Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) — Mannenberg Is Where It’s Happening (Cape Town Fringe)

I saw this in a record shop a few weeks ago and liked the cover, but I didn’t buy it because I knew nothing about it and had a suspicion it was overpriced. I wrote the name down in my phone.

I finally tracked it down today. It’s wonderful. ”Just the sort of thing you want playing on a sunny Saturday morning,” I just wrote, but then I thought, “I should find out about this musician and this song first.”

Turns out the song has a very important history, one worth reading about, one that changes how you hear it.

My desk drawer:

accordion file of financial and other important paperwork
casual watch
fancy watch
chamois
rechargeable phone case
two USB thumb drives
Etymotic ear plugs
nail clippers
two small notebooks
address labels, envelopes, checkbook, stamps
monogram paperweight from my grandmother

Partially pictured: another paperweight with Cape Cod on it
Further back in the drawer: Xbox controller (for when I have time to play Final Fantasy III or Secret of Mana)

My desk drawer:

  • accordion file of financial and other important paperwork
  • casual watch
  • fancy watch
  • chamois
  • rechargeable phone case
  • two USB thumb drives
  • Etymotic ear plugs
  • nail clippers
  • two small notebooks
  • address labels, envelopes, checkbook, stamps
  • monogram paperweight from my grandmother

Partially pictured: another paperweight with Cape Cod on it

Further back in the drawer: Xbox controller (for when I have time to play Final Fantasy III or Secret of Mana)

M83 — Run Into Flowers (Abstrakt Keal Agram Remix)

If you’re a fan of M83’s Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, (a few of the songs from) the remixes and B-sides that were just collected and reissued are worth checking out. I included links at the bottom of this post to YouTubes of every song to help you do that, and I marked the good ones.

I was obsessed enough to import the the Run Into Flowers remixes EP from Gooom Disques in 2003, and the above is one of my favorites, a kinda’ cheesy hip-hop send-up that retains the weight and noise of the original. I’ve fantasized for years about playing this during a DJ set.

(Dead Cities is my favorite M83 album by a long shot. My interest in the band fell off during/after Before the Dawn Heals Us; the B-movie dialogue and teen drama just didn’t resonate. There have been moments; ‘We Own the Sky’ and ‘Midnight City’ come to mind.)

Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts: Remixes & B-Sides

  1. Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (decent 18min ambient track!)
  2. Tsubasa (that’s ‘wing’ in Japanese!)
  3. God of Thunder
  4. Gone (Live)
  5. In Church (Cyann & Ben Version) (great!)
  6. Run Into Flowers (Abstrakt Keal Agram Remix) (so great!)
  7. Run Into Flowers (Midnight Fuck Remix by Jackson) (also great!)
  8. Run Into Flowers (IG FarbenVorschlang Remix by KG) (can’t find this online! ¯\(ツ)/¯)

Before the Dawn Heals Us: Remixes & B-Sides

  1. Addicted to Self Mutilation (good!)
  2. Until the Night Is Over
  3. Teen Angst (Montag Remix)
  4. Don’t Save Us from the Flames (Boom Bip Remix)
  5. Don’t Save Us from the Flames (Superpitcher Remix)
These are my favorite albums and songs of the decade so far.
Twenty-five Albums
The Aloha Spirit — This Is Water (2011)
Beach House — Bloom (2012)
Beach House — Teen Dream (2010)
Bon Iver — Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011)
Deerhunter — iTunes Live from Soho/Rhapsody Original (2011)
Fiona Apple — The Idler Wheel (2012)
Four Tet — There Is Love in You (2010)
Grimes — Visions (2012)
Grouper — The Man Who Died in His Boat (2013)
Hooray for Earth — True Loves (2011)
Hot Chip — In Our Heads (2012)
James Blake — James Blake (2011)
Kathryn Calder — Are You My Mother? (2010)
Lower Dens — Nootropics (2012)
Machinedrum — Vapor City (2013)
Menomena — Mines (2010)
Mountains — Centralia/Mountains Mountains Mountains (2013)
Panda Bear — Tomboy (2011)
Perfume Genius — Put Your Back N 2 It (2012)
Shlohmo — Bad Vibes (2011)
Sleigh Bells — Reign of Terror (2012)
Tame Impala — Lonerism (2012)
Vampire Weekend — Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
The Walkmen — Heaven (2012)
Wye Oak — Civilian (2011)
Thirty Songs
These songs are in this playlist on Spotify. Otherwise linked to YouTube.
Abe Vigoda — Repeating Angel (2010)
Angel Olsen — Windows (2014)
Beach House — Zebra (2010)
Bon Iver — Michicant (2011)
Clams Casino — I’m God (2011)
Destroyer — Bay of Pigs (2011)
Fiona Apple — Valentine (2012)
Four Tet — Angel Echoes (2010)
Frankie Rose — Pair of Wings (2012)
Hooray for Earth — Black Trees (2011)
Hot Chip — Motion Sickness (2012)
James Blake — CMYK (Live Version) (2011)
Joanna Newsom — Good Intentions Paving Company (2010)
Junior Boys — The Reservoir (2011)
Kathryn Calder — Walking in My Sleep (2011)
Menomena — INTIL (2010)
Moonface — Marimba and Shit-Drums (2010)
Panda Bear — Alsatian Darn (2011)
Perfume Genius — Hood (2012)
Phantogram — Fall in Love (2014)
Shlohmo — Seriously (Live Mix) (2012)
Sima Kim & Saito Koji — On the Sea (2013)
Sleigh Bells — End of the Line (2012)
Spoon — Who Makes Your Money (2010)
The National — Pink Rabbits (2013)
The Radio Dept. — A Token of Gratitude (2010)
The Shins — Simple Song (2012)
Vampire Weekend — Don’t Lie (2013)
Volcano Choir — Comrade (Live at Tannery Recording Studio) (2013)
Wye Oak — Civilian (2011)
Young Man — Nothing (2011)

These are my favorite albums and songs of the decade so far.

Twenty-five Albums

  • The Aloha Spirit — This Is Water (2011)
  • Beach House — Bloom (2012)
  • Beach House — Teen Dream (2010)
  • Bon Iver — Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011)
  • Deerhunter — iTunes Live from Soho/Rhapsody Original (2011)
  • Fiona Apple — The Idler Wheel (2012)
  • Four Tet — There Is Love in You (2010)
  • Grimes — Visions (2012)
  • Grouper — The Man Who Died in His Boat (2013)
  • Hooray for Earth — True Loves (2011)
  • Hot Chip — In Our Heads (2012)
  • James Blake — James Blake (2011)
  • Kathryn Calder — Are You My Mother? (2010)
  • Lower Dens — Nootropics (2012)
  • Machinedrum — Vapor City (2013)
  • Menomena — Mines (2010)
  • Mountains — Centralia/Mountains Mountains Mountains (2013)
  • Panda Bear — Tomboy (2011)
  • Perfume Genius — Put Your Back N 2 It (2012)
  • Shlohmo — Bad Vibes (2011)
  • Sleigh Bells — Reign of Terror (2012)
  • Tame Impala — Lonerism (2012)
  • Vampire Weekend — Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
  • The Walkmen — Heaven (2012)
  • Wye Oak — Civilian (2011)

Thirty Songs

These songs are in this playlist on Spotify. Otherwise linked to YouTube.

tinyurl.com/mfnw2014
If you’re headed to MusicFestNW in Portland, OR today and/or tomorrow, this thing I made will come in handy!
I made a MusicFestNW schedule you can look at on your phone quickly because their website isn’t responsive and the mobile app isn’t easy to navigate.
There are also wallpapers with schedules properly sized and positioned for your lock screen.
(This is not endorsed or supported by MusicFestNW in any way whatsoever.)

tinyurl.com/mfnw2014

If you’re headed to MusicFestNW in Portland, OR today and/or tomorrow, this thing I made will come in handy!

I made a MusicFestNW schedule you can look at on your phone quickly because their website isn’t responsive and the mobile app isn’t easy to navigate.

There are also wallpapers with schedules properly sized and positioned for your lock screen.

(This is not endorsed or supported by MusicFestNW in any way whatsoever.)

Re-listening to the self-titled A Winged Victory for the Sullen album from 2011, I noticed the second and third tracks are part of a mini-suite called 'Requiem for the Static King,' which I had before chalked up to Ambient Song Name Generator but this time around reminded me of the first track on Fennesz’ new album, 'Static Kings.' I looked it up.

The late Mark Linkous’ studio was called ‘Static King,’ and both compositions are tributes. The Winged Victory track was "created in memory of the untimely passing of Mark Linkous" and the Fennesz track was "was originally to feature vocals from Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse."

Maybe this was obvious to you already, but I don’t know a single song by Sparklehorse or any other of Mark Linkous’ projects (beyond a few of the tracks on the Dark Night of the Soul collaboration with Danger Mouse).

Another in a long line of indirect entry points.

Well, sctttnnnt…
In 2005 I was finishing my sophomore year of college at UMass and trying keep up with classes and get my bearings socially. I didn’t drink or do drugs, and that made me feel lonely a lot of the time. I had several good close friends, though, and I was pretty happy. I was in my first-ever relationship. I left for Japan to study abroad in September, and stayed with a host family there while I made new friends and studied Japanese language and literature.
Over the 2005–2006 winter break I traveled around Japan by myself. It was intense, enjoyable, and often quite isolating. In 2006 I finished my second semester abroad, returned home briefly, and moved up to Amherst to live with friends in a rented house for our senior year. My first relationship ended. I studied very hard and spent time with my housemates.
In 2007, after my senior year, I moved to Boston both to while away the months until the start of a year-long language studies program in Hokkaido and to be closer to a person with whom I was in a new relationship. I had a difficult time in Boston, feeling restless. The relationship faltered. At the urging of a friend, I moved to Hawaii to start a web development consultancy with him and dropped out of the Japanese studies program. We worked on websites and I tried to get accustomed to a new place.

Well, sctttnnnt

In 2005 I was finishing my sophomore year of college at UMass and trying keep up with classes and get my bearings socially. I didn’t drink or do drugs, and that made me feel lonely a lot of the time. I had several good close friends, though, and I was pretty happy. I was in my first-ever relationship. I left for Japan to study abroad in September, and stayed with a host family there while I made new friends and studied Japanese language and literature.

Over the 2005–2006 winter break I traveled around Japan by myself. It was intense, enjoyable, and often quite isolating. In 2006 I finished my second semester abroad, returned home briefly, and moved up to Amherst to live with friends in a rented house for our senior year. My first relationship ended. I studied very hard and spent time with my housemates.

In 2007, after my senior year, I moved to Boston both to while away the months until the start of a year-long language studies program in Hokkaido and to be closer to a person with whom I was in a new relationship. I had a difficult time in Boston, feeling restless. The relationship faltered. At the urging of a friend, I moved to Hawaii to start a web development consultancy with him and dropped out of the Japanese studies program. We worked on websites and I tried to get accustomed to a new place.

My Five Favorite Albums of All Time

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  • BelongOctober Language (Carpark, 2006)
  • The BooksLost and Safe (Tomlab, 2005)
  • CaribouThe Milk of Human Kindness (Leaf, 2005)
  • Panda BearPerson Pitch (Paw Tracks, 2007)
  • Sunset RubdownDragonslayer (Jagjaguwar, 2009)

As of Monday, August 11, 2014 at 8:22pm, that is.

I was re-listening to some mid-2000s DJ mixes by Surgeon today while working. It’s good working music—driving beats, relatively consistent in BPM, diverse in texture, all blended together so you don’t have to think about what to play next until an hour’s gone by.

The pastoral IDM interlude that comes in around 2:00 in this Ed Chamberlain track really stood out. I found the track on Amazon and I’ve been enjoying it all afternoon.

Everything I Listened To: August 7–8, 2014

All 208 songs I listened to in iTunes or on my iPhone on Thursday and Friday, August 7–8, 2014, and the surrounding situation.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014

Checking out songs I tracked down from a friend’s blog while I eat breakfast:

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Checking out music whose influence a friend said you can hear in something else I like:

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Listening to some ambient/electronic tracks I’ve been enjoying lately while I do email:

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Putting on a few ambient albums I always listen to while I’m working:

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Break for lunch and waiting for a client phone call. After the call, finished the album while working:

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Jamming out to some recent favorites while I do some quick finances and then pack up to go work at the coffee shop:

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Walking to the coffee shop:

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Working at the coffee shop:

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When I packed up and left the coffee shop, I wasn’t wearing headphones. The stereo was playing Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’

Doing dishes, making dinner:

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Back to work. Forgot about this Actress album, remember it was received poorly. Get two minutes into the first track and get impatient. Back to Dalhous, which I’ve been listening to constantly:

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Then I went to bed.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014

Morning bike ride, about 11 miles:

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Making and eating breakfast (yogurt, bacon, a bagel), showering and getting dressed:

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Doing email and business administration:

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Lunch break. iPhone on shuffle:

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Checking out this new Gold Panda track before I get back to work:

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More Gold Panda while I finish some email and administration:

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Ambient music for working:

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Folding laundry and doing dishes:

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Back to work:

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Then Lauren came home from work.

All told, I listened to 208 songs in two days, a total of 16 hours and 45 minutes of music. This was a slightly higher than normal amount of listening, I’d say, since I’ve been working extra hours recently.

Liz Harris: drawing from the Vessel series (repeatingpattern.com)
Liz Harris, AKA Grouper, has a new portfolio site up. Her work is amazing.

Liz Harris: drawing from the Vessel series (repeatingpattern.com)

Liz Harris, AKA Grouper, has a new portfolio site up. Her work is amazing.

The Clientele — Impossible (Strange Geometry, 2005)

The last minute-and-a-half or so of this song is up there in my all-time favorite last minute-and-a-halfs. That snare drum, so insistent and tense in its polyrhythm; the pathos in Alasdair MacLean’s crying out “impossible” over a twisted-up and frantic guitar solo.

‘Impossible’ feels particularly dramatic and literary, even for a Clientele song. The structure is at once basic—roughly two verses, two choruses, and an outro—and quite ‘composed’—a string section opens the song, and each verse and chorus is separated by lengthy instrumental bridges between that only begin to resemble one another on repeated listens.

Lyrically it’s standard Clientele: romance, loneliness, surrealism. The Clientele’s is an acknowledged surrealism—here with the titular refrain—as though the narrator can’t help but admit the absurdity of his own visions, imagined or not. It balances against what otherwise might seem unrelatable—for every “streetlamps fuse the rising night,” there’s a “I feel so far away.”

(And of course there’s the allusion to Robert Browning’s poem ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’—a reference I would for years mistake for one to Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series, itself homage to Browning.)

Strange Geometry was the first Clientele album I heard, and sountracked much of my junior year of college abroad. During those nine months I often felt isolated and lonely and separated, and The Clientele’s brand of self-aware, surreal melancholy was perfect for both sides of loneliness—hearing my sadness made poetry in reverb one day, reveling in the romance and freedom of solitude the next.

Recent recordings.

Recent recordings.

Jack Nitzsche — The Lonely Surfer

Last week Lauren picked out a 50¢ used surf rock compilation at the record store called Golden Summer. You’d recognize about half of it—plenty of Beach Boys, ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and ‘Wipe Out’ and ‘Surfin Bird’—and the whole thing is good fun.

(At one point the record skipped and created a perfect Panda Bear loop.)

This instrumental came on near the end of side four and struck me immediately. I thought the production sounded familiar, and it turns out Jack Nitzsche was Phil Spector’s right-hand man and a prolific arranger and orchestrator of rock, pop, and film music.

This is a good track, and I’m fascinated as much by why I like it as by the song itself. I tried listening to a collection of Nitzsche’s work on Spotify and couldn’t get more than three or four songs in—it was too much in a row of a style I’ve only ever really heard one at a time, mostly in films. Do I really like the song, or do I just like the feeling of the atmosphere it means to evoke? A nostalgia for a place and time I only know from media? (Is that sehnsucht or saudade?) Would I like it as much if Tarantino and Anderson hadn’t coached me along, given me images and themes to associate with music like this?
Often, when I find myself liking something, I try to explain it: this is Aspirational, or this is Reflective of My Thoughts and Feelings, or this is What the World Sounds Like, or this is Meditational. I don’t know where ‘The Lonely Surfer’ fits.