makes this so exciting is its rawness and deliberate playfulness. Ata Kak seems to have exploited his minimalist production methods on purpose and clearly had a lot of fun doing it. The music feels pixelated and hyper-saturated at the same time, like playing Pacman through 3D glasses.

 Ata Kak is a wicked rapper, and his hopped-up flow takes center stge, sometimes backed by pitched-up backing choruses of what sound like his own voice. The result is joyous and strange, a window into something that children of the internet will never be able to experience firsthand--this having been made in 1994, right before dial-up became ubiquitous in America and the world began to shrink. Obaa Sima is the end of an era, the end of (global, if not local) anonymity and microcosms, the last of glee and spontaneity. It's a vibrant moment that presumably happened without documentation, leftfield and DIY to its core. Obaa Sima has a lot more going on than just nostalgia, though--it's warped and frenetic and a little scary in its relentlessness. We're looking forward to reading more about Ata Kak Yaw Atta-Owusu. For whom did he make this music? Was he homesick? How much did it circulate in Ghana? We like to imagine that he was dancing as if no one was watching, because no one was watching, and that was totally fine by him.

Preview the anthemic, blazing "Daa Nyinaa" below. It belongs on every summer mixtape, ever. Side note that this amazing video footage is unrelated to the song and there's a bit of mastering on the audio. If you want to hear the original recordings, they're all over YouTube.

buy: tape / itunes / vinyl

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