mefiswap - 2003q1

Alright! Another MeFi swap (this is my second). Once again I get to subject another group of unsuspecting fools MeFites to my musical tastes. With regards to music, I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of some. My first mix was pretty schizophrenic, but I don't think this one is as bad.

I like long songs. I also like long songs without many words. If that's not your cup of tea, this is going to be an arduous journey. Fortunately I also like short songs, so I've sprinkled them in between the long ones to balance things out. Even I wouldn't be able to handle a CD chock full of 80 minutes of pretentious epics.

You probably haven't seen much of me on MeFi - I'm a bit of a lurker and pretty new (my userid is 14341.) I'm a 5th-year college student studying computer engineering and computer science, and I enter the real world when I graduate this May. This makes me a bit of a young'un.

Once again I start off my mix with an intro track. They're so great at the beginning of the album, why dislodge them from where they've become so comfortable?

01. MD - Between Gaps (2001) - Run (2:08)

MD, aka Jaakko Manninen, makes ambienty IDMish wonderfulness. This track isn't really an example of his work, but it's great nonetheless. It samples a lot of incidental, environmental noises. It almost sounds like a soundtrack to a film.

02. Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By (2001) - Blumenwiese Neben Autobahn (6:33)

This makes me happy. It'll make you happy, too. And with a name like Ulrich Schnauss, how can you go wrong? More great quasi-IDM.

03. Moondog - Moondog (1969) - Lament 1 (Bird's Lament) (1:39)

If this sounds familiar, there's a reason. Louis "Moondog" Hardin wrote this song in memory of the great jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker for his self-titled 1969 avant garde-album. In 1999, Andrew "Mr. Scruff" Carthy sampled it in his song, "Get A Move On." Lots of people liked it, including advertising firms. Thus, it appears (even in further different forms) in Volvo and Mercury SUV commercials. In any case, it's a great little tune; I'd love to hear a jazz group improvise on it.

04. Boards of Canada - Hi Scores (1996) - Everything You Do is a Balloon (7:03)

I really am a sucker for beautiful, drifting songs like this. While it has a certain darkness once it gets going around 1:45, it also has that trademark relaxed beat and simple melody of many BoC tracks.

05. Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children (1998) - Olson (1:31)

I put a remix of this song on my first MeFi Swap mix. It's a really simple song, so it's just the right length at 1:31.

06. Cornelius - Fantasma (1997) - God Only Knows (7:39)

I love the "sheets of My Bloody Valentine guitar noise" in this song (quoted from the AMG review linked above). This man is an absolute nutcase; this is the only normal song on the album. I kind of wish he'd stop fooling with the samplers and keep writing songs like this. Other things I love: the vacuum cleaner noise at the beginning, the tick-tock beat at 5:00.

07. Cornelius - Fantasma (1997) - Fantasma (0:55)

This song closes the album. Rather 'epic' for 55 seconds.

08. Suede - Dog Man Star (1994) - Still Life (5:23)

At only 5 minutes, 23 seconds, this is a rather short "long" song, but it makes up for it in its decadence and epic production. Cue the strings.

09. Shiro Sagisu - Neon Genesis Evangelion II (1997) - Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win! (1:52)

Japanese Anime scores like this one are wonderfully sappy affairs, recorded by virtuosic orchestras in echoey performance halls. They then bring the recording into the studio and add even more reverb. Anyway, during this scene, giant living robots piloted by 13-year-old kids team up to defeat a horrible monster. The trick is that they have to keep in perfect synchronization, so they learn a dance routine to this song. Ahh, I love it!

10. Kruder & Dorfmeister - The K&D Sessions (1998) - Bug Powder Dust (7:20)

Divine remix of the Bomb the Bass hip hop track Bug Powder Dust. Good enough to inspire a web page devoted to deciphering the meaning of its lyrics. "Never been a fake and I'm never phony / I got more flavor than the packet in macaroni" is a standout lyric.

11. Machine Drum - Urban Biology (2002) - Cream Soda Part 1 (2:18)

This sounds somewhat similar to the first track, does it not? MD and Machine Drum are different people, but they are both on the Merck label. This song is simply some more great environmental recording.

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O. (2002) - Motherfucker = Redeemer (Pt. 2) (10:10)

This song comes at the end of GYBE's latest album, Yanqui U.X.O., a treatise against the U.S.'s own weapons of mass destruction. In the liner notes they even go so far as to implicate the major record labels in the whole matter. GYBE is the perfect music for these times. While their music is always dark and brooding, there is always a strand of hope evident in their cathartic playing. The band is a disaffected group that lives by an abandoned train yard in Montreal, unhappy with the state of the world. This is the new protest music.
A month ago I had the opportunity to see them live, on the eve of war. The band spoke of getting surrounded by the police and FBI two days prior. A woman at a gas station in rural Oklahoma believed they were terrorists and called 911.

13. Bongwater - Double Bummer (1989) - Truth (2:01)

This is a cute little song from a group that was obsessed with samples and "found sounds." Without the sample at the beginning the song would be even shorter.

14. Brokeback - Looks at the Bird (2003) - In the Reeds (5:22)

If you've ever heard anything by the group Tortoise, you'll recognize that bass guitar. Doug McCombs is the man behind it, and he and his other group Brokeback are joined by Laetitia Sadier and the late Mary Hansen for some beautiful "doo da daaa" vocals. This is a bit short for a "long" song, but I just had to put it on this mix.

15. Orbital - In Sides (1996) - Out There Somewhere? (Pt. 2) (13:28)

We skip a short song and head straight into this one. This is the song I've played over and over and over and over and over the most. I've listened to it literally hundreds of times since I first got the album in 1996, and I've still not grown tired of it. It's not even a very complex track -- just a beat and some lush, lush synthesizers. I'm amazed I was able to rip the track, the CD is so scratched. In Sides is truly one of my "desert island" discs.

I hope you enjoyed my mix, and I'd be delighted to send any other tracks by the above groups to anyone, as long as you promise to buy the album.

ian @ polpo . org