[Mix for NTS Radio] Hosono Day

I’m very, very excited to share a two hour mix I made of Haruomi Hosono‘s work, which was a contribution to NTS Radio’s Hosono Day last weekend (here’s to hoping it becomes an annual tradition). As you might imagine, this was simultaneously a joy and a total nightmare to make, as Hosono has contributed to over 900 releases and has refused to be hampered by genre–so rather than trying to pick one vicinity and stay there, I instead tried to find a through-line between my Hosono favorites all over the map. Happily, this selection also gives proper airtime to his fascination with Indian instrumentation–Bollywood, Indian classical, folk, and everywhere in between. At the risk of sounding sentimental, I found myself moved to tears more than once while working on this, as it’s astounding to be confronted by the weight of his genius and innovation while sifting through his archives.

And–there’s more! The lineup of contributors to Hosono Day include some of my favorite artists, labels, and curators, so it was a real thrill to be included among them and to hear so many different expressions of Hosono–I would encourage you to listen to all of it. Happy listening, and a belated happy Hosono Day! You can download an mp3 version of it here.

1. Haruomi Hosono – Hum Ghar Sajan
2. Haruomi Hosono – The Animal’s Opinion
3. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Seoul Music
4. Haruomi Hosono – Luminescent/Hotaru (edit)
5. Susan – Ah! Soka
6. F.O.E. – Total Eclipse
7. Haruomi Hosono – Laugh-Gas (edit)
8. Love, Peace & Trance – Hush – A Mandala Ni Påli
9. Haruomi Hosono – 若紫
10. Haruomi Hosono – Muji Original Background Music
11. Haruomi Hosono – Air-Condition
12. Haruomi Hosono – Sunnyside Of The Water
13. Interior – Luft
14. Inoyama Land – Wässer
15. World Standard – Pasio (edit)
16. Haruomi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki & Tatsuro Yamashita – スラック·キー·ルンバ (Slack Key Rhumba)
17. Akiko Yano – Tong Poo
18. Tatsuro Yamashita – Rainy Walk
19. Yukihiro Takahashi – Sea Change
20. Mickey Curtis – Tengoku No Yoru
21. Chiemi Manabe – ねらわれた少女
22. Dark Ducks – Dandy Dandy
23. H.I.S. – Nihon No Hito (Japanese People)
24. Hiroshi Sato – Jo-Do
25. Harry Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band – Worry Beads
26. Pizzicato V – The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
27. Haruomi Hosono – Sports Men
28. Sandii – Zoot Kook
29. Hiroko Yakushimaru – 透明なチューリップ (Transparent Tulip)

Guest Mix – “Tabby 003”

Guest mix by Poly & Kerf

1. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Saru To Yuki Gami No Kodomo
2. Bill Nelson – Heart and Soul
3. Mori Ra – On the Edge of Flip
4. Leopold Nord & Vous – Les Hippopotamtam
5. Isabelle Antena – La Vie Est Trôp Courte
6. Patrice Rushen – Watch Out!
7. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Steppin’ Into Asia
8. Jah Wobble – Hold Onto Your Dreams
9. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Limbo
10. Blonde Mom – Neverhits 1
11. Pegmo – 10,000 秒の恋
12. Akiko Yano – きょうのわたくし
13. Anne Steel – Sparkling World

[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 10: Sakamoto Special

My newest mix for NTS Radio is a 坂本龍一 (Ryuichi Sakamoto) special! Not an exhaustive overview, just some personal highlights. If you like it, you can download an mp3 version here.

In related news, if you’re interested in listening to my NTS show live, my time slot has just moved to every fourth Wednesday at 1pm EST/5pm GMT, which I hope will be a more convenient time for many. The next one will be airing on channel 2 on March 22nd. Thanks for listening!

1. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thousand Knives
2. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Neue Tanz
3. Ryuichi Sakamoto – You Do Me
4. Ryuichi Sakamoto – E-3A
5. Virginia Astley – I’m Sorry
6. Ryuichi Sakamoto – A Carved Stone
7. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
8. Hector Zazou – Hapolot Kenym
9. Ryuichi Sakamoto & Thomas Dolby – Fieldwork (London Mix)
10. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Kai-koh
11. Akiko Yano – Ashkenazy Who?
12. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Whales (NTT Data 1990)
13. Ryuichi Sakamoto & Robin Scott – Once In A Lifetime

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!

Previously: 2015

Arthur Russell – World Of Echo, 1986
Bill Nelson – Getting The Holy Ghost Across, 1986
buy / download
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

Alec Mansion – Alec Mansion, 1983

Guest post by Ian Hinton-Smith

A YouTube forage on a late-night mission to find everything related to early 80’s Telex eventually led me to Alec Mansion. The first track to hit me was “En Volant” (a sublime slice of uplifting disco-boogiefunk and well worth sniffing out) from his first LP Microfilms, but his self-titled follow-up album has an excellent run of dance floor bangers and so gets our attention here today. Instant winners are “Ou Es-Tu,” which gives RIPrince a run for his money in fizzy funk synth territory, and “Laid, Bête, Et Méchant” (roughly “Ugly, Stupid, and Mean”), which snaps harder than a stretched pair of disco knickers. 

Impossible to find a hard copy and commanding high prices when it does rear its head in the vinyl market, so I highly suggest you grab this and save yourselves a few months waiting time…and a scramble to find a few hundred clams when it does.
High recommends for fans of Telex and Lio. Repress please!

Alexander Robotnick – Ce N’est Q’un Début, 1984

Classic. Maurizio Dami (aka Alexander Robotnick) went on to collaborate with traditional musicians from India, Algeria, and Kurdistan; release music for transcendental meditation; give Florence its first ambient music festival; and start a label, as well as release a slew of electro and disco records, though it’s his first release that most people remember for its unabashed, almost grotesque dance floor classics. Relentless and completely disinterested in taking itself seriously. Enjoy!

15 Favorite Releases of 2015

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share my favorite releases of the year. Not exhaustive, just some personal highlights. Happy holidays!

Bryan Ferry – Boys and Girls, 1985
buy / download
Cocteau Twins – Lorelei 12″, 1985

Francis Bebey – Akwaaba, 1985
buy / download
Front 242 – No Comment, 1985
buy / download
Gervay Briot – Quintessences, 1985
Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm 12″, 1985
Haruomi Hosono – Paradise View, 1985
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love, 1985
buy / download
Lena Platonos – Gallop, 1985
Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen, 1985

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat, 1985
buy / download
Sade – Promise, 1985
buy / download
Severed Heads – City Slab Horror, 1985
buy / download
Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche ’85, 1985
buy / download
Zazou Bikaye – Mr. Manager EP, 1985

[In Memoriam] Patrick Cowley – Megatron Man, 1981

The best. Alongside Giorgio Moroder and maybe Kraftwerk, Patrick Cowley can be said to be the most influential figure in electronic dance music. A hero in the west coast gay club scene, and a hero to everyone who likes to dance. Megatron Man is relentless, orchestral, high-energy perfection, sure to induce a natural high on any dance floor it graces. “Sea Hunt” might be my favorite song in the world to dance to. This music is so joyous and unabashed that it made his successive and last record, Mind Warp, all the more hard-hitting as a dark disco concept album about succumbing to the effects of HIV, which claimed his life 33 years ago today at the age of 32. (One of the few useful things that Gawker has ever done is this beautiful piece about Mind Warp.)

Had he not left us too soon, Patrick Cowley most certainly would have continued to dominate the electronic dance underground. Still, he’s left his mark on an endlessly grateful community, and he would no doubt be happy to read YouTube comments on his songs like “OMG! I remember! YES! I was getting PHUKED in the East Village, NYC rooftops when this song was hot on the Disco Floors! Dam I miss those Gay Anonymous Hookup Days! ;-)” and “I met Patrick at The Hexagon House where Sylvester was performing. He was one hot man. We were both staying in cabins at The Woods Resort and briefly hooked up while partying the entire weekend away. I would often see him in the clubs around town after that and we’d party and dance until dawn. I never realized until now but I kind of miss that era.” Thanks for everything, Patrick.

Joe Hisaishi – Curved Music, 1986

Gorgeous album from Joe Hisaishi, the mind behind the massive soundtracks to Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess MononokeSpirited AwayHowl’s Moving Castle, and around one hundred other things, which is to say that if you’ve ever watched anime you’ve probably heard his work. (Fun fact: Hisaishi, née Fujisawa Mamoru, takes his stage name from a Japanese re-transcription of the name Quincy Jones: Quincy is pronounced “Kuinshi,” or “Kuishi,” which can be approximated in Japanese using the same kanji as “Hisaishi.”)
Curved Music alternates between new wave-tinged synth pop songs and shorter instrumental vignettes, often employing more traditional Japanese folk and classical instruments. Highlights include the aching, anthemic “The Winter Requiem,” Sakamoto-esque rolling synth-organ on “Tsuki No Sabuku No Shoujo,” and the minute long plastic violin cream puff “White Silence.” Elsewhere, find a baroque faux-flute interlude (the brilliantly titled “Classic”) and what might be a Terry Riley homage (“A Rainbow In Curved Music”) that seems to nod more explicitly to Art of Noise and Depeche Mode. Ignore the album artwork and enjoy!

Yello – You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess, 1983

It was difficult to pick just one Yello record, but Gotta Say Yes seemed like a good place to start since it’s the last LP to feature Yello co-founder Carlos Perón (above, right; forthcoming Dark Entries reissue of his EP here). Composer and audio engineer Boris Blank (above, left), famous for building an original sample library of over 100,000 named and categorized sounds, had recently acquired a Fairlight CMI, which he masterfully exploited in the production of a very distinct brand of slick ‘n sleazy sonic embroidery. This is not trigger-happy kitsch pop–the songs are carefully structured and musical (sorry), stretching the limits of electro towards tribal, drum and bass, and techno. The songs are narrated by millionaire industrialist, poker player, golfer and Dada performance artist Dieter Meier (above, center, of course), though Yello went on to collaborate with a handful of vocalists, including Billy Mackenzie and Shirley Bassey. Perpetually surprising, throbbing, and creepily funny, Gotta Say Yes is one of my favorite dance records to listen to in headphones. 
There’s an amazing video below of one of their only live performances ever (theirs wasn’t an easy sound to reproduce live, to put it lightly) at the Roxy in ’83, immediately after the release of Gotta Say Yes, here. The video below is a nutso extended version of the title track, not included on the album.