Monday, June 09, 2008

Seven Songs
I managed to bully Carl Impostume into tagging me for this m*m*.

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

Obviously I don't have time for this kind of nonsense but I did rather bring it on myself, so - without further ado - here's my hastily-typed-and-poorly-proofread contribution:

Oren Ambarchi - "Bleeding Shadow"
From Destinationless Desire, Ambarchi's contribution to the admirable Touch Sevens series. "Bleeding Shadow" samples a fair chunk of Fairport Convention's "Quite Joys of Brotherhood" (I think) and weaves all manner of electro-acoustic abstraction around it. The folks at Touch have a policy of not putting any playing speeds on their 7"s, in the hope that listeners will experiment interactively with the RPM settings on their record decks. While I'm not all that into the whole concept (preferring to respect an artist's opinion on how a record is supposed to sound) it does work rather well in this case. The Fairport sample sounds distinctly "right" at 45 and "wrong" at 33 but there are these little snatches of dialogue dotted throughout the track, of which the exact opposite is true.

American Music Club - "If I Had a Hammer"

In my late teens I really felt that American Music Club front-man Mark Eitzel understood my pain, maaan. As an adult, I can't imagine how I thought Eitzel's tales of romantic failure, AIDS, bereavement, alcoholism, depression and AIDS related to my trifling adolescent "woes". I hadn't listened to AMC in years but recently pulled Mercury from the shelf on a whim. Turns out that Eitzel really was a phenomenal singer-songwriter, with a truly brilliant line in gallows humour. AMC's secret weapon, though - what Grown-up Me really likes about the band - is the astonishing three-guitar line-up: Eitzel's plaintive finger-picking, Bruce Kaphan's diaphanous pedal steel and Vudi's feedback pyrotechnics. The Mitchell Froom-produced Mercury was the band's most experimental record and therefore the most okay-to-like from my current perspective (although United Kingdom was probably their masterwork). "If I Had a Hammer" is not that "If I Had a Hammer". You can listen to it in the DivShare player at the bottom of this post.

Basic Channel - "Quandrant Dub I (Edit)"

A kick drum and two-note bass-line filtered to a dull thud, keyboard figures like a couple of narcotized mosquitos copulating, a soft pillow of hiss filling the frequencies in between and... not much else, to be honest. For seven minutes. And it's beautiful. I'm stating the obvious when I note that Basic Channel reduced the sound of techno to pure, intangible radiance. No one else has ever come close. Genius.

The Fall - "Is This New?"
At first I agreed with Carl's claim that side A of Imperial Wax Solvent is far more interesting than side B. Not so sure now. Side B does initially sound like a collection of garage rock ditties in the Country on the Click vein but it reveals many hidden depths upon repeated listens. "Tommy Shooter", for instance, could almost be something from the band's John Leckie-produced heyday. "Is This New?", meanwhile, is a classically Fall melange of the mundane and the magical. Like "A Past Gone Mad" it mixes sci-fi narrative with a bunch of sniping about minor TV celebrities.

Fennesz - "Live in St. Michel and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels"
This massive sidelong testament to the transcendental powers of digital time-stretching comes from Spire Live: Fundamentalis, a double various artists LP on Portland's Autofact label, which forms part of Touch's ongoing investigation into re-fixed church organ music. The whole album is great. It's basically a massive expansion of the recent Fennesz/Jeck split single that I wrote about here. With a little extra room to breathe (five inches, to be precise), Fennesz really comes into his own. Fantastic to see that the great man is on such fine form but where where where is his new solo full-length?

Angelika Koehlermann - "Where Are You?"
When Angelika Koehlermann's Care was released by the Tomlab label, back in 2002, its numerous charms alluded all but the most attentive segments of the record-buying public. To be fair, the album was deliberately shrouded in mystery (the nom-de-rock Angelika Koehlermann was taken from the name of a record label, for which the artist had recorded under a different pseudonym). Still, can't help feeling that Care's odd mix of Casio beats, granular synthesis, found sounds and miniaturized song forms should have found a wider audience. The whole thing sounds like it was patched together in someone's dreams, using bits of old cassette tapes that never really existed. "Where Are You?" is just one song of 25 on the album but it's a particularly lovely one. You can listen to it in the DivShare player at the bottom of this post.

Pluramon - "Turn In"

Another slice of sugar cake from Markus Schmickler and Julee Cruise. You may remember that I've already written about my love for Pluramon's 2007 release The Monstrous Surplus (from which this tune is taken). I still think Monstrous is a delicious confection and have been listening it so much that I'm beginning to fear the onset of tooth decay.

I tag:

Expressway to My Skull



Please Keep Dancing

Sell Your Landspeader

Tower of Sleep

Updateable Mixtape/The Year of Spaghetti


owen hatherley said...

'Is this New' is very good. 'It was not in accord with any known law!'

Anonymous said...

Oh you'll be lucky. Mapsadaisical (sp?) is the laziest blogger I know. I'm surprised he can be bothered to even turn his computer on, never mind look into why there is a sudden rush of people heading to his site from The Blogglebum Cage.

Nice list, mind.

Biggie Samuels said...

Shit! Now that's two of my favourite blogs that I've regularly misspelled (anyone remember Undateable Mixtape?) You'd never believe I used to be a sub-editor for a major news agency, would you?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've let it pass uncommented until now. Partly because it is my fault in a way - I think it should be mapadaisical really, but it is too late to change it now.

Pretty sure that in that list of 7 there is at least one other you have misspelled. Sorry, sorry, sorry...

Biggie Samuels said...

Motherfucker! I wrote "Landspeader"! At least that one was a one-off typo.

C O said...

This is a throwdown--It's on, motherfucker. Drafting the post right'll be a while- I'm on deadline for 2 (paid) written pieces, and work and all that...

ps- thanks for pointing me in the direction of the Fall/K-Punk post.

Biggie Samuels said...

I spelled the names of your blogs correctly this time, right?

David said...

Alright, I'll do this. Might take me a while, though. Haven't heard the Spire record yet, will buy soon. Sick of waiting for the Fennesz album...

Biggie Samuels said...

I know... At this stage Fennesz could turn into the new Kevin Shields - in a good way or a bad way.

Susan said...

I've been obsessively trying to find out more info on Angelika Koehlermann... I keep getting the record label site.

Do you have anymore info on this artist? Who is it? produced it? any other artists I should look into?



Biggie Samuels said...

My research suggests that AK is also know as Michiko Kusaki and also as Anne Laplantine. Try Googling those names and you should get some info/joy.