Tag Archives: playlist

Compunction: a mixtape

Call it a weakness, but I rarely find myself apologising. We have a culture of deference that sometimes manifests itself in needless apology; I veer from it. But on occasion, when one really screws up, one has to go beyond the call of duty in saying one is sorry. This mixtape captures that mood. Continue reading Compunction: a mixtape

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Month of Sundays

“Everything that keeps them together is falling apart.” —Isaac Brock

On Hot Chip’s “Motion Sickness”, Alexis Taylor uses his gushing love affair with music as a cipher for the joys of lifelong companionship. It’s a song I mentally well up to virtually every time I hear it.

A few months ago, during the debate in the House of Commons to legislate for gay marriage, speaking in favour of the motion the MP Guy Opperman proclaimed, “I am not married. I have yet to find the woman who would want to marry someone such as me—but she is out there, Mr Speaker, I promise you.” Continue reading Month of Sundays

Miasma

“Put an ocean and a river between everything, yourself and home.” Sometimes, Matt Berninger seems to advise in The National’s “England”, you have to get a little distance between you and the things, and people, dear to you. Paul Haggis’s “Crash” was a clunky metaphor for how Los Angelenos are only brought together by traumatic collisions. Before germ theory found currency, people thought the origin of epidemics lay in ‘bad air’, or, miasma, emanating from rotting organic matter. Continue reading Miasma

“Let It Come Down”

“And I heard of that Japanese girl, who jumped into the volcano—
Was she trying to make it back,
Back into the womb of the world?”
—Beck, “Volcano”
Well, it’s not quite as dispiriting as the last one. The end of my finals is in sight; summer has arrived; the time has almost come to bid farewell to my university days.
  1. Pink Floyd — One of These Days
  2. Shy Child — Disconnected
  3. Yo La Tengo — Saturday
  4. Blur — The Universal
  5. Kanye West — Who Will Survive in America
  6. TV On The Radio — Love Dog
  7. Spoon — Out Go The Lights
  8. Cut Copy — Strangers In The Wind
  9. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — Midnight Man
  10. J Dilla — Last Donut of the Night
  11. Pulp — Sunrise
All wrapped up in a convenient YouTube playlist.

My week as a playlist

“I love the girl,
But god only knows it’s
Getting harder to see the sun coming through.”
—Gorillaz, “Every Planet We Reach is Dead”

  1. Explosions in the Sky — Greet Death
  2. Hot Chip — One Pure Thought
  3. Beck — Send a Message to Her
  4. Radiohead — House of Cards
  5. Wild Beasts — Plaything
  6. Kanye West — All of the Lights
  7. Spandau Ballet — Gold
  8. Dionne Warwick — You’re Gonna Need Me
  9. These New Puritans — Drum Courts—Where Corals Lie (after Richard Garnett)
  10. Friendly Fires — Helpless
  11. Arcade Fire — My Body is a Cage
Every bit as grim as it sounds.

Private revision rave

I seem to be starting every post nowadays with “Just a quick update to say…” so here comes another one.

My hands are somewhat tied, musically, at present, owing to an overload/guilt trip about actually getting down to some revision. Predictably, I’ve spent the entire year slavishly scribbling down notes without really understanding what was going on. Consequently, I should now have my face firmly held to the grindstone.

While I revise, I do however like to listen to music. Usually I favour stuff with a strong rhythmic element – LCD Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, Prinzhorn Dance School, Portishead, Massive Attack – but I also find myself working more productively with instrumental post rock, which has the effect of letting me “leave the phenomenal world, and enter into the sublime.” Albums like Explosions In The Sky’s Those Who Tell The Truth Will Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Will Live Forever and Tortoise’s landmark TNT are ideal for this purpose, as are most of M83’s albums.

When I’m not revising, I’ve also been exploring the depths of Spotify, and have had the following albums of frequent rotation:

The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Konono No. 1 – Congotronics

Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali

Antibalas – Talkatif

John Rutter – Gloria

Various – Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump

Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light

Beck – Sea Change

Doves – Kingdom Of Rust

Robert Wyatt – Comicopera

Hockey Night – Keep Guessin’

All of which I can heartily endorse. Certainly if you’re in the UK, you’ve no excuse not to get swallowed up by Spotify, because anyone can sign up.

Enjoy!

The Egyptian Elvis

Jonny Greenwood likes his music obscure and global; informed by a long-standing respect for other cultures, many of which are not even recognised as legitimate alternatives to Western culture. Thankfully, he’s also started using Spotify – documented in this Dead Air Space post – as a result of which I’ve been made aware of a certain Abdel Halim Hafez, who was apparently one of the four great Egyptians musicians of the last century. Greenwood has in fact shared a small treasure trove of Arabic music, which I would highly recommend for cultural enlightenment.

Anyway, suffice to say that I find it intriguing how certain figureheads of other cultures never make the jump into mainstream success across the globe. So I only know about Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan through Jeff Buckley’s love of him. So I’ve only heard of Gulzar because he wrote the lyrics for Jai Ho in Slumdog Millionaire. Frankly, it’s a bit alarming, and I don’t think it can be explained away under the reasoning that ‘We can’t understand what they’re saying’. Music from China and music from the Arabic world are based on entirely different scales and structures from our own, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it just as much as we do our own cultural icons. I’m gladdened to see the inroads African music is making – witness the comparative success of Toumani Diabaté, Amadou & Mariam, and even Konono N°1 – but we still have so far to go. Let’s hope Jonny Greenwood keeps us updated with his latest office playlists.